In advance of Earth Day, Debbie Palmer, president of the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund (LMEF), and Marianne Peters, director of the Marshall County Recycle Depot, have been named Hoosier Resilience Heros by Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute (ERI).

The Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund works to preserve the lake and its surrounding watershed. Palmer led LMEF through the multi-year reconstruction of a 1500-foot earthen levee, resulting in the restoration of an 80-acre wetland complex. As LMEF president, she works to engage the community on the importance of healthy ecosystems, creating activities for lake visitors, leading environmental-themed courses for K-12 students, organizing a Smithsonian watershed exhibit at the local library, and leading tours of the lake and watershed. Palmer also organized a group of volunteers, dubbed “The Stream Team,” who regularly test the health of tributaries flowing into the lake. Prior to her role at LMEF, Palmer served as the District Coordinator for the Marshall County Soil and Water Conservation District, where she excelled at educating the community on how to be good stewards of the environment.

Marianne Peters from the Marshall County Recycle Depot has steadily moved her community forward on multiple environmental resilience fronts while providing timely, relevant recycling and household hazardous waste disposal resources to county residents. Most recently, Peters is using a grant from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management for a recycling education program called “Transform Tomorrow.” Past efforts include making the Recycle Depot one of the first entities in the county to install solar panels, planting an acre of native plants at the facility to support pollinators and wildlife, and stocking a clean-up trailer for local groups to conduct their own trash clean-up events. Peters has been a vocal advocate for the county to create a composting facility to counter wasteful disposal practices, and in 2023, she received a community foundation grant for a feasibility study. After presenting the findings to county officials, the yard waste facility was approved and is now in the planning stages.

Hoosier Resilience Heroes are individuals and groups committed to ensuring a safe, healthy environment for their families, their neighbors and future generations. This year’s cohort includes professionals and volunteers dedicated to climate change, environmental justice, green infrastructure, and other aspects of environmental protection and resilience.

“Some of our heroes have been working to educate others and address longstanding environmental challenges for decades. Others have taken action more recently,” said ERI Managing Director Sarah Mincey. “They are all part of a growing network of Indiana sustainability champions who recognize our inextricable dependence on natural systems and who are rallying communities to make positive change. Thanks to these individuals, more Hoosiers recognize that a resilient future and a thriving environment go hand in hand.”

To learn more about ERI’s 2024 Hoosier Resilience Heroes go to:

About the Environmental Resilience Institute

Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute connects a broad coalition of government, business, nonprofit, and community leaders to help Indiana and the Midwest better prepare for the challenges of environmental change. Together, we integrate research, education, and community to create environmental resilience and climate solutions—building a more sustainable, equitable, and prosperous future. Learn more at