New Frontiers in Eco-Communication

Today in the Hyatt hallway, I passed a colleague with an imposing nametag terraced by four colors of ribbon. He is an ESA donor, a moderator, and two other things I can’t recall (possibly a juggler).

This year my nametag has a ribbon, too.

It’s a regular reminder that even though scicomm workshop 15 is done, my duty to communicate ecology’s stories remains.

The media label has a storied root – medium: an artistic material or form; the happy state between two extremes; the substrate where organisms grow in a lab.

It feels like an encouragement to explore new forms of expression: to try, for example, sketching conference notes as illustrations – a departure from my usual writerly toolkit.

Notes from COS 45 – Ecosystem Services Assessment – by Clarisse Hart

WK15 contributor Perrin Ireland, who inspired many of us to try illustration this week, is documenting ESA talks in her polished and shareable way:

And the trend is catching on:

Illustration by WK15 contributor Ben Landis (@younglandis)

WK15 drawing section lead, Bethann G. Merkle (@commnatural) has collected a lot of the sketches from our workshop in a blog post on Illustrating Ecology…conferences, that is.

Some of the sketches in that compilation foreshadow a project WK15 participants from the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI) have initiated. These scientist scicommers have launched a Twitter media blitz, with mountain research ecologists describing their work in illustrations, photos, and creative writing. Follow it here, and we’ll highlight the full story later in the week.

Want to Join the Fun?

Tonight from 6:30 to 8pm, we’re hosting a SciComm Innovation Lab Mixer in Convention Ctr room 202 (thanks, ESA!). There, we’ll share and troubleshoot projects, and (re)connect with new and old scicomm colleagues to talk shop and dream up new ideas.

Everyone is invited – new and seasoned scicommers alike (this means you!). Those who still have the energy can follow the event with dinner and drinks.

It’s no coincidence we’re hosting this mixer now. 

There is an exciting scicomm undercurrent at this year’s conference:

The petition for a new ESA section dedicated to scicomm nearly has the requisite 50 signatures.

WK15 participants and other ESA-goers are exploring their own penchants for innovative scicomm. We’ve read abstract-inspired poetry, had glimpses into notebooks overflowing with drawings, spotted social media discussions about art in science (#sciart), and seen slides using researchers’ sketches to convey key points.

If you’re interested in exploring the eco-comm frontier, join us tonight or get in touch.

Missed WK 15?


**This post is cross-posted on ESA’s EcoTone blog, along with lots of other ‘SciComm by scientists’ generated by our workshop.

This post is by Clarisse Hart, a member of the “Eco Comm Crew” behind the “Beyond the Written Word” science communication workshop (#15) delivered at ESA’s 2014 Annual Meeting in Sacramento.