If you encounter issues loading this site, please refresh the page by using Ctrl + F5 if on Windows or Cmd + Shift + R if on Mac.

Adult Opportunities

Hot Topics and Urban Trees: Resiliency in the Face of Urban Heat Island and Climate Change

Learn about climate change and the urban heat island effect from CRTI partner experts

Content Detail

Join the Chicago Region Tree Initiative (CRTI) and The Morton Arboretum in learning about the challenges of addressing Climate Change and Urban Heat Island Effect.

You’ll hear from esteemed Keynote speakers Dr. Vivek Shandas, professor at Portland State University, and founder and director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR); and Tanner Yess, Co-Executive Director at Groundwork Ohio River Valley, who will discuss what organizations are doing to address the challenges presented by climate change. Plus, a panel of local experts will share research, planning, and action taking place in the Chicago region.

This special event will also celebrate local urban forestry heroes who work tirelessly to tackle these challenges in their own communities. An award ceremony honoring them will take place at the end of the evening.


  • Raed Mansour, City of Chicago Department of Public Health
  • Christy Rollinson, PhD, Forest Ecologist at The Morton Arboretum
  • Mayor Kevin Burns, Geneva, Illinois, Chairperson of Metropolitan Mayors Caucus Environment Committee
  • Ashish Sharma, PhD, Climate and Urban Sustainability Lead at Argonne National Laboratory and Integrated Urban Climate Research Group

Age: 16 and older


Keynote Speakers

Dr. Vivek Shandas, professor at Portland State University; founder and director of the Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR)

Vivek Shandas is a Professor of Climate Adaptation at Portland State University, and a Principal at CAPA Strategies, a global climate consulting firm. His teaching and research examine the pathways of exposure to climate-induced events and the role of planning policies in addressing social justice. As a climate consultant, he works at the intersection of collaborative climate action, high-resolution descriptions of landscapes, and improving environmental health.

Shandas has published more than 100 articles, four books, and his research has been featured in the NYTimes, National Geographic, Scientific American, Le Monde, Times of India, and other national and international media. He serves as Chair of the City of Portland’s Urban Forestry Commission, technical reviewer for Federal and State agencies, and a board member on several non-profit organizations. In his spare time, he revels in the mountains and waters of the Pacific Northwest and pines for wood-fired pizza anywhere he can find it.

Tanner Yess, co-executive director at Groundwork Ohio River Valley

Tanner Yess was raised by scientists and grew up paddling, biking, and hiking. After earning a degree in ecology, he worked on a fishing vessel in the Bering Sea. His Peace Corps service involved resource management and eco-tourism. During graduate school, Yess helped form Greater Cincinnati’s Tri-State Trails Coalition. He is a National Park Service Mountains to Main Street Ambassador; SHIFT Emerging Leader; and recipient of the 2018 Murie Center Rising Leader Award. As a co-founder of Groundwork Ohio River Valley, Yess has led the creation of one of the nation’s largest youth green workforce programs and brought Climate Safe Neighborhoods to Cincinnati. Yess’s passion is creating new pathways for diverse youth to access green careers.

What to Know

  • Held indoors
  • Hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided


Program Schedule

February 9, 2023

6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Awards will be presented at the end of the evening to local urban forestry heroes.

Advance registration required. Donations to CRTI’s Tree Bank will be welcomed.


Your support is vital to the Arboretum, where the power of trees makes a positive impact on people’s lives.

Make a gift