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Center for Urban Ecology

Community Partners

The CUE collaborates with many community partners to expand the impact of projects that benefit Indianapolis and to provide Butler students with real world experience. Below, is a list of our current community partners.

Distelrath Farm School

Distelrath Farm School has a mission to develop self-reliant, lifelong learners by facilitating an agriculturally-immersive, holistic educational space. The CUE and pharmacy professor, Jane Gervasio are working with Butler alumnus and founder, Andrew Distelrath, to research how to feed a family of four in Indiana for six months using a small, nutritionally rich garden. CUE interns have the opportunity to conduct the research, assist Distelrath high school students in garden implementation, and develop early education curriculum.

daVinci Pursuit

The daVinci Pursuit was founded to bring science education and cultural enrichment to the public through programs dedicated to integrating the arts, sciences, and communities. The CUE works with the daVinci Pursuit to provide programming and conversation centered upon the arts, sciences, and community to improve the quality of life for residents of Indianapolis. Our current collaboration is with the NSF-funded StreamLines project.

Growing Places Indy

Growing Places Indy is one of four farms participating in an USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NSC-SARE) partnership grant awarded to the CUE Farm to trial outdoor mushroom production. Other participating farms are the CUE FarmFitness Farm, and Mother Love's Garden. Farmers are being trained by Mark Jones of Sharondale Mushroom Farm.

Fitness Farm

The Fitness Farm is one of four farms participating in an USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NSC-SARE) partnership grant awarded to the CUE Farm to trial outdoor mushroom production. Other participating farms are the CUE Farm, Mother Love's Garden, and Growing Places Indy. Farmers are being trained by Mark Jones of Sharondale Mushroom Farm.

Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA)

The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park: 100 Acres is part of a broader mission at the IMA to promote environmentally-friendly and sustainable practices. As part of a long-standing collaboration conducting biodiversity assessments with the CUE and Butler faculty, 100 Acres is a partner site and education outreach collaborator on the Indy Wildlife Watch project.

The Indianapolis Zoo

The Indianapolis Zoo, located in White River State Park, downtown Indianapolis has a mission to is to empower people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. As such, the Zoo works with the CUE to co-lead education and outreach for the Indy Wildlife Watch Project (IWW). Currently, the Zoo is supporting K12 adopt-a-camera curriculum efforts, has a few wildlife monitoring cameras on-grounds, and is engaging their Generation Conservation youth program in wildlife image collection and analysis. 

IndyGrown Network

IndyGrown is a cooperative network of urban farmers in Indianapolis led by Purdue Extension – Marion County. The CUE Farm (link to CUE Farm: Main page) is a member of this network of farmers, which provides an annual urban farm tour and shared marketing opportunities.

Indy Parks

The City of Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation, or IndyParks, manages and operates 207 park properties in Indianapolis. The CUE is currently partnering with IndyParks as part of the Indy Wildlife Watch project, where Eagle Creek Park restorations will be monitored for impact to wildlife.

Kheprw Institute

The Kheprw Institute seeks to empower the community through self-mastery for positive world change. The CUE collaborates with the Kheprw Institute through shared projects on food justice and urban farming. Youth and adults at the Kheprw Institute provide feedback on CUE programs and social media training to CUE staff.

Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District

The Marion County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) provides technical and educational services to help Marion County land users conserve soil, water, and related natural resources. The CUE partners with the Marion Co. SWCD to connect with urban farmers and technical expertise related to soil health, particularly for the CUE Farm (link to CUE Farm Main page) and urban agriculture soil health research.

Mother Love's Garden

Mother Love's Garden is one of four farms participating in an USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NSC-SARE) partnership grant awarded to the CUE Farm to trial outdoor mushroom production. Other participating farms are the CUE Farm, Fitness Farm, and Growing Places Indy. Farmers are being trained by Mark Jones of Sharondale Mushroom Farm.

Purdue Extension - Marion County

The Purdue Extension – Marion Co. connects Indiana communities experts on agriculture, community, environment, family, food, and youth. The CUE regularly collaborates with the Purdue Extension through the CUE Farm (link to CUE Farm page), the IndyGrown Network, and the Purdue Extension Farm Incubator Project.

Reconnecting to Our Waterways (ROW)

ROW is a collective impact initiative that strives to provide opportunities for physical, human, and economic development that benefit Indianapolis’ waterways. The CUE collaborates with ROW regularly on invasive species research, community events, and by serving on the ROW Ecology Committee.

Sharondale Mushroom Farm

The CUE Farm received an USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NSC-SARE) partnership grant to trial outdoor mushroom production at four Indianapolis urban farms. Mark Jones, CEO of Sharondale Mushroom Farm, provides mushroom production expertise to four local farmers from Fitness Farm, Mother Love's Garden, CUE Farm, and Growing Places Indy

Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School

The Shortridge International Baccalaureate High School, near downtown Indianapolis, has a mission to challenge high-ability scholars from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds to become lifelong learners who develop personal and social awareness. The CUE currently works with biology teacher and Butler alumnus, Abigail Soltis, to support school programming through presentations in classes, at Friday Connect, and through annual Biology Day, content support for curricular development, and more recently, through the Indy Wildlife Watch adopt-a-camera program where Abby will work with other teachers to develop wildlife research curriculum to be distributed to 18 middle and high schools in and around Indianapolis. 

STEM Education and Innovation Research Institute (SEIRI), IUPUI

SEIRI is dedicated to STEM education research and the development and dissemination of STEM education programs in collaboration with external partners.  The CUE is collaborating with the Institute through the project “Cultivating Scientific Literacy and Action Through Place” funded through the National Science Foundation. This project seeks to utilize the CUE Farm as an interdisciplinary hub for research and education by implementing place-based urban agriculture research modules in Butler courses.

University High School

University High School is a college preparatory school located in Carmel, Indiana with a mission to expand the hearts and minds of students and to nurture excellence through academic, creative, and physical achievement. The CUE is collaborating with science instructor and Butler alumnus, Stacey Summit-Mann, on the Indy Wildlife Watch Project (IWW) where Stacey and other K12 teachers will develop class curriculum as part of the CUE’s adopt-a-camera program funded through a Butler University Innovation Fund award. Curriculum and wildlife cameras will be provided to 18 middle and high schools in and around Indianapolis so students can conduct real scientific research and share the results with researchers on the IWW project.

Urban Wildlife Institute, Lincoln Park Zoo

The Urban Wildlife Institute researches the interaction between urban development and the natural ecosystem. The Institute has recently developed the Urban Wildlife Information Network, a network of cities conducting long-term monitoring of wildlife to understand how animals utilize urban ecosystems. The CUE’s Indy Wildlife Watch project is one of the first cities to join this growing national network.