Community Team

The goal of the Community Team is to understand how Missouri communities have reacted to environmental catastrophes and how to achieve resilience under a changing climate characterized by increased periods of drought, flooding, and prolonged summer heat waves.

The Community Team is addressing how resilient Missouri communities are to a changing climate. Their research is laying the groundwork for understanding the community-level effects of climate change by considering how diverse stakeholders make decisions in response to drought, storm events, and impacts on vegetation. Researchers are using historical and archival data to investigate resiliency in urban settings, among land owners/managers and vulnerable populations, and in state parks and historic sites to climate-related events and then will integrate these responses into a “resiliency framework” for Missouri.

Research Aims

  1. Find long-term patterns of response to environmental disruptions.
  2. Assess management goals and techniques to climate-related threats by landowners, land managers and vulnerable populations.
  3. Examine the effects of weather-related events and natural disasters linked to the response from Missouri State Parks and Historic Sites.
  4. Integrate responses to climate change within a regional resilience framework.

Community Team Lead

Dr. Charles Nilon
Dr. Charles Nilon is a Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Missouri. He is an expert in urban wildlife ecology and conservation and the human dimensions in wildlife management. Dr. Nilon oversees the Community Team and collaborates with the Climate and Education Teams.

Community Team Members

Andrew Hurley
Andrew Hurley is Professor of History at University of Missouri-St. Louis. He is a well-established historian with expertise in the environmental history of the St. Louis region. Dr. Hurley conducts and supervises research related to community responses to environmental shocks and disruptions in 19th and 20th century St. Louis and works with community partners to tailor research strategies to their particular environmental advocacy and planning goals.
Mark Morgan
Mark Morgan is Associate Professor of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at MU. He is an expert in the social aspects of natural resource management, education and outreach. Dr. Morgan collaborates with Dr. Wilhelm-Stanis on surveying park managers and visitors to Missouri state parks about perceptions, concerns, and experiences related to climate change.
Robert Pierce
Bob Pierce is an Associate Extension Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife at MU. He is a member of the Community Engagement Team and works in collaboration with Drs. Nilon and Navarrete-Tindall (with Lincoln University) to develop methods for assessing the resiliency of landowners/managers and communities within the context of a changing climate, in urban and agricultural ecosystems.
Barton Wechsler
Dr. Wechsler’s research is concerned with public leadership, strategic planning and management, organization theory, and human resource management. His research has been published in Public Administration Review, Administration and Society, Journal of the American Planning Association, Public Productivity and Management Review, Review of Public Personnel Administration, other academic and practitioner journals and numerous edited books. He has served on the editorial boards of Public Productivity and Management Review and Journal of Public Affairs Education and was formerly book review editor of Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. Wechsler has provided consulting, training and technical assistance to state and local government agencies and nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S. Before coming to the Truman School, he was dean of the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine and a faculty member at the University of Illinois and Florida State University.
Sonja Wilhelm Stanis
Sonja Wilhelm Stanis is Assistant Professor of Parks, Recreation and Tourism at MU. She is an expert in the human dimensions of natural resource management. She is co-lead with Dr. Morgan on the state parks project to assess resiliency by examining the relationship between park visitation and types of weather-related events and natural disasters. She manages the data collection instrument and protocols.

Staff, Postdocs, and Students

Vidya Balasubramanyam
Works in the lab of Sonja Wilhelm Stanis
Michael Farber
Michael Farber is a Masters student in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department at MU. His advisors are Drs. Nilon and Pierce.
Chris Fulcher
Chris Directs the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES) at the University of Missouri. Chris’ systems-based approach to decision making enables public and nonprofit sector organizations to effectively address social, economic and environmental issues using unique collaborative management systems such as Community Commons (www.communitycommons.org). Chris and his team integrate Geographic Information Systems, data visualization, community engagement tools and Internet accessibility to better serve vulnerable and underserved populations. These web-based technologies help organizations and policy makers make more informed decisions about access, equity, and allocation of resources. Chris received his B.S. in Agricultural Engineering at Texas A&M University in 1984 and his M.S. in Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M in 1985. He received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at the University of Missouri in 1996. In 2005 he completed his National Library of Medicine Postdoctoral Fellowship in Health Informatics.
Riham Ghawali
Works with Jeff Hargrove
Lisa Groshong
Lisa Groshong is a PhD candidate in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at MU. She is in the state parks resilience group with Drs. Morgan and Wilhelm Stanis.
Jeff Hargrove
Jeff Hargrove is the Extension Technician at Lincoln University working with Nadia Navarrete-Tindall on land management in rural communities in Scott County.
Wyatt Hunziker
He will be studying aquaculture and food production.
Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson is the Associate Director of the Institute of Public Policy, Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs at the University of Missouri. Ms. Johnson manages the Vulnerability and Resilience piece of the Community Team research. She has extensive experience working with state, local, and nonprofit agencies to conduct process, impact, and capacity evaluations, design and conduct surveys, conduct needs assessments, convene focus groups and community input forums, provide technical assistance, facilitate strategic planning sessions, and provide training.
Angela Johnson
Angela Johnson works as a geographic information systems (GIS) specialist at the Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES) at the University of Missouri. Angela started working with CARES in June of 2011 as a data technician and, through her work on various projects, quickly developed skills which helped advance her role at the Center. Her current activities include data analysis, preparation of data for GIS mapping applications, design and execution of map layers for web-based platforms, and user support. Angela received a B.A. in Anthropology from James Madison University in May 2007 and a Graduate Certificate in GIS from the University of Missouri in December 2013.
Andrew Mallinak
Master's student with Charlie Nilon and Bob Pierce
Kathleen Miller
Kathy Miller is the Director of Academic Programs for the Truman School of Public Affairs, a role she assumed in May of 2016. She has been with the Truman School of Public Affairs since its inception in 2001. For 15 years, she served as the Program Director for the Rural Policy Research Institute, a research institute focused on the design and impact of public policy on rural people and places. She holds a B.S. and M.S. in Agricultural Economics from Penn State University. Her research interests are in the areas of rural economic development and rural poverty. In addition, she has instructed two courses in the Truman School’s MPA program: Research Methods and Inquire in Public Affairs; and Regional and Economic Development Policy.
Sebastian Moreno
Master's student working with Charlie Nilon and Bob Pierce
Ojetunde Ojewola
Ojetunde Ojewola is a PhD candidate in Human Dimensions of Natural Resources at MU. He is in the state parks resilience group with Drs. Morgan and Wilhelm Stanis.
Dung Thi Kim Phan
Kim Phan is a student at MU working as a student assistant with Drs. Mark Morgan and Sonja Wilhelm-Stanis on the Community Team.
Emily Scheperle
Evaluate Prenger Center participants between ages 12 and 17 on their pre- and post-curriculum knowledge of food production, impacts of changing climate, and preparedness.
Alanna Wansing
Intern on the Community Team focusing on land management in rural communities in Scott County.