CAKE General Questions


What is the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE)?

CAKE is a free, innovative, online resource created to help you navigate the world of climate change adaptation (how we prepare for and respond to climate change). Climate change is dramatically altering and affecting natural systems, human communities, and built environments. Managers, scientists, planners, conservation practitioners, and others are grappling with the realities of climate change in their daily work. CAKE, launched in July 2010, was built to support organizations, agencies, and individuals interested and/or engaged in climate change adaptation by providing a venue for open access information exchange between professionals. The primary goals of CAKE are to:

  • Build an innovative community of practice around climate change adaptation;
  • Facilitate the identification and development of best practices; and
  • Connect practitioners to share knowledge and strategies.

CAKE includes Case Studies of on-the-ground adaptation efforts, a Virtual Library of useful resources to support adaptation action, a Directory of individuals and organizations rich with adaptation knowledge, a Tools section full of useful online resources for adaptation action, and a Community section with an expert advice column and more. CAKE is a useful and effective resource because it presents valuable content on climate change adaptation in an approachable format that enables users to quickly access information and contribute as desired. The ultimate goal of CAKE is to create a living knowledge exchange among a growing, interactive community of people concerned about climate change adaptation.


Why focus on adaptation specifically?

The two approaches to addressing climate change are mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation efforts decrease the rate and extent of climate change through the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions or the enhancement of carbon uptake and storage. Adaptation efforts either minimize the negative effects or exploit potential opportunities of climate change. These are not choices to be weighed against each other – both are necessary responses to the challenge of climate change. However, since climate change has already progressed to the point where some effects are unavoidable, adaptation serves as an insurance policy to protect ourselves and our investments from global impacts. For more information on the basics of climate change and adaptation and links to more information, check out the Don’t Panic page.


Is CAKE a nonprofit?

CAKE is a website founded in 2010 by two non-profit organizations - EcoAdapt and Island Press - and is managed by EcoAdapt.

EcoAdapt is a recognized leader in developing and delivering innovative adaptation concepts and practices. The staff are not only leaders in the science of climate change adaptation, but also experienced with communicating and teaching adaptation techniques and philosophy to the adaptation user community. CAKE is at the core of EcoAdapt’s mission—building the field of climate change adaptation by fostering innovation in conservation, management, and science communities.


Who works on CAKE?:

The core staff members that work on CAKE from day to day are:

Jessica Hitt, CAKE Managing Director

Jessica is a Scientist at EcoAdapt and serves as the CAKE Managing Director. She supports EcoAdapt’s State of Adaptation Program, which supplies the bulk of CAKE’s case studies; develops partnerships for the CAKE website; maintains the Community section; and assists with fundraising and outreach. She is responsible for operations and functionality of the overall website.

Rachel M. Gregg, CAKE Content Director

Rachel is a Lead Scientist at EcoAdapt and serves as the Content Director for CAKE. Her responsibilities include finding and developing case study examples of climate change adaptation through EcoAdapt’s State of Adaptation Program, which are shared on CAKE’s case study database; editing original content that comes into CAKE from users; vetting resources for the Virtual Library and Tools section; answering adaptation-related questions; facilitating and building the CAKE network; and conducting outreach to potential users, partners, and sponsors.

CAKE supporting staff include:


Dr. Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist and Executive Director

Dr. Hansen is one of the key visionaries of CAKE and has been extensively involved in the philosophy and development of the site. Lara is one of CAKE’s adaptation experts and as an Adaptation Maven writes a monthly Advice Column for CAKE users. Lara is also engaged in content vision and development, fundraising, outreach, and partnerships for CAKE and is a co-author of Climate Savvy.

Jessi Kershner, Lead Scientist

As part of EcoAdapt’s State of Adaptation Program, Jessi researches adaptation initiatives, conducts interviews, and writes Case Studies for CAKE. Through these efforts, she also provides content for the Virtual Library, Directory, and Tools sections.

Alex Score, Lead Scientist

As part of EcoAdapt’s State of Adaptation Program, Alex researches adaptation initiatives, conducts interviews, and writes case studies for CAKE. Through these efforts, she also provides content for the Virtual Library, Directory, and Tools sections.

Eric Mielbrecht, Directing Scientist

Eric has been involved with CAKE since its inception and continues to provide guidance and support to the project as needed. He also provides operational support for CAKE at EcoAdapt.

Kirsten Feifel, Consulting Scientist

As a consultant for EcoAdapt, Kirsten supports the State of Adaptation Program and is one of the major contributors of case studies to CAKE. Through these efforts, she also provides content for the Virtual Library, Directory, and Tools sections.

Dr. Jennie Hoffman, Consulting Scientist

Dr. Hoffman is one of CAKE’s adaptation experts and writes a monthly Advice Column for CAKE users as an Adaptation Maven. She is also a co-author of Climate Savvy.


Who supports CAKE?


CAKE is supported by generous grants from the Kresge and Wilburforce foundations. EcoAdapt has received funding from the Wilburforce, Gordon and Betty Moore, and Charles Stewart Mott foundations for its State of Adaptation Program; information collected through this initiative has been shared through CAKE. If you or your organization is interested in helping to fund CAKE, please see our donations page for details.


