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The USGS Climate Adaptation Science Centers are thrilled to announce that Dr. Olivia LeDee will be the new Regional Administrator of the Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center. In this position (formerly known as “Director”), Olivia will lead the network’s newest center as they continue to develop climate adaptation science and partnerships in the Midwest region.

Olivia LeDee leaning against a tree in a sunlit forest
Photograph of Olivia LeDee.

Olivia joined the CASC network in 2016 as Deputy Director of the Northeast CASC and has been Acting Director of the Midwest CASC since its inception in 2021. She has played a pivotal role in establishing the fledgling center, including navigating leadership interest in the center and spearheading efforts to identify regional research priorities.  

“I’m excited that we are the new kid on the block,” Olivia says. “We get to learn from others, but also establish our own identity.” 

Olivia brings a deep background in climate adaptation science, not just with the CASCs, but also through experience in academic and management settings across the Northeast and Midwest. 

“I’ve worked in climate change from an NGO, academic, state, and federal perspective. I’ve been a scientist, policymaker, and administrator. Having sat in multiple seats, it helps you identify things that are likely to move forward with broad support.” 

Although raised in Louisiana, Olivia has lived off and on in the Midwest since attending the University of Minnesota Twin Cities for graduate school. She loves living in Minnesota (despite the cold winters) and has a deep appreciation for the diverse landscapes and cultures across the region. 

“It’s a great place to work,” she says. “The public has a lot of interest in the outdoors and there is strong attention to natural resource management.”  

When she isn’t working, Olivia likes to travel, practice her Spanish and French, and cook authentic Louisiana cuisine. She makes a mean gumbo, but don’t ask her for a recipe – it's completely based on sight, taste, and a palette developed from childhood.  

Map showing Midwest CASC state footprint and consortium, described in image caption.
Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center regional footprint and consortium. The Midwest CASC serves Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. The Midwest consortium is hosted by the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and includes the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Michigan State University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University, University of Minnesota Duluth, College of Menominee Nation, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and The Nature Conservancy.


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