Climate Outreach Team

The Climate Outreach Team (formerly called CV-CAT) was formed in April 2011 when a group of Michigan State University Extension educators gathered together to review input and observations on the impacts of weather and climate conditions from various stakeholders in field crop agriculture. Their goal was to discuss MSU Extension's role in climate change outreach and education, and in response, the team was born. The Climate Outreach Team has grown to include representatives from each institute within MSU Extension — Agriculture and Agribusiness, Community, Food & Environment, Children and Youth, and Health and Nutrition — Extension affiliates and other departments on campus. 

The Climate Outreach Team fosters dialogue with rural and urban communities, as well as stakeholders involved in economic development, natural resources and our youth. This multi-disciplinary approach fosters a greater understanding of each group’s needs and contributions to create and improve social capital in communities. The team is also well positioned to identify and assemble resources, as well as to develop training materials and webinars on risk management strategies.

Our Goals

  • Help MSU Extension personnel and clientele understand inter-relationships between climate, agriculture, natural resources and society.
  • Introduce MSU Extension personnel and clientele to scenarios for climate change and potential implications for Michigan’s agricultural and natural ecosystems.
  • Disseminate science-based information to a broader public audience on regional climate change and associated societal response options.
  • Design Extension programming to work with clientele on building adaptive capacity and resilience to seasonal climate variability and long-term changes in climate.
  • Promote and facilitate linkages between MSU Extension personnel and stakeholders who need scientific information on climate risks and who would benefit from development of new technologies and decision support systems.

Team Members

The Climate Outreach Team is made up of dedicated individuals — campus and field-based — who bring a broad understanding of agricultural management practices, policy, science communication and climate to the effort. This group includes researchers, policy specialists and educators. Many team members are involved in multi-state projects and programs which give them access to cutting-edge research and management tools that could benefit agriculture producers in Michigan. Our members include:

Dr. Eric Anderson

Field Crop Extension Educator
St. Joseph County
612 E. Main St., Centreville

Eric is a field crops extension educator with MSU Extension based in St. Joseph County. New to MSU Extension in 2015, Eric’s background is in the agronomy of perennial grasses grown for bioenergy feedstocks. His focus will be on working with farmers to develop and improve crop production systems that will be economically and environmentally sustainable in the face of changing weather patterns in Michigan.

Dr. Jeffrey Andresen

Dept. of Geography
Room 236A, Geography Bldg.
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

Dr. Jeffrey Andresen is associate professor of Meteorology/Climatology with Michigan State University’s Department of Geography, Extension specialist with Michigan State University Extension and the state climatologist for Michigan. He currently serves as co-director of Michigan’s Enviro-weather information system, which supports agricultural pest and production management related decision-making across the state, as a member of the Great Lakes Regional Science Assessment Center and as an Extension specialist maintaining an active outreach program, including dissemination of weather and climate data and related information to the general public.

Wayne Beyea

Specialist and Instructor
Michigan State University
School of Planning, Design and Construction
Urban and Regional Planning Program
Extension Community, Food & Environment Institute
552 West Circle Drive, Room 203G
East Lansing, MI 48824
Office: 517-432-7600

Wayne Beyea is a faculty member and specialist within the Michigan State University (MSU), School of Planning, Design and Construction, Urban and Regional Planning Program. In this capacity he maintains a teaching and Extension outreach program with an emphasis on land use law and policy, renewable energy siting and infrastructure, and sustainable development and climate change law. He also directs the American Citizen Planner Collaborative, an online training program for planning officials nationwide in partnership with land grant universities. In addition, he is the national leader for the Land Use Planning Community of Practice through the USDA Cooperative Extension Service. He served as the statewide coordinator of the Michigan State University Extension Citizen Planner program from 2002-2012, leading the program to state and national prominence under his direction. Mr. Beyea has more than 20 years of experience in the fields of community planning, economic development, and land use law and policy at the local, county, regional and state levels. Mr. Beyea holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Urban Planning from MSU, a Master of Public Administration Degree with a concentration in growth management, from the University of Maine, and a Juris Doctor Degree from the MSU College of Law. He is a professionally certified community planner through the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP), a court appointed general civil mediator (MCR 2.411(F)(2)) and a licensed attorney in the state of Michigan. Mr. Beyea has also served as a municipally appointed Planning Commissioner and Zoning Board of Appeals member.

Mark Breederland

Michigan Sea Grant Extension
Grand Traverse County, MSU Extension
520 W. Front Street, STE A
Michigan State University
Traverse City, MI 49684

Mark Breederland is a field-based educator with the Michigan Sea Grant College Program/Michigan State University Extension. He is housed at the Grand Traverse MSU Extension office in Traverse City, Michigan and works on a variety of waterfront and conservation Great Lakes issues serving both northwest lower Michigan and across the state. Mark has more than 25 years of experience and earned his M.En. degree in water resources from Miami University (Oxford, Ohio).  

Bill Cook

Michigan State University Extension
Forest Biomass Innovation Center
6005 J Road
Escanaba, MI 49829

Dr. Julie Doll

W.K. Kellogg Biological Station
3700 E. Gull Lake Drive
Michigan State University
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Dr. Julie Doll is the education and outreach coordinator for the Kellogg Biological Station Long-term Ecological Research program. She develops educational programs about agriculture and ecology, with a focus on climate change and field crops. She works with agricultural professionals, farmers, journalists, scientists, students and teachers to foster learning and dialogue about the relationship between climate, the environment and field crop agriculture.

