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Amber M. Lively

Executive Director, Founder

Amber has always had a passion for the environment.  Growing up in the rural Midwest, she spent much of her time outdoors and became involved in efforts to improve air and water quality at an early age.  As a teenager, she  first began advocating for clean air legislation and served on a state-wide Executive Council for youth advocacy and education.  Her passion for educating and inspiring others to take action has extended throughout her life.  She has written several articles for Sustainability and Climate Action newsletters, actively participates in conservation education efforts, and serves as an adjunct Lecturer for Johns Hopkins University's graduate Sustainability Leadership course.  She takes inspiration from local leaders in the community who are creating innovative approaches toward complex environmental solutions.


"Sioux Falls has the potential to be a leader for innovative, sustainable solutions in the Midwest and Plains states.  There is incredible work being done in our community, and I am excited for the opportunity to shine a light on the organizations and innovative actions happening in our community."

Amber studied Political Science at the University of Iowa, and following her service in the National Guard, she received a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Science (environmental science/communications) from South Dakota State University.  Amber focused her undergraduate thesis on communicating drivers of land use and land cover change.  She holds a Master of Science from Johns Hopkins University in Environmental Science and Policy and a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  Amber completed a residential study in sustainability leadership in Costa Rica and works to encourage sustainable actions and resource conservation in our community.

She previously served on the foundational working group for SoDak 350, as Chapter President for Graduate Women in Science, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Friends of the Big Sioux River.  Her work experience includes resource mapping (GIS), grants writing, sustainability consultation, and project management.  She currently works for the Big Sioux River Project as a Watershed Education and Outreach Coordinator and Watershed Project Manager.

" can either be overwhelmed by the complexity of the problem, or fall in love with the creativity of the solutions"

-Mary Annaïse Heglar

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