201 Stephenson Parkway, Suite 2100 Norman, OK 73019

Community Resilience

Toward Enhancing the Resilience of Indigenous, Rural, & Vulnerable Communities


Across the south-central U.S., Tribes, rural communities, and vulnerable populations are increasingly threatened by climate-related stressors to their cultural resources, water resources, and biodiversity. Other areas are losing land to eustatic sea-level rise, subsidence, urbanization, or water diversion structures. For this theme, we will team with colleagues at the NOAA Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments Programs and USDA Climate Hubs in the region, allowing each to focus on the populations they serve best.

Our Team

Established in October 2018, the Enhancing the Resilience of Indigenous, Rural, and Vulnerable Communities team has 7 members:

Caitlin Rottler (co-lead), South Central CASC

Ethan Schuth, Choctaw Nation

Renia Ehrenfeucht (co-lead), University of New Mexico

Barney Austin, Aqua Strategies

Azmal Hossan, Colorado State University

Sharon Hausam, University of New Mexico

Stephanie Paladino, MeroLek Research

Our Projects

Milestones & Next Steps for 2021

In 2021, this Community of Practice changed direction to focus on climate change and adaptation from the grassroots, on the ways that everyday people are experiencing, interpreting, responding, adapting to, and living with climate change. We will also explore the intersections among climate change and other environmental changes, including development patterns and resource use, and the social and economic factors that shape what actions are possible and desirable. The intent is for our members to share and learn from resources, projects, and initiatives about grassroot actions and initiatives. Topic areas will include but are not restricted to: community-scale adaptation in high-risk communities; agricultural responses in dry areas; teachings from elders who have observed and anticipated environmental change; and storytelling about environmental and cultural change.

Coming up: Future plans for the group are to devote 30 minutes of our monthly meetings to hearing more from group members or invited speakers who work in relevant areas to the group, and to devote the remaining time to brainstorming and discussing the topics covered. This time will also be used to identify any opportunities for collaboration or further learning. We are looking to expand our group members in 2021.