These are trying times for the environment. With climate change upon us, as well as a host of other concerns, such as population growth, aquatic invasive species, contaminated waters, and loss of natural habitat, the southern Lake Michigan region faces many challenges. Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant (IISG), with its unique mandate to bring the latest science to those who can best use the information, serves a critical role in empowering people to solve problems in sustainable ways.
One of 34 Sea Grant Programs in the U.S., IISG is focused on the southern Lake Michigan region—104 miles of heavily urbanized and industrialized shoreline in Illinois and Indiana. One third of the population of the Great Lakes lives along the shore of Lake Michigan between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Michigan City, Indiana.
The program is funded through National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the University of Illinois and Purdue University, but IISG also works in partnerships with key organizations, institutions, and agencies in the region to reach more audiences and multiply opportunities for success. IISG brings together scientists, educators, policy makers, community decision makers, outreach specialists, business leaders, and the general public to work towards a healthy environment and economy.
The people of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant value diversity, equity, and inclusion in both our organization and the communities we serve. Therefore, we strive to make access to research, outreach, education, and employment opportunities available to everyone, regardless of race, color, religion, place of origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, socio-economic status, disability, or veteran status.
The ways in which people interact with natural resources are a function of their beliefs, values, and life experiences. By explicitly incorporating diverse perspectives and inclusively collaborating across stakeholder groups, we can foster more equitable and sustainable natural resource management.
We work to:
- Help communities address critical natural resources issues, ranging from climate change adaptation to pollution prevention to safe recreation.
- Provide accessible, free, or reduced-cost programming to diverse audiences, including via ADA-compliant and multi-lingual publications.
- Expand access to our research grants, fellowships, and internships to include underrepresented and non-traditional groups and individuals.
- Be a leader in equal employment opportunity practices and offering employee training on diversity, equity, and inclusion issues.
This commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has shaped our beliefs and practices as we interact with others. Specifically, we:
- Strive to create a welcoming environment, so that each person feels accepted, valued, and safe.
- Insist on respectful behavior because words and actions, or the lack thereof, have powerful meaning.
- Encourage the open expression of ideas.
We recognize that natural resources issues affect everyone, though they do not affect everyone equally. At Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, we celebrate the diversity of both people and nature as well as the complex interactions between them.