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Tonya Graham, Executive Director

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Tonya is the Executive Director of the Geos Institute and the Director of its ClimateWise Initiative, serving as the lead for ClimateWise projects. She has taken a lead role in developing the concept of Whole Community Resilience, which takes a holistic approach to addressing climate change impacts and develops solutions that are both ecologically sound and socially equitable. She and her ClimateWise team help community leaders understand likely future conditions, determine vulnerabilities, and develop strategies to address them that care for both people and nature.

In 2019, she and her ClimateWise team launched Climate Ready Communities, an “assisted do-it-yourself” climate resilience planning program that provides affordable assistance to small, mid-sized, and/or under-resourced communities nationwide. She is a co-author of A Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience, a free, step-by-step planning guide which serves as the foundation for the Climate Ready Communities program.

As a member of the ClimateWise team, Tonya has helped communities adapt to changing climate conditions in Oregon, California, Montana, Alaska, Texas, Kentucky, Colorado, and Ontario, Canada. In 2012 she co-organized with the Kresge Foundation the first national gathering of adaptation practitioners: The Practitioners Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation: Integrated Strategies for Human and Natural Communities. She has developed climate adaptation curricula for the Association of Climate Change Officers.

Tonya served on the Project Advisory Committee for Community-Based Adaptation in the United States: Understanding How and Why Communities are Taking Action. She is a member of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals where she has led working groups to develop climate adaptation program guidance for Congress and incoming administrations. She formerly served as the Treasurer for the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. Tonya holds a B.S. in Biophysical Environmental Studies from Northland College and a M.A. in Community Development from Goddard College.


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