The CAKE Advisory Committee supports our efforts by providing input and expertise to shape CAKE’s knowledge base, site structure, and broader community of practitioners. The Advisory Committee, along with valuable input from users, guides our thinking as CAKE develops in tandem with the needs of the adaptation field.

Partners and Contributors

CAKE was built in collaboration with the Conservation Biology Institute’s Data Basin Climate Center. The Climate Center provides users with spatial datasets, tools, features, and expertise with relevance to climate change issues. Read more about the Center here.

We are looking to collaborate with other partners to support our goal of advancing the field of climate change adaptation. For more information on our existing partners, please visit our Partners and Contributors page. If you are interested in partnering with CAKE, please contact Jessica Hitt at


Who uses CAKE? How can I search CAKE?

People use CAKE to either find more information about climate change adaptation or share their own experiences. There are many different ways that people can use CAKE; here are some sample user scenarios:

1. I live/work in Boston, MA. What adaptation activities are happening in my area?

Using the map on the homepage, you can zoom into the specific location you are interested in to find case studies, library resources, and directory profiles of individuals and organizations.

2. I’m the manager of a coastal protected area in California and I’m concerned about sea level rise and the potential effects on the species and habitats within my reserve. Are there other people who are struggling with what to do as sea levels rise?

The Directory can be used to identify professionals who work on a particular subject (e.g., sea level rise). If you search for “sea level rise,” you can either view a map of organizations and individuals dealing with sea level rise or simply check out the list of related directory entries below.

3. Everyone keeps recommending that I conduct a vulnerability assessment. What are they and how can I do one?

You can go to the Virtual Library subpage and search for “vulnerability assessments.” The results can be sorted to find background information on these kinds of assessments in the form of more general scientific articles as well as more specific reports that include detailed information about how to conduct a vulnerability assessment from start to finish.

4. We’ve just completed an adaptation plan for our county. Can we publish it on CAKE?

Yes! You can publish your plan in the Virtual Library and then have an accompanying Case Study to share your experience with the broader community.

5. I work for a small NGO in a rural Arctic community. We are interested in finding funding to support our adaptation efforts. Can CAKE help us?

You can always check the Opportunities Forum to find grant information. You can also use the keywords feature on CAKE. For example, if you have been reading the case study on adaptation planning in Paulatuk, you can expand the Project Background and Project Implementation Keywords tabs to find different tags associated with the case study. These keywords link to other pieces on CAKE. For example, by expanding the Background Keywords, you can find out how the project is categorized in terms of habitat or biome type; type of adaptation strategy used; natural resource focus; and target impacts; and by expanding the Implementation Keywords, you can find the timeframe; project effort stage; and funding source.


Why should I use CAKE?

  • Do you think climate change will affect your work or where you live?
  • Do you feel unsure about how to begin incorporating climate change into what you do?
  • Does your work provide valuable information on how climate change will impact systems, species, or people?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then CAKE is the place for you!

CAKE is an innovative resource for people working to manage the natural and built environment in the face of climate change. Whether you are actively engaged in adaptation or new to the concept and exploring ways to incorporate it into your work, CAKE will prove to be an invaluable resource. People who are already part of the CAKE community include conservation biologists, fish and wildlife managers, restoration ecologists, resource and land managers, planners, professors and researchers, policy analysts, and environmental advocates, among others. CAKE aids adaptation information exchange between practitioners throughout the world. By providing an intuitive, easy-to-use georeferenced database of people, projects, tools, and resources related to adaptation, CAKE helps users find the information they need to address climate change and contribute information as desired.


How can I get involved?

There are many ways to join and participate in the CAKE community!

  • Register for an account, create a profile, and sign up for our monthly newsletter Slice of CAKE.
  • Read the Adaptation Mavens’ monthly Advice Column or ask the experts your own question.
  • Submit a Case Study or recommend a Virtual Library item, a Directory entry, or a Tool.
  • Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to stay up to date on what’s going on in the field.
  • Keep up to date with CAKE’s new features by subscribing to RSS feeds for the Case Studies, Virtual Library, Directory, Tools, Opportunities Forum, Advice Column, and Calendar.
  • Comment on and rate items throughout CAKE.
  • Participate in the Discussion Forum.
  • Use the “Share This” function throughout CAKE to spread the word through email and other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Digg, etc.)
  • Create a "favorites" list for your profile page by clicking "Favorite this" on any item in CAKE. This list will help you find your favorite documents and case studies quickly and let others see what you find most useful.
  • Partner with CAKE! Contact Jessica Hitt at
  • Tell your friends and colleagues about CAKE!


How can I donate to CAKE?

If you or your organization is interested in financially supporting CAKE, you can make a donation by clicking here. Philanthropic contributions allow us to maintain this free resource for managing natural and built systems in the face of climate change. Your support enables us to operate CAKE, expand its resources, and provide regular updates.

If you would like more information on making a donation, please contact Jessica Hitt at