About the Climate Narrative Project


Climate Narrative Project: The Climate Narrative Project is a special media arts and marketing initiative in the Office of Sustainability at the University of Iowa, designed to reach across academic disciplines and chronicle climate solutions and regenerative approaches to restoration and biodiversity, energy, food, agriculture, water and waste management, community planning and transportation. Selected Fellows work with Writer-in-Residence Jeff Biggers on semester-long investigative projects, using visual arts, film, radio, theatre, dance, spoken word and creative writing mediums. During the Spring 2017 semester, Climate Narrative Project Fellows will explore ways of living in a “regenerative city” in an age of climate change. The Climate Narrative Project is an investigative initiative: What accounts for the gap between science and action on climate change, and how can stories reshape the climate narrative and galvanize action?

The Climate Narrative Project serves as a partner for the Yale Climate Connections nationally syndicated public radio program. Last year, Yale featured the Climate Narrative Project: Climate As Local Narrative.

The project is supported by a grant from the University of Iowa Office of Outreach and Engagement.

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Sustainability Writer-in-Residence

JBDNowJeff Biggers:  Winner of the American Book Award, Jeff Biggers is the author of six books of narrative non-fiction, including Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland, recipient of the David Brower Award for Environmental Reporting.  Biggers has worked as a journalist, playwright, historian and educator on sustainability issues across the US, Europe, Mexico and India. His stories have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, Al Jazeera, and NPR. The Iowa City Little Village Magazine interviewed Biggers on the goals of the Climate Narrative Project. More info: www.jeffbiggers.com

Climate Narrative Project Fellows

Dawson Davenport: A member of the Meskwaki Nation, Dawson is a junior, majoring in Graphic Design, and pursuing a certificate in Entrepreneurship Enterprise. He is co-chair of the Native American Student Association and co-founder of a non-profit called Indigenous Iowa. As a long-time entrepreneur, he also owns a clothing brand called Daepian Apparel. He also runs a podcast called “The Uplifted Podcast,” and hosts a radio show on KRUI 89.7 Iowa City, called “We Still Here Radio.” Dawson is a water protector.


Natalie Himmel: A senior at University of Iowa, Natalie is majoring in English and International Studies with a focus on Global Resources and the Environment. She has published work for Iowa United Nations Association and Huffington Post. She currently serves as a Digital Media Intern for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Natalie likes cooking, pressing flowers, and listening to soul music.


Charles Truong A senior studying English and Cinema, Charles is a second generation Vietnamese-American born in Davenport, Iowa. He is a video technician for the University of Iowa’s Office of Strategic Communication, where he develops creative pieces about members of the Iowa City community. He is also an ICRU Research Fellow for the International Writing Program, developing new and efficient methods to make education accessible for people around the world. Charles is the President of The UI Breakers, the university’s premier hip hop organization, where he performs at local events, organizes renown competitions, and competes in tournaments around the country.


Alejandro Saldaña: A native of Bolivia, Alejandro Saldaña is a junior majoring in Industrial Engineering and hopefully minoring in Business. He is a first generation Hawkeye and the first member from his family to attend a university in the US as an international student. Alejandro likes cooking, listening to music, watching movies and exercising. He is a member of Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity and is currently the scholarship director for his fraternity, grades are important for him and he likes to help others that struggle with grades.


Mac Chuchra : As as an immigrant who was born in Tarnów, Poland and one of the first in his family to attend college in the United States, Mac Chuchra is a Junior at the University of Iowa studying graphic design. He split his time growing up on the south side and the southwest suburbs of Chicago. From a young age he has enjoyed listening and telling stories through mediums such as cinema, music, paintings, and prose. Impassioned by the complexities of social justice, homelessness, wealth inequality and climate change, Mac is excited by the prospect of bridging the gap between storytelling and real world issues. Mac works as a cashier at a local restaurant and spends his spare time drawing, watching art house films, volunteering in local events and organizations, rooting for the Chicago Cubs and playing guitar.


Erica Fisher: A Junior at the University of Iowa, Erica is pursuing a double Bachelor Degree in Hydrology and Art, with a Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management. She has been devoted to art from a young age and even will be running a monthly community critic night at PS1 this semester. Social and Environmental Issues on a national and global scale are very pressing to her in her art. Erica works at the Iowa Geological and Water Survey photographing rock core. Studying science has made her realize it’s not always research that we need more of it, but to work on our abilities to relay this research to the public in an effective, and impactful manner. If we are going to see change, we all need to have a hand in it. One day Erica hopes to open her own Graphics, Animation, and Printing Company that can aid the science community in their endeavors. In her off time she enjoys doing yoga, drinking tea, reading a good book, and going to local events.


Jack Dugan: Born outside Chicago and raised in Arizona, Jack Dugan is a senior studying English with a concentration in Creative Writing at the University of Iowa. He writes and works for the Daily Iowan, is a Fiction Editor for Earthwords: the undergraduate literary review, and has worked as an Editorial Assistant for The Iowa Review. Outside academia and making coffee at Prairie Lights, Jack spends much of his free time writing, making zines, or playing music.


Maggie Dressel: A fourth year at the University of Iowa, Maggie Dressel is a Medical Anthropology major with a Certificate in Global Health and a Minor in English. She is from Waukee, IA, a suburb of Des Moines. A drive to preserve the the environment runs in her family, all the way back to her great grandfather engineering farmland terraces to combat erosion during the dust bowl. An advocate for RVAP and ISAH in Iowa City, Maggie is concerned with community health, particularly climate refugees, indigenous populations, and women’s health. In addition to participating in climate activism this summer, she became an EMT. She is also a Service and Social Justice Lead Team Member at the Newman Center. Maggie spends her free time watching nerdy youtube videos, reading feminist blogs, drinking tea, unintentionally converting people to vegetarianism, and training for RAGBRAI.



Climate Narrative Project in the news:

The Gazette: University of Iowa Project Tells Stories of a Changing World

Daily Iowan: Climate Narrative Features Perspectives on Climate Change

Huffington Post: Iowa’s Climate Narrative Project: New Stories on Just Living in an Age of Climate Change

Daily Iowan: Climate Narrative Project Turns to Art

Huffington Post: University of Iowa Trains New Generation of Climate Storytellers

Yale Climate Connections Radio: Climate as Local Narrative

Iowa Environmental Focus: Climate Narrative Project 2015

Daily Iowan: Students share stories about the soil

Iowa Environmental Focus: UI Climate Narrative Project fellows focus on soil

Eco Watch: Women, Climate Change and the Iowa River

Daily Iowan: Climate as narrative

Eco Watch: Nitrate Monologues: Stories from the Farm Front Lines in Iowa

Little Village Magazine: Interview with Jeff Biggers, UI Climate Narrative

Daily Iowan: Iowa City Residents Talk Regeneration

Iowa Now: Profile on CNP Fellow Jeffrey Ding: UI Senior Named Rhodes Scholar

Daily Iowan: Profile on CNP Fellow Anthony Lucio: At home in the fields of sustainability

Iowa Now: Profile on CNP Fellow Sophia Finster: Putting the “Move” in the Environmental Movement

Iowa Now
: Profile on CNP Fellow Jenna Ladd: The Student Experience

Climate Narrative Project website artwork by Mark R. Schroll.

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