Programs & Initiatives

The Community Planning Approach to Green Infrastructure and Hazard Mitigation Toolkit

The Community Planning Approach to Green Infrastructure and Hazard Mitigation Toolkit provides all materials necessary to support a collaborative community planning approach by evaluating the relevance and effectiveness of existing community policies and identifying goals, motivations, and barriers for hazard mitigation planning, focusing on water resources, flooding, and green infrastructure. The toolkit website includes a program overview and community education and engagement materials.

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Purdue Rainscaping Education

​Rainscaping includes the use of sustainable landscape design and management practices at both the household and community scales to prevent pollution from reaching water bodies by directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils. The Rainscaping Education Program provides training and resources on practices that can be installed in a residential setting or small scale public spaces project.

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Conservation through Community Leadership

The Conservation through Community Leadership program serves as a roadmap for communities tackling complex land use and natural resource management challenges. The program guides community groups, boards, and commissions through facilitated action planning sessions to support locally-driven natural resource management strategies and policy.

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Tipping Point Planner

Community leaders throughout the Great Lakes basin make long-term management decisions that affect the environmental health of local resources and communities’ quality of life. Protecting natural resources while enhancing resilience requires communities to understand and determine tipping points, which trigger rapid, sometimes irreversible shifts in ecosystem functions. Through this tool, Great Lakes communities can plan sustainable futures by directly linking data to their local decision-making processes.

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Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces

Public spaces play a vital role in all our lives. They are the paths we bike on, the public parks we play in, and the town centers where we shop. Decisions about how to design and manage these spaces can have long-term impacts on the social, economic, and environmental health of our communities. This program addresses public spaces and their role in enhancing the quality of place by helping regions, communities, and neighborhoods plan and prepare for a sustainable future.

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Master Watershed Steward Program

Many states around the country offer Master Watershed Steward programs that train volunteers in the basics of maintaining and enhancing water resources. In Illinois and Indiana, the Master Watershed Steward program is open to all residents in both states and especially those who live, work, or play in the coastal counties of Lake Michigan.

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Contact Info

Topic Specialist

Kara Salazar
Assistant Program Leader for Community Development and Sustainable Communities Extension Specialist
Daniel Walker
Community Development Regional Educator

Research Projects

Carolyn Foley
Research Coordinator


Ethan Chitty
Administrative Assistant

Education & Training

Kristin TePas
Environmental Literacy and Workforce Development Coordinator and Great Lakes Outreach Specialist
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