Michelle Jarvie

MSU Extension Educator
Food Safety, Nutrition
749 Hombach St.
St. Ignance, MI 49781

Michelle Jarvie is a food safety educator and nutrition program supervising educator with Michigan State University’s Health and Nutrition Institute. Before joining MSU Extension, she was a field technician with the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP), which is a program that helps farmers evaluate and address environmental risks (soil, groundwater and surface water) on their farms. Michelle is a graduate of Michigan Technological University with degrees in Forestry (BA) and Biology (MS). 

Monica Jean


MSU Extension Field Crop Educator
2840 College Ave.
Escanaba, MI 49829
Office: (906) 786-3032
Cell: (616) 443-8782

Monica services the central western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her position covers a large variety of crop production including edible dry beans, potato and integrated crop and livestock systems. Monica is also a part of the North Central Cropping System Academy developing educational resources for farmer driven technologies.

Dr. Brian Klatt

Michigan Natural Features Inventory
525 W. Allegan St.
Lansing, MI 48933

Dr. Brian Klatt serves as the chief financial and administrative officer, as well as a principal investigator for the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI). MNFI is the Natural Heritage Program for the state of Michigan and is a part of the MSU Extension system. As such, its mission is to generate high quality information on the distribution and condition of the biodiversity resources of the state, especially threatened and endangered species, and share this information through the NatureServe Network.

Brad Neumann

Community, Food & Environment Institute
184 US 41 East
Negaunee, MI 49866

Brad Neumann, AICP, is a government  and public policy educator with MSU Extension. His educational programming focuses on local government land use planning/zoning and community economic development through placemaking. Brad has a particular interest in the role green infrastructure can play in climate adaptation of cities and how city and street design can increase the number of trips on foot/bike and reduce automobile use as a mitigation strategy to climate change.

Laura Potter-Niesen

Educational Program Events Coordinator
Michigan State University Extension  |  Children & Youth Institute
Justin S. Morrill Hall of Agriculture
446 W. Circle Drive, Room 160
East Lansing, MI 48824
Phone: 517-432-2963

Laura is a Communication Grad from MSU and currently works with MSU Extension, specifically with the pre-college events for 4-H and Michigan’s youth. One of these pre-college events is 4-H Great Lakes and Natural Resources, a week long camp in Presque Isle, Michigan, working with 70 youth to better understand nature and how much it needs protection.



Dr. Nikki Rothwell


District Horticulturist and NWMHRC Coordinator
6686 S. Center Highway
Traverse City, MI 49684
231.946.1510 (t)
231.342.4094 (c)


Dr. Nikki Rothwell works as the Extension Specialist with Michigan State University Extension and as the Coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station.  She has a split appointment between research, administration, and outreach. She received a B.S. from Western Michigan University in biology and chemistry and went on to receive a M.S. from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, both in entomology. Currently, she works with cherry and apple growers in northwest Michigan where she conducts applied research and outreach programming based on local and statewide needs.  Her research interests include tree fruit training and irrigation systems, pest management strategies, and horticultural modernization.

Michael Schira

Community, Food & Environment Institute
Houghton County, MSU Extension
1500 Birch Street
Michigan State University
Hancock, MI 49930

Michael Schira is a natural resources educator with MSU Extension. In addition to his natural resources duties, he is responsible for programming and informational efforts as part of the statewide Firewise program which alerts homeowners and communities to risk of loss to wildland fire events.

Marilyn Thelen

Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute
Clinton County, MSU Extension
100 E. State Street, STE G100
Michigan State University
St. Johns, MI 48879

Marilyn Thelen is an integrating crop and livestock systems educator with MSU Extension. She is active in multi-state programs that address the impact of climate change on agriculture. Her outreach involves working with farmers to develop production systems that have the capacity to withstand weather extremes. 

Dr. Heather Triezenberg

Michigan Sea Grant
Michigan State University Extension
Fisheries & Wildlife Department
Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability
Manly Miles Building
1405 S. Harrison Road, Room 305
East Lansing, MI 48823-5243
517-353-5508 (office) 

As Extension Specialist and Program Coordinator, Dr. Heather Triezenberg coordinates the statewide Sea Grant Extension Program in collaboration with Michigan State University Extension Community, Food & Environment Institute, and is a member of the Michigan Sea Grant College Program Management Team. Triezenberg conducts applied human dimensions research in support of Great Lakes aquatic resource policy and management. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals gold award for a referred journal article. Triezenberg is interested in resilient coastal community development and healthy coastal ecosystems. Her research explores how stakeholders perceive risks related to critical issues within the Great Lakes to inform communication efforts, citizen involvement in research (e.g., Citizen Science), and program evaluation. She is also interested in the application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other quantitative methods to better understand stakeholders’ perceptions and actions as well as the incorporation of human dimensions data into management modeling and decision-making.

Dr. Lois Wolfson

Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
Manly Miles Building
1405 S. Harrison Road, Ste. 101
East Lansing, MI 48823

Dr. Lois Wolfson is a senior outreach specialist with the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Institute of Water Research at MSU. She also is MSU Extension’s representative to the North Central Region Water Program. She received her PhD from Michigan State University in Fisheries and Wildlife in 1992 with an emphasis in Limnology. Her major interests include watershed and lake management, invasive species and harmful algal blooms. As part of the Climate Outreach Team, she is helping to develop an online course on climate change and variability specifically targeted for Extension educators.