Category Archives: Uncategorized

Upcoming Interviews with Meskwaki culture team.

i have to go into the Language Department this week, so i will be able to conduct all my interviews then. I will interview Wayne Pushetonequa, Meskwaki Language Director; Johnathon Buffalo, Meskwaki Tribal Historian; and Mary YoungBear, Meskwaki museum curator and respected artist, and knows alot of stories. I have also spoke to Leah Slick-Driscoll, about working with her daughter, who i worked with last summer on projects, and another kid, for my voice overs, for my cartoon. i have my characters in development, and have started other animated layouts.

Upcoming Urban Forestry Renewal Interview

My first interview will be with Michael Dugan, the Forestry Coordinator of Openlands. The organization is a Chicago based non-profit working to renew urban ecology through the simple act of planting trees, an act which also not only builds greener communities, but also unites communities.

I would like to explore the social justice implications of urban forestry initiatives and connect this to the notion of a larger, nation-wide reforestation initiative and how this could resonate within the American consciousness.

Is planting a tree a revolutionary act? I think so, but I’d like to hear what a person who does it for a living thinks.


Vegetated Floating Islands (VFIs)

In the US many agriculturally dependent areas have ponds and lakes swarming with nutrition problems. The influxes of phosphorus and nitrogen in our waters from farming are non point source of pollution. This meaning the pollutes exact origin cannot be pinpointed, though some argue that farming is a point source. This is significant  because non point sources are not regulated by the EPA and can account for cases like the hypoxia zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The idea behind VFI’s is to create floating structures that allow native plants roots to hang into the water and absorbing this extra nutrient. A diagram of how these VFI’s work can be found below.

 This  idea was implemented by students at Iowa State on Lake LaVerne which was facing an algae bloom. This project was significant not because of already existing idea of VFIs, but because of the way the students executed the installment.

“Floating Island International produces a product called BioHaven, but their target audience is definitely more municipalities, water treatment centers and sewage treatment ponds where it is very expensive to install one of their items…The Lake LaVerne project aims to construct and monitor a series of low-cost, artistic VFIs and educate visitors about non-point source pollution like runoff and drainage, said Austin Stewart, assistant professor of art and visual culture.”

Here you can read the whole article:

Students working on the project also created a video explaining their goals and wanted outcomes of the project that you can watch below.

Is an idea like this realistic in cleaning up for example, the Iowa City River? How large do you think the VFI’s would have to be/how many would we need? What other places in society can we see aesthetic and function work together towards a regenerative future?

Upcoming Interview

Adel E Haj – Hydrologist for the USGS

Adel, or as he likes to be called Eddie, is currently my hydrogeology professor. Eddie is a hydrologist with the USGS and has been since 2014. He has an extensive background in geology, alluvial geomorphology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, isotope geochemistry, and climate change records as he received his Ph.D from the University of Iowa in Geosciences. Adel started his USGS career in Rapid City, SD, where he completed projects in surface water modeling and sediment studies. During this time he carried out a Tribal Consultation related to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This was a meeting that occurred between him and the local tribe to ensure any research he completed did not have any negative impacts on the tribes cultural or religious ideas that directly related to the land and water. During this interview I plan to gain insight on how these two very different cultures worked together to coexist and attempt to maintain the integrity of our water.

Since moving to Iowa City Adel has directed his focus from surface water modeling to groundwater modeling. With his extensive background in water science I hope to get a more complete view of the knowledge he has gained from water modeling over the years, such as what he as learned about our industrialized society through water.  I want to understand where he sees the future of our water, and what actions could have the largest impact on regenerating these natural processes. For example, focusing on industrial water use instead of personal or household use.


Effects of Global Warming on Display in Antarctica

NPR’s Morning Edition interview about the acceleration of ice melting in Antarctica.



And let’s visit the bottom of the earth, Antarctica. It’s late summer there, and the high season for science is drawing to a close. We had a conversation about climate change earlier this morning with a researcher there, James McClintock. He’s a marine biologist with the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and he was at Palmer Station, a research center operated by the National Science Foundation. McClintock described the first time he saw a chunk of ice break off from the nearby glacier.

JAMES MCCLINTOCK: It was quite exciting, 15 years ago, to see a calving, a big chunk of ice, hit the water up in the bay next to the station. The entire station staff would leap up and run down the halls and throw open the doors and look out the windows and watch this big event as the waves came down the bay. And when I arrived here several weeks ago, I was struck immediately by the changes in the glacier and the fact that it was lopping off these huge pieces of ice, instead of once a week, several times a day. So dramatic changes just in front of my eyes over this 15-year period.

Mac’s Project Proposal

Hello everyone!

I am considering creating a live skit or a short film in which the lifestyles of the idealized “American dream” are compared with a minimalist and eco-friendly lifestyle. The skit or film would be centralized around two vastly different characters and would satirize the inconsistencies and foolish behavior and idealizations of both the maximalist and the minimalist.

Ultimately the end-goal would be for both sides realizing they need to work together in order to develop practices that make it easier for people of all different backgrounds to want to get behind the idea of sustainable living. Depending on which medium I choose, I would like to collaborate with the theater and cinematic arts departments to come up with a final product to present at the conclusion of the Climate Narrative Project.

Have A Great Day,

Mac Chuchra

Dressel Project Proposal

I am considering making a documentary-style video or possibly audio in a style similar to NPR’s This American Life. It would consist of mostly interviews with video, audio, or voice-over that would feature people with actual experience living in the spirit of regenerative communities. The intention is to humanize regenerative cities for the audience and make them seem tangible and attainable.


With Indigenous Iowa’s permission, I would love to focus on the Earth Mother Community Education Camp. They plan to “utilize sustainable technology and infrastructure and traditional indigenous agricultural practices” to be a model of sustainable, and I would argue regenerative, living. The project would hopefully also be helpful in spreading the camp’s message to the public, as was done with videos on Standing Rock.


Follow this link to learn a little more about the Earth Mother Community Education Camp from the Indigenous Iowa FB page

Climate, Construction, and Community

Buildings that blend nature and city

In this TED talk, Jeanne Gang talks about how building design can be sustainable and create community at the same time. Using sustainable materials and constructing as a community she states that the process and the structure “connects people to each other and to the environment.”

Projects start with conversations with residents of the area where the building will be constructed. The student center, high rises, and “polis” station all are constructed in a way to encourage community bonding while bringing some green space into dense urban areas.