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Dancing with dugongs (Book) Permanent Link

Having fun and developing a practical philosophy for environmental teaching and research

Oliver PE and Dennison WC

This book is for environmental managers. Physically, our environment gives us everything we need, but then there are things that we just 'want', so as our wants grow, the demands we place on our environment increase even more rapidly. As awareness of these environmental pressures grow, so too do the numbers of people working in environmental fields. People can burn out trying to balance their desire to protect the environment with a wide variety of demands. This book tells the story of Prof. Bill Dennison and Dr. Peter Oliver, two men who have between them spent 60 years of their lives better understanding catchments, waterways, and people and how they interact. It is the result of them sharing stories about their work with each other and having fun doing it. They have recognized that looking after the environment should also be fun, and that there is a real need to reflect individually and with others on the 'how' and 'why' of our work. Articulating such a practical philosophy can help us to do our work better. Bill and Peter have also recognized key lessons in several areas including science communication, empowering communities and working in school and university settings. These lessons are well illustrated in the pages within.



Catoctin Mountain Park Natural Resource Condition Assessment (Report) Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/CATO/NRR—2013/745

Thomas JE, Bell PS, Campbell JP, Costanzo SD, Dennison WC, Donaldson L, Lehman M, Loncosky R, and Nortrup M

Catoctin Mountain Park provides a wealth of natural resource values, largely resulting from the maintenance of forest and wetland habitats. These resources were assessed using the Vital Signs framework. Overall, the natural resoures in Catoctin Mountain Park are in moderate condition but are under threat from surrounding land use, regionally poor air quality, and overpopulation of deer. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of these cold-water, trout-supporting streams, changing forest composition, and affecting exotic species and forest pests and diseases.



Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Natural Resource Condition Assessment (Report) Permanent Link

Natural Resource Report NPS/CHOH/NRR—2014/760

Thomas JE, Campbell JP, Carlstrom B, Carter M, Costanzo SD, Dennison WC, Hitchcock J, Lehman M, Nortrup M, and C. Stubbs C

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park provides a wealth of natural resource values, due to its location spanning four physiographic provinces. These resources were assessed using the Vital Signs framework. Overall, the natural resoures in Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park are in moderate condition but are under threat from surrounding land use, regionally poor air quality, overpopulation of deer, and the recent documentation of the presence of emerald ash borer and white-nose syndrome within the park. Climate change is predicted to negatively affect many of the natural resources of the park, including increasing ozone levels and particle pollution, raising the water temperature of cold-water, trout-supporting streams, changing forest composition, and affecting exotic species and forest pests and diseases.



Ohio River Basin report card workshop newsletter (Newsletter) Permanent Link

The America's Watershed Initiative Report Card project continued with a regional workshop for the Ohio River Basin, held near Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 12–13, 2013. At the workshop, stakeholders and experts from social, economic, and environmental sectors identified easily understood and transparent ways to measure status and trends for the Ohio River Basin in relation to six broad goals. Similar workshops will be convened in each of the four remaining sub-basins and results will be integrated into a report card for the entire Mississippi River Basin.



Upper Mississippi River Sub-Basin report card workshop newsletter (Newsletter) Permanent Link

The America's Watershed Initiative Report Card project began with a regional workshop for the Upper Mississippi River Sub-Basin, held in Moline, Illinois on September 11–12, 2013. At the workshop, stakeholders and experts from social, economic, and environmental sectors identified easily understood and transparent ways to measure status and trends for the Upper Mississippi River Sub-Basin in relation to six broad goals. Similar workshops will be convened in each of the five remaining sub-basins and results will be integrated into a report card for the entire Mississippi River Basin.



Helping your woodland adapt to a changing climate (Newsletter) Permanent Link

Produced in collaboration with Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Your woods are always changing and adapting as they grow and mature, or regrow after a disturbance. Events like storms, droughts, insect and disease outbreaks, or other stressors can damage trees or slow their growth. A changing climate may make your woods more susceptible to the problems these events can cause. Within the last 100 years Maryland has experienced changes in temperature, coastal sea level rise, and rainfall patterns that can have future environmental and economic impacts on woodlands. This newsletter summarizes the steps to take when caring for your forest while helping it adapt to a changing climate. For more information, read the full report.



