Ecologist to visit Grinnell College to discuss challenges of confronting climate change

Cornelia Mutel will be on campus for numerous activities including a public lecture on April 25

Noted ecologist and science writer Cornelia Mutel will visit Grinnell College on April 25-26 to discuss the challenges of confronting climate change. Her campus visit will include a lecture, a presentation in the Biology Department’s weekly seminar series, class appearances and a nature walk at the college's Conard Environmental Research Area. 

Her lecture will start at 7:30 Tuesday, April 25, in room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center, 1115 Eighth Ave., Grinnell. It is free and open to the public.

"Climate change is alive and active in the Midwest and around the globe," Mutel says. "What is it already touching? What are its effects? How can we address the growing challenges?" In the lecture, Mutel will provide a summary of the basic character of climate change and its most recent expressions. 

Mutel’s most recent book, "A Sugar Creek Chronicle: Observing Climate Change from a Midwestern Woodland"(2016, University of Iowa Press) is an account of Mutel's exploration of climate change's impact on a woodland near her home in east-central Iowa. Her previous books include 'A Watershed Year: Anatomy of the Iowa Floods of 2008' and 'The Emerald Horizon: The History of Nature in Iowa."

Mutel holds a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College and a master's degree from the University of Colorado.  She recently retired from her position as senior science writer, IIHR-Hydroscience and Engineering, at the University of Iowa.

The Grinnell College Center for Prairie Studies is sponsoring her campus visit, which includes three additional events open to the public:

1. Mutel will participate in a panel discussion about "Communicating Science-based Problems to the Lay Public" in the Biology Department seminar series at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 25, in room 2002 of Noyce Science Center, 1116 Eighth Ave., Grinnell.

2. She will also visit a Sustainability of Social Responsibility of Organizations class taught by Professor Emeritus of Anthropology Doug Caulkins. The class will start at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 25, in room 102 of Alumni Recitation Hall, 1226 Park St., Grinnell.

3. From 2-4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, Mutel will participate in an informal nature walk at the college’s Conard Environmental Research Area led by CERA Manager Elizabeth Hill at the College’s Conard Environmental Research Area in rural Kellogg, Iowa. Driving directions: Take Interstate-80 west from Grinnell to Exit 173.Go north on Highway 224 and take the first gravel road on the right (S. 12th Ave. E). Follow it east about 1.5 miles to the main entrance of CERA. Watch for CERA's main entrance sign.

Grinnell College welcomes the participation of people with disabilities. Room 101 in the Rosenfield Center is equipped with an induction hearing loop system, which enables individuals with hearing aids set to T-Coil to hear the program. Information about parking and accessibility is available on the college's website: Accommodation requests may be made to Conference Operations at 641-269-3235 or calendar[at]grinnell[dot]edu.

The college welcomes the presence of minors at all age-appropriate public events and for informal visits, with the understanding that a parent, legal guardian, or other responsible adult assumes full responsibility for their child’s safety and behavior during such visits or events. In these cases, the college expects that an adult responsible for the visiting child takes measures to ensure the child’s safety and sees that the child complies with directions of college personnel. Grinnell College is not responsible for supervision of minors on campus.

About Grinnell College

Since its founding in 1846, Grinnell has become one of the nation's premier liberal arts colleges, enrolling 1,600 students from all 50 states and from as many countries. Grinnell's rigorous academic program emphasizes excellence in education for students in the liberal arts; the college offers the B.A. degree in a range of departments across the humanities, arts and sciences. Grinnell has a strong tradition of social responsibility and action, and self-governance and personal responsibility are key components of campus life. More information about Grinnell College is available at

Connie Mutel

Attached Photo: Cornelia Mutel