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March 13, 2014

The poetry and art of Alexander von Humboldt

‘Scientists who made a difference‘ series This blog accompanies the biographical sketch of Alexander von Humboldt that Bill Nuttle recently posted provides a selection of his writings as poetry and one of his scientific sketches as art. The ‘Poetry’ uses von Humboldt’s exact words (translated from German) in prose form to focus on cadence and […]

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March 4, 2014

New Insights report: Converting geeky science into understandable stories

In collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Program and US Geological Survey (USGS), we released a report entitled “New Insights: Science-based evidence of water quality improvements, challenges, and opportunities in the Chesapeake“. The release was conducted at the Chesapeake Bay Program in Annapolis on 25 February 2014 . We produced a 52 pp. full color report […]

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November 19, 2013

Discussing science communication at CERF2013

We had a large contingent of IAN folks attend the 22nd Biennial Conference of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation conference in San Diego, California. The conference was titled “Toward resilient coasts and estuaries, science for sustainable solutions”. Bill Nuttle, Health Kelsey, Caroline Wicks and I co-chaired a session “Science communication strategies for ecosystem-based management”. […]

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November 7, 2013

Calculating a Lake Health Index for the Great Lakes

A State of the Great Lakes is produced periodically by Environment Canada and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the most recent assessment (2011), there are various classes of indicators that are used: water quality, aquatic-dependent life, landscapes & natural processes and swimming, fishing & drinking features. The water quality indicators include a) water column […]

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November 5, 2013

Science communication and integration with Environment Canada

Along with Caroline Wicks and Alex Fries, I traveled to Toronto, Canada for a three day workshop with Environment Canada. We also met up with Bill Nuttle, who took a train down from Ottawa. We conducted a science communication and integration workshop with various Environment Canada staff based in the Toronto area. The Canadian weather […]

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October 29, 2013

Science Communication vs. Science Writing: Different audiences and different styles

I recently received a copy of “Louisiana’s 2012 Coastal Master Plan Technical Analysis, which is Special Issue #67 of the Journal of Coastal Research, co-edited by Natalie Peyronnin and Denise Reed. This 161 page issue has 10 scientific papers which describe the scientific and technical basis that underpins the Louisiana’s Comprehensive Master Plan for a […]

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October 24, 2013

Symbols: A universal and effective technique for communication

The use of symbols in the various conceptual diagrams that the Integration and Application Network staff have been employing as part of science communication taps an ancient and effective communication technique. Symbols are universal, transcending cultural and language barriers, as demonstrated by the global adoption of the IAN symbol libraries. I recently experienced two examples […]

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September 5, 2013

Converting from passive to active learning

There are many different forms of education and just as many different ways to categorize different forms of education. We have chosen a fairly simplistic three category scheme; formal education, self-guided education and public education. What we mean by formal education is the education provided through schools and universities. This form of education has historically […]

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August 13, 2013

Top ten science communication booklets

Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction plan: Executive summary This 20 page booklet was produced in 2013 for the Maryland Department of Environment to summarize a long (300+ pp.) and detailed Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan. The short, bold statements that are highlighted at the beginning of the booklet are very powerful: “Climate change is real. Scientists agree. […]

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July 30, 2013

Maryland Climate Change Summit

Several hundred people gathered at the Maritime Institute conference facility in Baltimore for the Maryland Climate Change Summit on July 25. The Summit was kicked off with a talk by Governor Martin O’Malley to a standing room only audience.

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