Maryland's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act Plan (Report) Permanent Link

"Climate change is real. Scientists agree. It's happening now. It's harmful and human-caused. We can make a difference through our actions." In 2009, Governor Martin O’Malley and Maryland’s General Assembly charged the State with developing a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Plan that will reduce greenhouse gases 25 percent by the year 2020. This report provides a detailed overview of Maryland’s Plan, describing Maryland’s vulnerability to climate change and detailing Maryland’s 150-plus Greenhouse Gas Reduction programs and initiatives and their associated benefits.



New Behavior Survey Tackles Seven Key Stewardship Behaviors in Your Watershed (Poster) Permanent Link

Displayed at the Chesapeake Watershed Forum

This poster highlights features of the new behavior change survey by the Integration & Application Network, OpinionWorks, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. We all care about the health of our local creeks and rivers. Small actions by all of us add up to healthier water. Help us understand how to make a bigger impact on the health of the waters by taking the survey online now at baysurvey.org.



Helping your woodland adapt to a changing climate (Report) Permanent Link

As Maryland's climate changes, your woodland may be more susceptible to natural disturbances such as storms, droughts, insect and disease outbreaks, or other stressors that can damage trees or slow their growth. As a good woodland steward, now is the time to make smart environmental and economic decisions, and implement the most effective strategies to help your woodlands adapt to climate change. This guide explains the potential impacts of climate change in Maryland and how they may affect your woodland. Management options are described for each of these climate change impacts to reduce or avoid loss of forest cover, declines in forest productivity, and reductions in the environmental benefits of woodlands.





2012 Chilika Lake ecosystem health report card (Report card) Permanent Link

The World Bank-funded Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project serves to assist the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India, in building national capacity for implementation of a comprehensive coastal management approach, and piloting the integrated coastal zone management approach in states of Gujarat, Odisha, and West Bengal, all with long coastlines and unique biodiversity conditions. Each state has a State Project Management Unit (SPMU), which, for the State of Odisha, the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) has been designated. Chilika Lake, on the Bay of Bengal in the Indian State of Odisha, is rich in natural and cultural beauty, and important to local livelihoods. But, the lagoon is subjected to constant pressures from both natural processes and human activities. This is the first of a proposed series of Chilika Lake Ecosystem Health Report Cards, supported by the CDA and the National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management, Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. The 2012 report card will serve as a baseline to enhance the understanding and management of the Chilika Lake ecosystem for the benefit of all.



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About

"Writing crystallizes thought and thought produces action." Paul J. Meyer

Goals

A goal of IAN Press is to empower scientists to directly communicate their ideas and concepts. Publications from IAN Press are designed to transform the uninterested to interested; the interested to involved and the involved to engaged.

IAN Press products are designed to be examples of good science communication principles, and the hope is that others will employ these principles so that scientific understanding can be disseminated widely as possible. The production of IAN Press communication publications involves experimentation with communication techniques and, as such, provides various ideas for science communication that can be emulated.

The comparisons and contrasts that IAN Press provides on environmental subjects intend to stimulate scientists, managers, practitioners, policy makers, students and other readers to think more broadly and expansively about the region and issues that they face. The extensive use of visual elements accesses a broader cultural diversity as well, which allow for more global perspectives.

The conclusions and recommendations presented in IAN Press publications are crafted to empower actions, plant seeds of ideas and provide justification for people to take appropriate action to find solutions to environmental problems. The conclusions are made as explicit as possible by employing active titles and featuring them prominently (e.g., front section of books or back cover of newsletters).

On costs

IAN Press does not provide author royalties and the design and layout of the publications conducted by a talented team of Science Communicators is underwritten by various grants and contracts. Marketing is limited to the internet and word-of-mouth, also reducing costs. Thus, the price of IAN Press publications is solely to reimburse the actual printing costs entailed. The intent is to provide the broadest possible readership, thus keeping costs as low as possible is paramount. Typically, full color is used, virtually on every page, which does increase print costs, however, the use of color is a key element in providing accessible information to a wide audience and the lack of author royalties or design/layout charges.

Peer review

IAN Press undertakes a rigorous review process by both peer scientists and resource managers. In addition, Integration and Application Network Science Integrators and Science Communicators read, edit and review all aspects of IAN Press publications, including text, conceptual diagrams, photographs, maps, figures and tables. Many IAN Press publications are multi-authored, and each author contributes to the review and editing of the entire publication. This is not the classical peer review system of a limited number of anonymous reviewers working with an editor to recommend changes, rather a larger number of non-anonymous reviewers that develop consensus on each word, visual element and recommendation. The review process is often accelerated by IAN Press to accommodate timely publication.

