EPN Breakfast - September 13, 2022: Advancing environmental justice in extreme heat and adapting through collaborative networks

Sep 13, 2022, 7:15am - 9:30am
Tuesday, September 13, 2022
$25 for non-students, $5 for students, and free for virtual participants
Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center
Cecil Okotah

The background image mimics a skyline of Columbus with three circles embedded representing EPN participants networking at a table, a diverse group of people walking in the street, and an image of a network analysis tool.

Register Here

Program Overview

Cities must adapt to the changing climate and resulting impacts, including increases in flood events, power outages, and heat-induced health risks1. Cost-effective measures and adaptation strategies are imperative to alleviate the severity and frequency of extreme heat events on residents. People living in marginalized communities often have less access to the resources and infrastructure necessary to protect their health and well-being from the adverse impacts of a changing climate. As the central Ohio region advances further on a projected path of hotter days, impactful climate change adaptation planning will be strengthened with the inclusion of residents regardless of social standing or ethnic background.  

Mayra Rodríguez-González, PhD joins the EPN to share specific steps to integrate environmental justice principles in planning for extreme heat events and provide an overview of the spatial, social, and environmental variables in urban planning applicable to inclusive and accessible climate change adaptation. This session is designed for natural resource professionals, sustainability advocates, and researchers seeking to address environmental injustices by prioritizing green initiatives in marginalized communities and enhancing the inclusion of all persons in climate adaptation planning.  

A panel of emerging environmental leaders assisted in the development of this hybrid event. This new generation of scholars seek to link empirical data with the work of on-the-ground practitioners to leverage social and ecological data for change. With this goal in mind, Kimberly Ordonez, MS and Harrison Fried, MS, doctoral students in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University, will present data-driven tools for participants that bridge environmental concerns between organizations to improve the efficiency and longevity of program outcomes designed to address climate change adaption in central Ohio. Through an extended workshop session (see further details in the agenda below), Ordonez and Fried will gather feedback and ideas from participants for how to improve the relevance and reach of a “Network of Stakeholders” website, designed to improve the impact and  functionality of collaborations to address climate change adaptation in central Ohio.  

We all play a role in promoting and enforcing justice in environmental planning. Join this program to learn about the environmental and social vulnerabilities to keep in mind when preparing for climate change impacts and participate in the extended workshop session for an opportunity to access tools to help close the gaps in environmental stakeholder collaborations.  

1Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change


7:15 a.m. Doors open at 4-H Center; Coffee served for in-person attendees.  

7:40 a.m. Breakfast buffet served for in-person attendees.  

8:00 a.m. Livestreaming service begins for virtual attendees.   

8:10 a.m. Eric Toman, PhD, interim director, Ohio State’s School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) provides welcome remarks. 

8:15 a.m. Mayra Rodríguez González, PhD, University of Connecticut, shares insight into the status of environmental justice and an overview of environmental factors that address resource access in climate adaptation planning.  

8:50 a.m. Kimberly Ordonez, MS, SENR, discusses the state of the urban heat island effect in central Ohio and adaptation programs by local NGO’s.  

9:10 a.m. Ordonez, Harrison Fried, MS, Ramiro Berardo, PhD, and Rohit Basu, share the “Network of Stakeholders” website tool and provide remarks on the value and use of social network data in improving collaboration between environmental stakeholders in Ohio with shared environmental concerns.  

9:15 a.m. Audience Q & A session for both in-person and virtual audiences. 

9:30 a.m. Dr. Toman concludes the EPN Breakfast program component. Break and networking session for in-person guests. Livestreaming service concludes for virtual attendees.  

An extended workshop on the “Network of Stakeholders” website tool will be held on-site (in-person only) from 9:45 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., which expands upon the topics of environmental justice and collaboration in climate change adaptation efforts explored in the morning session. Workshop facilitators are accepting up to 80 participants to RSVP for this data-collection driven workshop, with a provided catered lunch. Participants must be a representative of an environmental organization, including non-governmental and non-profit organizations, private businesses, university departments, and state/local offices taking an active role in climate change planning and programming in Columbus and/or central Ohio. The workshop will consist of two 50-minute sessions, one regarding use and improvement of the “Network of Stakeholders” and another exploring pathways to overcoming environmental injustices in organization programs.  

Please email ordonez.33@osu.edu or fried.64@osu.edu to receive the RSVP form. 


Headshot for EPN September 13, 2022 speaker, Mayra Rodríguez González

Mayra Rodríguez-González, PhD, Assistant Cooperative Extension Educator, University of Connecticut

Dr. Rodríguez-González was born and raised in the San Juan Metropolitan Area in Puerto Rico, later moving to a small coastal town in the main island. She studied Natural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico in Bayamón and performed socio-ecological research to understand the impacts of historical urban wetland management in low-income communities on the island. Dr. Rodríguez-González uses remote sensing to map green spaces and ecosystem services, study their distribution across urban-rural gradients, and identify provisioning and accessibility patterns in relation to local demographics. Eventually she carried her research to study communities and natural resource management in the Chicago metropolitan region as well as other large U.S. metro areas. Dr. Rodríguez-González obtained her PhD in Urban Ecology in 2021 at Purdue University and recently served as the Gund Postdoctoral Fellow in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. In the meantime, Mayra also led and collaborated on projects relating to urban systems and small rural communities across Mexico, Argentina, and Bolivia. 

Headshot of EPN September 13, 2022 speaker, Harrison Fried

Harrison Fried, MS, The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources

Harrison is a PhD student in Environmental Social Sciences. His research focuses on how people work together to solve complex environmental problems, such as climate change adaptation in Columbus, as well as wildfire mitigation and management in Colorado. He approaches his research through a social-ecological network lens, which focuses on complex social and ecological interconnections that can create barriers or opportunities for resilient management. Harrison plans to continue working on applied research that addresses complexity in modern-day governance through improved access to information. Harrison received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Environment and Natural Resources from Ohio State University’s School of Environment and Natural Resources. 
Headshot of EPN September 13, 2022 speaker, Kimberly Ordonez

Kimberly Ordonez, MS, The Ohio State University, School of Environment and Natural Resources

Kimberly is a PhD student in Environmental Social Science and holds an interest in co-productive science, multi-scale behavioral adaptations to environmental pressures, and environmental justice. Her current projects include Climate Change related adaptations by environmental stakeholders in Ohio including Nongovernmental Organizations, private businesses, nonprofits, and federal offices. Her research goals involve expanding her studies into environmental justice and localized community acceptance of climate change adaptations. Kimberly hopes to one day work in a position of translational science, engaging communities, and scientists alike, to assist in fair and realistic behavioral changes for a positive socio-ecological outcome. She received her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife and Master of Science in Forestry from Purdue University.


Additional Information

We strive to host events that are inclusive and accessible to everyone. If you have a disability and require accommodations to fully participate in this activity, please reach out to Cecil Okotah (okotah.1@osu.edu). Requests made five business days in advance will generally allow us to provide seamless access. However, we will make every effort to meet requests made after this time frame. You will be contacted by someone from our staff to discuss your specific needs. For the virtual audience, a closed captioning option via EPN’s YouTube live stream will be available, as well as other accommodations as requested on the registration.

Masks are optional for all event attendees at this event, in accordance with Ohio State’s Safe and Healthy Protocols as of this date. In-person attendees will be expected to follow Ohio State protocols regarding the prevention of COVID-19 transmission. More health and safety information available on this Personal Safety Practices page

This program will be livestreamed on the EPN YouTube page.