Rural Michigan Initiative

Climate Change and Small Towns: Building a Model for Resilience Through Collaborative Partnerships and Education

About Rural Michigan Initiative

A collaborative effort between Alma College and the Michigan Environmental Council, Rural Michigan Initiative is a forum for discussing local and regional environmental challenges. It aims to encourage citizens and policy makers to promote ecological health in the Great Lakes region and to restore economic stability to rural communities.

2023 Conference

This year’s conference, scheduled for Wednesday, April 5 in the Wright Leppien Opera House in downtown Alma, is titled Climate Change and Small Towns: Building a model for resilience through collaborative partnerships and education. It will explore the creation of a collaborative, sustainable structure that facilitates solutions to climate-related problems. The following questions will drive our discussion.

  • What does science say about how climate change will impact small towns and rural communities in Michigan?
  • What information and resources are needed to help communities make informed decisions about their future viability?
  • How can we leverage existing structures within Alma College and the local community to create a system by which issues and problems are addressed effectively?

Looking to the Future

The 2023 RMI conference will also serve as the launch of a new, innovative institute that will create partnerships and collaborations between academic institutions, community leaders, government officials and environmental nonprofits, in order to weave real-world environmental and economic issues into our current academic curricula.

Conference at a Glance

Morning Session
Scientists and economists will discuss specific impacts small towns and rural areas face from climate change. Working

Lunch Session
Participants will network and discuss what gaps exist in current funding and other resources.

Afternoon Workshops
Participants will assess existing and future challenges, and work towards creating a collaborative partnership that is able to share resources and promote resiliency.