Authorship

IAN Press attempts to be as authorship inclusive as possible and to provide attribution to each visual element. Authorship is not ranked or ordered, and the credibility of the IAN Press product should be based on the scientific data presented and the collective effort of a multiple of contributors, both with and without formal academic training.

Science Communicators are the key element in the production of IAN Press documents. They design the layout of the document, obtain and edit the visual elements, designate the amount and style of text, and orchestrate the review and editing process. IAN Press documents are produced using a 'storyboard' approach, in which the central message(s) are identified and various visual elements selected to support the central message(s). This is in contrast to the more traditional method of writing text and adding in visuals subsequently. In video and film production, storyboards are used and the producer is key to assembling the visual elements. Science Communicators serve in an equivalent role in terms of assembling all the pieces that go into the publication.

Color

IAN Press relies extensively on color for photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, figures and even text and tables to a limited degree. The use of color allows for an increased data density and provides a bigger visual impact considering the amount of the human brain devoted to visual discrimination of colors. Color allows for greater discrimination of visual elements and in data presentation, a closer juxtaposition of different elements and greater comparative utility. The preponderance of color printers and the ability of electronic versions to be displayed in color promote the inexpensive dissemination of full color documents. In order to help color-blind people compensate, an effort is made to provide other visual clues in graphics, such as symbols with different shapes or map delineations with different shading or texture, but some of the visual impact will be compromised.

Audience

IAN Press does not target a narrow, specific audience, rather attempts to be as inclusive as possible. As the world becomes more specialized, with marketing forces that promote highly targeted advertising campaigns, IAN Press products attempt to reach the broadest audience possible. IAN Press attempts to raise the bar rather than dumb down the message by using non-technical language, defining all terms and reducing acronym use. By providing synthesis, visualizations and context, we feel that relatively sophisticated concepts can be grasped by a non-technical audience. In fact, science has become highly specialized and often the language, tools and approaches used in various scientific disciplines are relatively incomprehensible to specialists in other disciplines. Thus, one audience of IAN Press is scientists from other specialties to encourage inter-disciplinary thinking and approaches.

Why use print media?

With the growing popularity of electronic media, the carbon footprint involved in producing and distributing paper products, and the ability to provide infinite resources via the web, it could be argued that IAN Press should disseminate entirely via electronic means. While IAN Press provides downloadable, web accessible materials, IAN Press continues to produces written products for the following reasons:

  1. There is rigor and discipline required in producing science communication products that have limited 'real estate', that, is limited amounts of space to convey a message. A paper product maintains focus, while web links can lead to tangential issues. The priority setting required to establish the final layout and include various communication elements is important in conveying information. Fixed 'real estate' forces condensation, synthesis and integration. Every visual element is uniquely created for the purpose of conveying the specific information intended, rather than repurposed from other sources.
  2. The written product invites non-linear reading, and a quick scan allows readers to delve into the visual elements most interesting to them. If a reader is most attracted to photographs, maps, conceptual diagrams, or figures, they can migrate to these elements and the figure legends should be self explanatory. Alternatively, if reading text is the preferred way of obtaining information, the text is designed to be self sufficient. The juxtaposition of text and various visual elements also conveys important information, something that can be lost via hyperlinks on the web. In addition, electronic books with the current technology do not support color graphics.
  3. Since various IAN Press products are intended to inform a broad community from policy makers to the general public, the weight of scientific support that can be marshaled can be a factor in empowering people to action. In order to make an impact, the difference between hundreds of web pages and hundreds of printed pages is one reason to provide print versions of IAN products. In addition, internet access is not equally applied globally or socially, and in some societies and sectors of society, a written product provides a more accessible source, particularly through libraries and schools.
  4. Printed materials provide a 'time stamp', a fixed point of time when the data are assembled and the conclusions are reached. Rather than constantly updating the data and conclusions, drawing the line in the sand as to what is known at a particular time point is what printed products do. The shelf life of science communication products should be somewhat limited due to the increased scientific understanding based on ongoing research, yet the record of what is known, and when it is known, provides an important archival body of information.
  5. "The product drives the collaborative process"; in that the science communication product forces an intensely collaborative process of obtaining and refining visual elements, drafting and editing text, and experimenting with layout and design. While this collaborative process can be conducted with the production of web materials, print deadlines are a good way to insure timely delivery. In addition, to obtain buy-in from many scientists whose training and experience are in producing printed papers and books, printed copies are often necessary.