Dr. Gretel Follingstad is a Senior Community Resilience Planner with specializations in Water and Land Use planning, and applying resilience strategies to address climate change impacts and inequities. As an early adopter of resilience thinking, Gretel’s professional praxis, scholarly research, and publications focus on the necessity and urgency of an equitable approach to climate action and resilience planning. One of the key elements of her tenure as a professional resilience planner is an emphasis on linking natural resource sustainability with the community planning processes. Gretel has worked with and for government agencies and private organizations in project management, public outreach, public speaking, and professional facilitation. Gretel has specialized experience in applying land use strategies for growth management and hazard mitigation; drought planning, mitigation and response; watershed restoration; water demand forecast modeling; collaborative policy solutions; and geospatial analysis/modeling (GIS).
Gretel holds a PhD in Geography Planning and Design from the University of Colorado, Denver, where her doctoral research focused on building water resilience for drought prone, rapidly growing communities under the pressures of climate change. In addition to her PhD, Gretel holds a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico, a Bachelor of Business Administration in International Management and Latin American Studies, and a Certificate in Science and Technology Policy from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Dr. Follingstad currently serves as the Climate Adaptive Drought Planning Lead and the Intermountain West Drought Early Warming System manager for NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). Before joining the NIDIS team Gretel was an Assistant Professor in Climate Action Planning at Western Colorado University and continues as an Instructor for University of Colorado, Boulder’s Masters of the Environment Program (MENV).
Gretel is a native New Mexican, fluent in Spanish and loves spending time outdoors skiing, biking, kayaking and visiting her family cabin in New Mexico.