Building social equity and environmental justice into the conversation around green infrastructure is an opportunity to transform communities. Green infrastructure, such as parks, green roofs, and rain gardens, has the potential not only to meet community stormwater management needs, but to address other inequitable burdens exasperated by climate change, such as pollution and lack of access to green space.

Join us for the next edition of The Current, where we’ll dive into a new North Central Region Water Network report, led by the University of Illinois Extension, detailing how communities and Extension professionals can implement green infrastructure programs that incorporate both equity and infrastructure goals.

Speakers include:

The Current is a speed networking webinar series for professionals engaged in water-related extension, research, and conservation activities. The North Central Region Water Network and Extension Directors from all 12 North Central states are sponsoring this series to highlight the best water-related research and Extension programming in the region. Webinars run for 60 minutes, with three 10-minute project snapshots and 30 minutes of QA/peer-to-peer interaction.

If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate, contact Lisa Merrifield, Illinois Extension community and economic development specialist.

About the presenters:
Carla Walker is the founder and CEO of think BIG strategies, a boutique consultancy that creates and executes public relations and strategic campaigns for not for profit, start up and public sector clients. She specializes in environmental space projects that have a global reach or impact. She created the Equity Advisory and Action Committee for the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, explored ways to create equitable green infrastructure projects with the North Central Extension region, and serves as the climate advisor for the City of Cincinnati American Cities Climate Challenge through Bloomberg Philanthropies. Carla holds a master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, a master’s in Environmental Science & Engineering from the University of Florida, and a bachelor of science from the University of Cincinnati.

Tony Heath is a civil and environmental engineer and urban planner who specializes in green infrastructure planning and design. He holds a engineering bachelor degree in civil and environmental engineering from Vanderbilt University and a master's degree in urban and regional planning from University of Illinois. Tony's work includes civil engineering site design using traditional and green stormwater practices across the Midwest and Southeastern U.S., third party review of low-impact-development design plans for Metro Nashville, and storm water planning for campus and community areas. He was the lead engineer on the Red Oak Rain Garden Renovation on the Illinois campus in 2019.

Yordanose Solomone is the director of Equitable Engagement with Metro Blooms. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota in Environmental Science Management and Policy focusing on sustainability and outreach in marginalized populations. She was a 2018-2019 GreenCorps member with Metro Blooms, working on stormwater management and urban canopy expansion as it relates to the engagement of underserved populations that are not typically engaged in water and climate change efforts (provided).