Community Sustainability Projects

BIOL 207   Spring 2014


Overall Goal: These projects aim to reinforce your understanding of the ways in which real-world situations and organizations are working in ways that link the three E’s of sustainability – equity, economy and ecology.


Part I (Networking Maps) – Due by March 10, worth 80 points

·        working as part of an interdisciplinary team of 3, you will describe the work that a particular Goshen area organization is doing with regard to the three E’s and in relationship to other entities and organizations in the area.

·        a combination of online research, phone conversations and in-person meetings will be necessary in order to get a full picture of your organization’s scope of influence

·        Outcomes:

o       a networking map or diagram that illustrates implications of the organization’s work for the three E’s, as well as direct connections to other institutions or activities in the region (added to the Transition Goshen database)

o       a 3-4p narrative that explains the key strengths of your organization in terms of connectivity to concepts and other groups, and highlights areas that may be important growth areas for the organization in the next 3-5 years.



1.      Select project organization (Due Friday, Jan. 24)

Using the list on page 4 of this document, pick two organizations that you would be strongly interested in researching for this project (note for me which is your first and which your second choice). You can choose on the basis of the organizations fit to your major, your passions, or ideally, both!

After all selections are in, I will divide the class into groups of three on the basis of your expressed interests.


2.      Establish contact with your organization and begin researching their activities.

Beginning with background research using the Web and other sources, determine which 1 or 2 of the framework concepts (see the framework diagram at are most central to your organization’s mission. Then after discussing your determinations with me, contact the organization and arrange a meeting with leaders of that group. As a group, introduce the project you are working on and the service you hope to offer by portraying them within a web of relationships that the organization and broader community can explore. Add your core ideas to the global concept map for the course, along with any other concepts that stand out to you as valuable in understanding your organization or appreciating how it fits into Goshen as an ecosystem.


3.      Continue research - gather resources and identify related topics.

Gather “resources” from your organization that might serve to illustrate their key concepts for the broader community. As you review the resources, identify additional terms/ideas/concepts necessary to understand and appreciate the work of their organization.  In addition to the resources provided by the organization, look through their website and search online for other resources that you might be interested in learning about as a community member. In the interest of building a common language across the groups and within the community, you are encouraged to select related topics from this set of sources:, Reliable Prosperity, Permaculture principles, Lexicon of Sustainability, and Appropedia.

Each term should be clearly and succinctly defined/described in an entry that will be linked to from your concept map.  The definition/summary can be copied from the source (or sources) and does not have to be generated by you… but it must link to the source and clearly credit it.

For each resource, identify the specific topics to be included in your map that it serves to illustrate, as well as any additional keywords or tags that might help link it to other resources.  Also, each resource should be classified as one of the following content types: program, event, reference, place, etc. Upload each topic to the database (uploading instructions in more detail are forthcoming). Then upload each resource to the database, including a summary (if including the entire resource in the database is impractical) and identifying its related topics.


4.      Create individual concept maps.

Each of you will then create an individual concept map of one of the “core ideas” that your group identified for the organization, introducing the terms embedded in that idea (target 10 terms… but can be more or less depending on what they feel is necessary to convey the idea).  The same idea may be used in multiple maps.

To help us identify common ideas among different maps, each concept will use the same frame, which for the purpose of this project will be based on the Reliable Prosperity framework.  Identifying related terms in each of the three Es is a goal but not a requirement.

Link each topic on your map to the entry in the database.

Each term on the map should be clearly illustrated by some resource from the organization.  If it is not clearly illustrated by one of the resources provided, but you believe it is nonetheless crucial to understanding the core idea or to see how the organization fits into the Goshen ecosystem, ask your contact for any other resources (stories, events, anecdotes, programs, etc…) that might serve to illustrate it, or find an external resource (preferably local) online.

Add your core concept map as a “frame” in the database, and list the related topics you’ve added to it.


5.      Compare concept maps and make any necessary revisions

Explore the maps created by your colleagues and identify any terms that relate to your core concept.  Add these terms to your concept map in the database. Also review the resources for your organization and add any related topics in the database they also serve to illustrate that you hadn’t previously identified.


6.      Revise and relate topics to each other.

Using your concept map as a reference, for each of the topics that you initially identified, identify the other topics that most closely relate to it and help you to understand it.  Identify these related topics in each topic entry in the database.


7.      Add your organization to the database.

Add an entry that captures the central mission or vision of your organization.  This can be copied from their website or resources, but make sure it credits and links to the source.  Looking at the core concepts and related topics in your maps and those of your colleagues, identify the primary concepts that your organization best illustrates.


8.      Get feedback from your organization.

Invite your organization to explore the database and review the content associated with them.  If they are satisfied, encourage them to surf their community using the database and look for any potential relationships that might evolve based on an idea held in common.

Ask your organization to send your team a brief note confirming your collaboration and their approval of the results.


CSP Project Partners


Businesses & Business Alliances

PolyKarmic (industrial/commercial recycling)

Goshen Farmers Market (venue for local farm products to be sold)

Maple City Market (co-operative food market)

Everence (socially responsible finance/investment)       


Social Equity Organizations

Goshen Boys & Girls Club (children & youth programs; neighborhood gardens)

LaCasa (improving housing and family stability)

Maple City Health Care Center  (community building around health issues)


Environmental Organizations

Merry Lea Sustainable Farm (GC’s growing small-scale farm)           

Elkhart River Restoration Association (focuses on improving health of the Elkhart)

Goshen Bike Trails & Assessment (increases bikeability of Goshen)

Goshen Tree Inventory & Forestry Initiatives             (Goshen City Forestry efforts)