Originally from Marion, IN, Melinda attended Manchester University and graduated Cum laude in 2014 with a B.S. in Social Work with a minor in Gerontology.
She was Director of Manchester University’s Koinonia Environmental Center from 2006 to 2018. She also was Director of the Garber Simmons Senior Center in North Manchester, IN from 2014-2017.
Together with her husband Jerry they founded ECI.
They reside in Denver, IN
Dr. Sweeten is originally from Kokomo, Indiana and his life-long passion for the outdoors and aquatic ecosystems was nurtured along the shores of Bruce Lake in Fulton County where his grandfather had a small fishing cabin. After graduating from Manchester College in 1975 with a degree in Biology and Environmental Studies, he worked for the State Department of Education in Environmental Education, taught science in Attica Schools and was Director of the Asherwood Environmental Science Center in Wabash County and owned by Marion Community Schools for 25-years. He earned a Masters in Natural Resources from Ball State University, and a Ph.D. from Purdue University where he studied the effects of suspended sediment on the early life stages of young fish and worked on one of the earliest research initiatives that quantified nutrient and sediment loads from agricultural nonpoint sources. From 2004-2018 Dr. Sweeten was Professor of Biology and Director of Environmental Studies at Manchester College and was awarded Emeritus status at retirement. During his tenure, the Environmental Studies Program grew from six students in 2004 to 55 in 2015. Students were engaged in ecological restoration research across the Eel River watershed. Over $2,000,000 in grants was obtained to complete research that dealt with farmers to reduce nonpoint source pollution, fish and mussels, prototype fish ladder, augmentation of a state endangered fish (Redside Dace), reintroduction of a federally endangered mussel (clubshell) to the Eel River among many others. Dr. Sweeten along with Melinda led numerous travel courses to Alaska and Andros Island, Bahamas. After retirement 2018, Dr. Sweeten along with his wife, Melinda, and Herb Manifold founded Ecosystems Connections Institute, LLC. Achievement recognition includes: Professor of the year, Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching, Indiana Distinguished Citizen, Environmental Stewardship Award: Manchester University, Distinguished Alumni Award, Ball State University, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and Outstanding Research, Indiana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
Herb Manifold MS - Senior Ecologist
Kyle Boone MS - Ecologist
Kyle Boone was raised in North Manchester, Indiana. He attended Manchester Public Schools and is a graduate of Manchester High School. Kyle continued his education at Manchester University where he graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Natural History of Environmental Science and Biology. Kyle worked as an intern in Dr. Sweeten’s lab during the summers of 2011 and 2012 where he led a project researching smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) nesting and year class strength and its relationship with total suspended solids (TSS) in the Eel River, Indiana. In the summer of 2013, Kyle worked in the Pacific Northwest for the United State Forest Service, PACFISH/INFISH Biological Opinion (PIBO) program as a Stream Technician. After graduating from Manchester University, Kyle went to Central Michigan University (CMU) to earn his Master of Science in Conservation Biology. While at CMU, Kyle continued his research on the effects of TSS on smallmouth bass recruitment in the Eel River and created a Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model for the Eel River to estimate past and project future TSS concentrations. After his graduation from CMU in 2016, Kyle worked at the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Department of Natural Resources as the Environmental Specialist. While with the Pokagon Band, Kyle led the effort for the tribe to receive Treatment in a Similar Manner as a State (TAS) status from EPA for the Clean Water Act 319 program. Receiving TAS status allows the Pokagon Band to receive annual funding to build a nonpoint source pollution program. Kyle also received funding for and led projects on climate change adaptation and utilizing air sensors to evaluate ambient air quality on Pokagon Band lands. Kyle joined the ECI team in 2022.
James is a Qualified Professional Architectural Historian/Historian-Principal Investigator and an archaeologist. He has 24years of experience in cultural resource management, conducting historic structures and archaeological surveys and reports, along with documenting the Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) process. He has consulted for clients involving local public agencies, state agencies, federal agencies, and private industries. He is experienced with assessing and mitigating the risk of impacting cultural resources in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). James’ experience includes a wide range of energy, communication, and transportation projects, including coal, pipeline, utility, cell towers, roadway, railway, trail, bridge, and small structures and culvert surveys, conducted throughout Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia. James’ professional focus is on historic documentation, research, and historical archaeology. For the last seven years, James has been an expert in Historic Dam Documentation and Removal projects and has helped pioneer the process for Section 106 documentation for dam removals in the Midwest. He has been documenting and removing dams since 2017, with more than a dozen dams documented and removed so far.