April 24, 2017

Jane Thomas, Science Communicator Extraordinaire, heading Down Under

Jane (Jano) Thomas was a member of our Marine Botany Group at the University of Queensland. After I left Australia to set up the Integration and Application Network at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in 2002, Jano stayed in Brisbane to finish her Honours thesis on macroalgae. Jano then joined the IAN team in 2003, doubling the staff size, as only Tim Carruthers, who came from Australia with me in 2002 was in residence. Adrian Jones and Tracey Saxby also began working remotely for IAN as the Webmaster and Science Communicator, respectively.

We are saying goodbye to Jane “Jano” Thomas, one of our founding members.

Jano pioneered several aspects of IAN activities. Jano was the first IAN Science Communicator who began the tradition of traveling to different locations to work with a diversity of partners to produce science communication products. Jano also began the regular science communication training that IAN conducts in various locations. She spearheaded the first IAN produced book, ‘Communicating Science Effectively: A Practical Handbook for Integrating Visual Elements‘, published in 2006 by the International Water Association. The other thing that Jano did was to inadvertently recruit several Science Communicators. Caroline Donovan, a graduate student at Horn Point Laboratory, was Jano’s housemate who became a Science Communicator with the EcoCheck partnership between IAN and NOAA. Brianne Walsh, another graduate student at Horn Point Laboratory, was also Jano’s housemate and is a Science Communicator with IAN. Jeremy Testa was a housemate as well, and his wife Jamie Testa is a Science Communicator with IAN.

Jano was instrumental in the release of many of our report cards and our science communication courses.

Jano was the driving force for producing ‘Shifting Sands: Environmental and cultural change in Maryland’s Coastal Bays‘. This was the first book published by IAN Press in 2009, which allows us to produce multi-authored inexpensive books using extensive color visual graphics. Jano also pioneered the production of IAN booklets, initiated with the publication of the 48 pp. booklet ‘State of the Maryland Coastal Bays 2004‘. A previous blog acknowledged Jano’s considerable contributions to the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.

The celebratory cake at the release of ‘Shifting Sands: Environmental and cultural change in Maryland’s Coastal Bays.’

Jano helped set up our Annapolis Synthesis Center, a progenitor to the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center. She spent a year commuting from Cambridge to Annapolis and we were able to establish an IAN presence in Annapolis which has flourished. Jano returned to working at the IAN building on the Horn Point Laboratory campus, and now there are several Science Communicators at the UMCES Annapolis Office.

Jano and the team in our old Annapolis office.

I made some iconic trips with Jano. One memorable trip was with Jano and Ben Longstaff to Palau to work with the Palau Conservation Society. We went on some spectacular field trips, including diving with sharks and in caves and snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake. We enjoyed the Palauan culture, with the Micronesian storyboards serving as the original conceptual diagrams. We also traveled to Bangkok, Thailand to teach a Science Communication course to a broad diversity of students from each coastal country from Japan to Pakistan. This course was sponsored by the Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone (LOICZ) program. There was a simultaneous science management workshop in Bangkok organized by Dave Nemazie with Tim Carruthers and Ben Longstaff from IAN. Jano, Heath Kelsey and I facilitated a workshop in Fiji, working with Tim Carruthers who had joined the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP).

Jano diving in Palau.

In addition to iconic trips, we made many trips together to Australia for various projects, including the Great Barrier Reef report card. Jano also participated in many iterations of the annual International Riversymposium. Jano and I began interviewing the Thiess International Riverprize winners so that we could accumulate their success stories and lessons learned. This stimulated the production of the book River Journeys, now on the fourth iteration.

Jano flying on one of her many trips.

Jano and her husband Dave Loewensteiner are moving to Darwin to join Charles Darwin University, where Jano will be a Science Communicator with the Northern Australia Environmental Research Portal. She will be working with Michael ‘Dougo’ Douglas, a freshwater ecologist who we got to know when he and his wife Samantha Setterfield spent part of their sabbatical with IAN. Jano is looking forward to being back in Australia and to the adventure of living in the far north. We are reminding Jano and Dave that they are not at the top of the food chain in northern Australia. There are plenty of animals that can kill you and even eat you there.

Jano and her husband Dave are moving to Darwin. They will be greatly missed.

We put together a book of photographs from various activities that Jano was involved with in her tenure at IAN. We presented her the book and did a sing-a-long of two Australian songs that we adapted for Jano. One song was ‘Waltzing Miss Jano’, adapted from the Australian icon Banjo Paterson’sWaltzing Matilda”. It turned out that most of the non-Australian IAN staff were unfamiliar with this song. They were, however, familiar with the version of Men at Work‘s ‘Down Under‘, which was also adapted for Jano. The lyrics to these songs are as follows:

Jano and most of the IAN team.

Waltzing Miss Jano

to the tune of ‘Waltzing Matilda’

14 April 2017

William C. Dennison

Once a jolly Loewensteiner worked on the Chesapeake
Under the shade of a sycamore tree
He sang as he watched and waited ’till Jano he did see
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me

Waltzing Miss Jano, Waltzing Miss Jano
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me

Along came this sheila from across the Bay
Up jumped the Loewensteiner and grabbed her with glee
He sang as he shoved that Solomons life into history
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me

Waltzing Miss Jano, Waltzing Miss Jano
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me

They went off and got themselves hitched in Maui
Just as simple as one, two, three
Then they settled down in here in Cambridge
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me

Waltzing Miss Jano, Waltzing Miss Jano
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me

But then adventure called and they packed up their bags
We’re heading down under, she said
And now when you pass by the bathhouse, this is what you’ll hear
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me

Waltzing Miss Jano, Waltzing Miss Jano
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me
And now when you pass by the bathhouse, this is what you’ll hear
You’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me
Oh, you’ll come a-Waltzing Miss Jano, with me.

Land Down Unda

to the tune of ‘Land Down Under’

14 April 2017

William C. Dennison

Traveling on the triathelon circuit
On a running trail, often needing a haircut
Dave met a strange lady, she made him nervous
She took him in and gave him breakfast

And she said

Do you know I come from a land down unda?
Where women glow and men plunda ?
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunda ?
You better run, you better take cova

Jano did have her share of medical troubles
But Dave was strong and full of muscles
He said “do you speak-a my language?”
She just smiled and gave him a vegemite sandwich

And he said

I’d like to go to a land down unda
Where beer does flow and men chunda
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunda?
You better run, you better take cova, yeah

So here we are alongside Chesapeake Bay
We’re sort you’re leaving, that’s all we’ll say
You can look around and see your friends are many
So come back to visit from the land of plenty

And we said

Will you come back from a land down unda?
Where women glow and men plunda?
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunda ?
You better run, you better take cova
Living in a land down unda.

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About the author
Dr Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Applications at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.
Website: http://ian.umces.edu/people/Bill_Dennison/
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