Resource of the Week: The importance of storytelling in science

Resource of the Week: The importance of storytelling in science

Numerous articles, resources, podcasts, and whole ventures (e.g., StoryCorps; The Moth) address key aspects of narrative and storytelling that are valuable (even essential) for sharing science. See the following articles for a few we find particularly helpful, insightful, or thought-provoking. These resources may change how you do things and/or provide you with useful citations toRead more about Resource of the Week: The importance of storytelling in science[…]

Member Highlight: New Publishing opportunity as The Bulletin of ESA launches “Communicating Science” section

Member Highlight: New Publishing opportunity as The Bulletin of ESA launches “Communicating Science” section

Effective November 2018, The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America will accept submissions for consideration in a new section dedicated to Communicating Science. All articles published in the series are free to publish and freely available via open access. This new space in the journal provides ESA members interested in communication and engagement aRead more about Member Highlight: New Publishing opportunity as The Bulletin of ESA launches “Communicating Science” section[…]

Member Highlight: New Articles on Role of National Parks in History of Ecology & More

Member Highlight: New Articles on Role of National Parks in History of Ecology & More

New Web Articles on National Parks in the History of Science National parks in the United States have hosted some of the most significant and influential research projects in ecology and other fields. Many of those studies have launched new lines of inquiry, revealed new taxa, informed foundational ideas in a variety of disciplines, providedRead more about Member Highlight: New Articles on Role of National Parks in History of Ecology & More[…]

#MySciComm: Johanna Varner on the personal interactions that make a big difference

#MySciComm: Johanna Varner on the personal interactions that make a big difference

This week, Johanna “Pika Jo” Varner responds to the #MySciComm questions! We’re thrilled to share her story with you, not least because she was the originator and on-going inspiration for our annual #SketchYourScience activity at the C&E Section booth at annual meetings.

Smiling woman sitting on lichen-covered rocks; clearly in high-alpine environment (snow-covered mountain peaks visible in background)
Johanna Varner is an ecologist who studies how alpine mammals cope with changing climate conditions. She has developed several citizen science initiatives to engage the public in helping to monitor the status and distribution of pikas in both Utah and Oregon (photo courtesy of T. Walla)

 

Johanna Varner is an ecologist who studies how climate change affects pikas, small mammals closely related to rabbits. She is currently an assistant professor of biology at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO, but her path to ecology was far from linear. Over the course of her transformation from a MIT bioengineer to an organic farmer to a pika ecologist, she became passionate about SciComm, teaching, and including citizen scientists in her research. One group of students nicknamed her “Pika Jo”, a name which she has embraced for her SciComm work. Along the way, she discovered that her personal obsession with pikas is actually ideal for engaging people in the local effects of climate change. She was recently honored for her diverse contributions to SciComm with the AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement in Science. Follow her on twitter @johannavarner.

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Okay, Pika Jo…

1) How did you get into the kind of SciComm that you do?

I actually started out as a bioengineer.

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#MySciComm: Diogo Veríssimo on how to market good news about the natural word

#MySciComm: Diogo Veríssimo on how to market good news about the natural word

This week, Diogo Veríssimo updates his responses to the #MySciComm questions! 

Man smiling at camera
Photo by Laure Cugnière

Diogo is a biologist turned scientist turned marketer! He decided that he could have the cake and eat it, and so focused his research on the fledgling field of conservation marketing, the use of marketing theory and techniques to help promoted biodiversity-friendly behaviors. He is currently an Oxford Martin Fellow, based at the University of Oxford, UK, working primarily on the design and evaluation of behaviour change interventions focused on the illegal wildlife trade. Connect with him online at www.diogoverissimo.com and @verissimodiogo.

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Okay, Diogo…

1) How did you get into the kind of SciComm that you do?

Everyone likes a good story.

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#MySciComm: Tatiana Eaves on making the jump from science to science writing and editing

#MySciComm: Tatiana Eaves on making the jump from science to science writing and editing

This week, Tatiana Eaves responds to the #MySciComm questions! 

Young black woman outdoors - looking at the camera, and holding a camera
Tatiana Eaves hiking through the Appalachian Mountains in Boone, NC, taking photographs for a news article. Photograph taken by Katelyn Cartwright.

Tatiana is a biologist, photographer, and freelance science writer living in the Washington D.C. metro area. She received her undergraduate degree in Biology, with a concentration on ecology and evolution, from Appalachian State University and minored in Geographic Information Systems. She currently writes for Ricochet Science and the Ecological Society of America’s Journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, while simultaneously working as a web designer/editor/writer for the Refugia Research Coalition, managed by the U.S. Geological Survey. Connect with Tatiana on her online portfolio and @EcologistSays

The #MySciComm series features a host of SciComm professionals. We’re looking for more contributors, so please get in touch if you’d like to write a post!

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Okay, Tatiana…

1) How did you get into the kind of SciComm that you do?

I always knew I wanted to be a scientist, I just didn’t know what kind.

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#MySciComm: Becky Barak on how Teaching High School and Loving Plants led to a Research Career

#MySciComm: Becky Barak on how Teaching High School and Loving Plants led to a Research Career

This week, Becky Barak responds to the #MySciComm questions! Becky is a co-founder of Plant Love Stories, which we will be featuring at the Communication and Engagement Section’s booth* during ESA 2018! Please visit us to share your Plant Love Story! Read more about #MySciComm: Becky Barak on how Teaching High School and Loving Plants led to a Research Career

SciComm Lit Review: Josh Silberg reviews “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating”

SciComm Lit Review: Josh Silberg reviews “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating”

“In many ways, Alan Alda represents an archetype of one type of audience member that people try to reach with their science communications. He is a non-expert. He’s interested in a range of scientific topics from health to psychology to ecology. He is exceptionally curious. If this sounds like one of your regular target audiences, then this book is for you.” ~J. Silberg

 

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What is the reviewer’s motive (expertise, curiosity, sharing lessons learned, etc.) and perspective (research scientist, educator, science communicator, etc.)? 

I’ve researched everything from humpback whales to whale sharks to rockfish—I just couldn’t decide on one creature to study. So I set out to find a career where no two days are alike. [Editor’s note: read Josh’s #MySciComm post for loads of details about how he found that career, in #scicomm.] Now, I’m the Science Communications Coordinator for the Hakai Institute—a British Columbia-based research institution where intrepid scientists from a variety of fields study the coast from the icefields down to the oceans. I help scientists at the Institute communicate coastal science stories through blogs, videos, infographics, and the occasional poem.

I’m fascinated by strategies that can be used to teach communication skills to scientists of all career stages. I’ve found that many scientists are keen to improve their ability to connect with diverse audiences both inside and outside their field of study, but they often don’t know where to start.

Who can benefit from reading and referencing this SciComm Lit (researchers, reporters, science communicators, educators, students, etc.)? 

Alan Alda’s book is especially useful for scientists, educators, science communicators, and students who are ruminating about how to better relate their science to a specific audience. It’s easy to try to reinvent the wheel, especially if we don’t regularly interact with people from other professional backgrounds. We can forget that other disciplines—in this case, acting and improv—offer valuable insight into our own fields. Read more about SciComm Lit Review: Josh Silberg reviews “If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating”