Faculty and staff in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR) are engaged in environmental planning around the state. Extension programs help managers and decision-makers improve Indiana’s natural resource management and environmental planning. We deliver programs to help communities consider how to plan for their unique and life-sustaining environmental resources and provide education and technical assistance to plan commissions. Programs are developed and delivered in collaboration with the Purdue Extension Community Development Program and Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. Some of the programs FNR faculty and extension staff have developed in collaboration with our partners include:
American Citizen Planner – Indiana provides training to Indiana citizen planners who currently serve or plan to serve on area or advisory plan commissions. The program features 31 topics detailing core planning theories, practices, and processes. A comprehensive assessment and four virtual training events reinforce the content learned in the units. The program is hosted by a local Purdue Extension educator for either a county or a region.
Communities face many challenges, and many of these are their natural resources. The Conservation through Community Leadership program serves as a roadmap for communities tackling complex land use and natural resource management challenges. The program provides information, tools, and resources to help communities work with diverse stakeholders.
The Purdue University Extension program, Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces, 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. The Indiana-based curriculum is designed for use by decision makers and local leaders with oversight and management of community public spaces such as parks boards and planning commission members, public officials and their staff and members of organizations whose missions provide services related to programs or management of public spaces. The program provides a framework for collecting data on community assets and using that data to plan public spaces improvements.
Communities face several challenges and complex decisions related to natural hazards, which are increasingly exacerbated by climate change. The program supports a collaborative community planning approach to evaluate the relevance and effectiveness of existing community policies and to identify goals, motivations, and barriers for hazard mitigation planning, focusing on water resources, flooding, and green infrastructure.
The Purdue University Land Use Team provides research-based resources and educational programs for Extension professionals, government officials, citizen planners, and residents on land use issues impacting their communities. Land Use Team efforts are underpinned by a timely and rigorous professional development system that prepares Purdue Extension professionals to effectively serve on Plan Commissions.
Rainscaping is a combination of sustainable landscape design and management practices that prevents polluted runoff from reaching water bodies — directing stormwater to be absorbed by plants and soils. The program provides training and resources on rainscaping practices that can be installed in residential settings or small-scale public spaces projects.
Renewable Energy for Community Planning brings resources for general renewable energy, solar and wind. This includes: community planning guidebooks for renewable energy, solar development, landowner leasing for solar, qualifications for a wind lease, wind farm impact statements and much more.
Extension programs that support sustainable community development strategies are available to communities throughout Indiana. These support decision makers with evaluating, prioritizing, and implementing sustainability strategies for their communities.