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On January 20-22, Caroline Donovan, Jane Thomas, Heath Kelsey and Bill Nuttle facilitated a workshop in Palm Bay, FL to develop the Indian River Lagoon Report Card. Partnering with the Marine Resources Council, about 50 scientists, conservationists, and managers attended the workshop to begin the report card process. Indian River Lagoon is 150 miles long, one of the most bio-diverse estuaries in North America, and spans the transition from tropical to temperate climate regions. But the estuary has had severe problems with harmful algal blooms, seagrass die-off, and dolphin and manatee mortality. Therefore, restoration and management activities are clearly necessary. The report card process begins to identify overall health, and tracks progress related to specific goals.
The Integration and Application Network (IAN) is offering a new science communication course this year. This semester-long course in Science Visualization will be taught through UMCES as a MEES course by Dr. Bill Dennison, and science communicators at IAN. This hands-on course will teach students data visualization techniques and allow them to build a portfolio of graphs, photographs, conceptual diagrams, and maps, to be used in reports, posters, and oral presentations. The course started January 28th with an introduction to Science Visualization. There is still space available for people who are interested in signing up.
In 2013, the Integration and Application Network, began a project with OpinionWorks that focused on Marylanders' behaviors (known as best management practices) around their home, yard, farm fields, and commercial buildings. In 2015, the survey focused on residential homeowners and the behaviors they practiced around their yards. The results from two years of surveying show that Marylanders are performing some best management practices (like installing rain barrels and only fertilizing lawns in the fall), but that more can always be established. The likelihood of the adoption of these behaviors in the future are also explored. Our hope is that the online survey can be used by others to help target the key behaviors needed in individual neighborhoods, communities, and counties.
Ben is very excited to join IAN as a Science Communication Intern. He received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Biology & Management from the University of California, Davis and has worked in marine policy advocacy, environmental education, and community-based coral reef management. Ben taught tropical marine ecology to school groups in the Florida Keys, and later worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to develop a comprehensive management plan for the Florida Reef Tract. He will be assisting with the development of a pilot report card for the Florida Reef Tract, and helping conduct Natural Resource Condition Assessments for national parks. Ben is an outdoor enthusiast and when he isn't walking his dog, Willy, you can find him hiking in search of elevation on Maryland's eastern shore, kayaking, surfing or scuba diving.
- Chesapeake Biological Laboratory's weekly Distinguished Scholars Seminar Series will feature Heath Kelsey. His seminar is titled "The Mississippi River Watershed Report Card: Integrating Social and Economic Information into a Holistic Assessment" and will take place on February 10 at 3:30 pm in Bernie Fowler Lab building, room 1101.
- IAN's Heath Kelsey and Bill Dennison will be attending the EcoHealth Metrics Workshop at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, Texas on March 8-11. The workshop will begin the process of identifying indicators to evaluate ecosystem health in the Texas Gulf Coast. To see more information on this project, click here.
- America's Watershed Initiative plans to present the findings of the Mississippi River Watershed Report Card to the Council on Environmental Quality and the Congressional Mississippi River Caucus in early March.
Further information: www.ian.umces.edu