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Climate Narrative Project: Envisioning a Regenerative City in an Age of Climate Change

Bringing together science, humanities, marketing and the arts, the University of Iowa’s Climate Narrative Project reaches across academic disciplines to shape new narratives on climate change and explore solutions for climate action.

During the spring 2017 semester, eight new fellows will be combining various forms of art and storytelling to explore the theme of “Envisioning a Regenerative City in an Age of Climate Change.”

The Climate Narrative Project is a special media arts initiative in the Office of Sustainability at the University of Iowa, designed to reach across academic disciplines and chronicle regenerative approaches to energy, food, agriculture, water and waste management, community planning and transportation. 

In the fourth year of this project, the fellows will work with Writer-in-Residence Jeff Biggers on semester long investigative projects using several different types of creative mediums, including film, theatre, dance, visual art, and creative writing. 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.

“CNP fellows are exploring regenerative approaches to renewable energy, local food and waste management, low carbon transportation, green economic development and urban designs that restore our damaged ecosystems,” said Biggers.

These new fellows range from native Iowans, to international students all covering a wide range of majors, talents, and interest areas. These fellows include:

  • Dawson Davenport, a member of the Meskwaki Nation, and a junior majoring in Graphic Design with 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.
  • Natalie Himmel, a senior 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.
  • Charles Truong, born in Davenport, Iowa, and a senior majoring in English and Cinema. He is a video technician for the University of Iowa’s Office of Strategic Communication and is a member of the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates (ICRU) for the International Writing Program, developing new and efficient methods to make education accessible for people around the world.
  • Alejandro Saldaña, a junior majoring in Industrial Engineering. He is a native of Bolivia and a first generation Hawkeye and the first member of his family to attend a university in the US as an international student.
  • Mac Chuchra, a junior majoring in Graphic Design. Born in Tarnów, Poland, is impassioned by the complexities of social justice, homelessness, wealth inequality and climate change and excited by the prospect of bridging the gap between storytelling and real world issues.
  • Erica Fisher, a junior majoring in Hydrology and Art, with a certificate in Entrepreneurial Management. 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.
  • Jack Dugan, born outside of Chicago and raised in Arizona, he is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. He writes and works for the Daily Iowan, is a fiction editor for Earthwords, and has worked as an editorial assistant for The Iowa Review.
  • Maggie Dressel, from Waukee, Iowa, is a senior majoring in Medical Anthropology with a certificate in Global Health and a minor in English. An advocate for the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) and the Iowa Sexual Abuse Hotline (ISAH) in Iowa City, Maggie is concerned with community health, particularly climate refugees, indigenous populations, and women’s health.

The Climate Narrative Project is supported by a grant from the University of Iowa Office of Outreach and Engagement. The fellows collaborate with Yale Climate Connections, a nationally syndicated public radio program.

For more information about the project, see


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