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Center for Urban Ecology and Sustainability

Community Partners

The CUES collaborates with many community partners to expand the impact of coursework and projects that benefit Indianapolis and to provide Butler students with real-world experiences. Current community partners in CUES-led classes and projects include:

Carriage House East Apartments

Carriage House East Apartments is an affordable apartment community on the east side of Indianapolis funded by Glick Philanthropies. Glick Philanthropies broke ground on a state-of-the-art, $2 million facility the Carriage House East Resident Success Center in May 2018 that builds community and creates opportunities to break the cycle of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency. The Success Center includes several multi-purpose spaces for community events, a teaching kitchen for cooking classes, a greenhouse and outdoor gathering space and a welcoming entry with computers to serve as a social hub for residents and neighbors. The NSF-funded project and CUES-affiliated classes send students to assist Carriage House East in the development of gardens and youth cooking classes while teaching Butler students about the interconnectedness of disciplines and approaches to solving food system challenges.

Fitness Farm

The Fitness Farm was one of four farms participating in an USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NSC-SARE) partnership grant awarded to the The Farm at Butler to trial outdoor mushroom production. Other participating farms were Mother Love's Garden and Growing Places Indy. Fitness Farm is also a regular host of student service learning through the NSF-funded farm-situated place-based experiential learning pedagogy and the CUES-staff course ‘Food Systems and Metabolic Rift’.

Flanner House

The northwest area of Indianapolis is the largest food desert in Indy. To combat this challenge, the Flanner House established a 2.5 acre Flanner Farm to provide healthy, affordable, culturally appropriate produce to those who need it most, while becoming food secure and self-sufficient in the process. The CUES sociology research project—Local Approaches to Combating Indy Food Insecurity—seeks to understand how differently structured organizations approach food access and equity, of which the Flanner House is a subject.

Garcia's Gardens

Garcia's Gardens is a regular host of student service learning through the NSF-funded farm-situated place-based experiential learning pedagogy and the CUES course ‘Food Systems and Metabolic Rift’.

Growing Places Indy

Growing Places Indy (GPI) was one of four farms to participate in our USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NSC-SARE) partnership grant awarded to The Farm at Butler to trial outdoor mushroom production. Other participating farms were Fitness Farm and Mother Love's Garden. GPI is also a regular host of student servce learning through the NSF-funded farm-situated place-based experiential learning pedogogy.

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 CUES 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 CUES 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 Farm at Butler 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 CUES 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 CUES collaborates with the Kheprw Institute through shared projects on food justice and urban farming. Youth and adults at the Kheprw Institute provide feedback on CUES programs and social media training to CUES staff. The CUES sociology research project seeks to understand how differently structured organizations approach food access and equity, of which the Kheprw Institute is a subject.

Lawrence Community Gardens

Lawrence Community Gardens is helping their local community combat a food desert while also teaching kids about the importance of eating healthy. As a regular host of student service learning through the NSF-funded farm-situated place-based experiential learning pedagogy and the CUES course ‘Food Systems and Metabolic Rift', Lawrence Community Gardens helps Butler students recognze their agency in advocating for food access and ownerhsip 

Mad Farmer's Collective

The CUES partners with the Mad Farmer's Collective to connect students with urban farmers through service-learing opportunties through the NSF-funded farm-situated place-based experiential learning pedogogy and other long-term collaborations.

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 CUES partners with the Marion Co. SWCD to connect with urban farmers and technical expertise related to soil health, particularly for The Farm at Butler and urban agriculture soil health research.

Mother Love's Garden

Mother Love's Garden is one of four farms participating in a USDA North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NSC-SARE) partnership grant awarded to the The Farm at Butler to trial outdoor mushroom production. Other participating farms are Fitness Farm and Growing Places Indy. Farmers are being trained by Mark Jones of Sharondale Mushroom Farm.  Mother Love's is also a regular host of student servce learning through the NSF-funded farm-situated place-based experiential learning pedogogy.

Purdue Extension—Marion County

The Purdue Extension–Marion Co. connects Indiana communities experts on agriculture, community, environment, family, food, and youth. The CUES regularly collaborates with the Purdue Extension through The Farm at Butler, 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 CUES collaborates with ROW regularly on invasive species research, community events, and by serving on the ROW Ecology Committee.

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 CUES 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 CUES 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 CUES 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 CUES’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 CUES’s Indy Wildlife Watch project is one of the first cities to join this growing national network.