girl on rock overlooking a wide valley with farm land

About the Geos Institute

Our Mission ​

Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change using science and local knowledge. Our holistic approach prioritizes the needs of ecosystems and those on the frontlines of climate change impacts.

Our Vision

We envision a world with climate resilient communities, flourishing ecosystems, and equitable societies. Humanity is on track to avoid the most catastrophic, long-term climate impacts. People are deeply connected to the natural world, appreciate its value, and make evidence-based decisions to maintain its integrity. Decision-makers consistently center the voices of frontline communities in building Whole Community Resilience.

Who We Are

The Geos Institute is a dedicated team of climate resilience practitioners that uses its technical and process expertise to help local leaders build climate resilience in their communities. Our staff works to identify opportunities and address shifting circumstances as they arise. By focusing our expertise on developing holistic solutions in partnership with other allied organizations, we are able to impact large systems.

Learn more about our staff and board.

Our Values

  • Holistic Approach: Effective solutions work across multiple sectors of a community and natural ecosystems.
  • Science-Based:​ Rigorous, peer-reviewed scientific information is the basis for effective climate change solutions.
  • Nature Matters:​ Natural systems and wildlife have intrinsic value and provide important services to people.
  • Frontline First:​ A community’s highest priority actions to build climate resilience should prioritize the needs of those who bear a disproportionate burden of climate change impacts.
  • Local Knowledge:​ Effective solutions come from engaging diverse stakeholders who have a deep understanding of their community.
  • Innovation: Innovative thinking, idea sharing, and calculated risk-taking are key to long-term success.​
  • Results Driven: Progress is measured by the real-world change that results from our work.
  • Accountability: Transparent decision-making, honest communication, and holding ourselves and others accountable are critical to effective action.

Annual Reports

2019 Annual Report
2018 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report
2016 Annual Report

You can also find our 2019 Form 990 here.

Our Accomplishments

Since 2008, we have worked with local leaders in Oregon, California, Alaska, Colorado, Montana, Texas, Kentucky, and Alberta, Canada to help them understand the impacts of climate change, determine what they mean for their communities, and create effective strategies to lessen those impacts.

Our team has attended and presented at all National Adaptation Forums held since the inaugural forum in 2013. We have presented to a variety of organizations, such as the American Planning Association, National Association of Counties, Resilient Virginia, National Association of Development Organizations, Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative, National Forum for Black Public Administrators, Alaksa Tribal Conference on Environmental Management, International City/County Managers Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, California Adaptation Forum, Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation, Sustainable Cities Conference, League of Oregon Cities, Alaska Forum on the Environment, and more.

Below are some of our accomplishments over the years:

2020

  • Co-led with the American Society of Adaptation Professionals the process to develop guidance from the adaptation field in response to Request for Information released by the House of Representative’s Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
  • Launched Climate Ready Communities – an “assisted do-it-yourself" climate resilience planning program for small to mid-sized and under-resourced communities.
  • Invited participant in the Resilience Ecosystem Workshop sponsored by NOAA and the Climate Resilience Fund

2019

  • Authored the Practical Guide to Building Climate Resilience
  • Reviewed the manuscript of “A Civil Society Consortium for Conducting Applied Climate Assessments: Collaborations and Knowledge for Confronting Climate Risk - Report of an Independent Advisory Committee on Applied Climate Assessment” for publication in Weather, Climate and Society - the American Meteorological Society
  • Participated in a two-year Delphi study conducted by Virginia Tech and EcoAdapt to determine consensus around appropriate outcomes and best practices for multi‐stakeholder, place‐based climate adaptation workshops in the United States.

2018

  • Invited participant in the Resilience Ecosystem Workshop sponsored by NOAA and the Climate Resilience Fund
  • A Roundtable with Mississippi River Mayors and the Insurance Industry - with UN Environment North America and the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative we coordinated the roundtable to bring together mayors from the full length of the Mississippi River Corridor and global leaders from the insurance and re-insurance industries, to discuss reducing vulnerability to natural disasters along the waterway, and building resilience for the future.
  • Served as a special advisor to the American Society of Adaptation Professionals’ Living Guide to the Principles of Climate Change Adaptation

2017

  • With the Mississippi River Cities and Towns Initiative we successfully advocated for FEMA to modify its Pre-Disaster Mitigation Program rules to allow proposals by states for projects to address resilience over large landscapes that cross state boundaries.
  • Participated in the Sustained Assessment: Co-Design and Strategy Meeting hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists Office

2016

  • Began and co-led a three-year effort with thought leaders in the climate adaptation field to develop a national Climate Adaptation Service Bureau, elements of which are now found in the Climate Ready Communities program
  • Served on the Project Advisory Committee for the Kresge Foundation’s Assessment: Climate Adaptation: The State of Practice in U.S. Communities 
  • Led the process to develop guidance on climate adaptation for the incoming Trump Administration through the American Society of Adaptation Professionals

2015

  • Developed our Whole Community Adaptation Planning Framework (See Koopman, M. E. and T. Graham. 2015. “Whole Community Adaptation to Climate Change.” Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Elsevier.)

2014

  • Invited participant of the Climate Adaptation Service Providers and Practitioners Workshop aimed at developing a shared understanding of the resources available for climate adaptation practitioners.

2012

  • Co-sponsored the first national gathering of climate adaptation practitioners with the Kresge Foundation. The Practitioners Workshop on Climate Change Adaptation: Integrated Strategies for Human and Natural Communities was the pre-cursor to the National Adaptation Forum, which began in 2013.

2008

  • Became a national pioneer in translating raw climate modeling data into GIS software to make it usable for local decisionmakers.