Coastal Estuarine Research Federation Conference in Portland, OregonAlexandra Fries ·
I had the privilege of attending the CERF Conference this year in Portland, Oregon. It was my first trip to Oregon, and visiting the Pacific Northwest was a really great experience. Before the Conference I had a few days to explore Portland including hiking in the Hoyt Arboretum, and visiting the Pittock Mansion. The Pittock Mansion is a French Renaissance-style chÃ¢teau in the West Hills of Portland originally built for The Oregonian newspaper publisher Henry Pittock and his wife, Georgiana.
The conference, Coastal Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), had a theme this year that greatly applies to the work we do at IAN - "Grand Challenges in Coastal & Estuarine Science: Securing Our Future". I gave a talk and had a poster at the conference. In addition to myself, Bill Dennison, Heath Kelsey, and Bill Nuttle also attended the conference, which was from November 8th-12th. UMCES also had an exhibitor booth at the conference and I helped Dave Nemazie with set-up and manning the booth.
IAN's session, convened by Bill Nuttle, was titled Successful science story-telling for coastal resilience. I gave Caroline Donovan's talk during this session, which was about challenges of telling the climate change resilience story in Chesapeake Bay.
My poster for the conference was closely related to the talk I gave. While the talk focused on communication of climate change resilience, the poster went into the details of the scientific analysis that I conducted on one of the climate change resilience indicators, coastal wetlands. To tie in the storytelling and the science, the key message of the poster is that coastal wetlands will not be resilient to sea level rise in the future.
My two favorite talks at CERF were both on the unusual side for a scientific conference. One was by Merryl Alber, which was titled: Bringing coastal scientists and managers together in Georgia: the Georgia Coastal Research Council.
For her talk, there were two skits that were acted out to get the messages across, which were not only amusing but also very informative. It is a great way to give a presentation without powerpoint and in a different, exciting format.
The other talk I greatly enjoyed was by Brian Turner entitled: A Pacific Northwest Clamtastrophe: Examining inducible defenses to novel predators.
This talk was in the Artistic Pathways to Scientific Understanding session, and was given as a radio show style presentation, with not only music overlaying the presentation, but also Brian used different voices and wore a costume to really get in character. The talk was extremely clever and very entertaining. It is probably the research I remember in most detail from the entire conference. Here is a short clip of the end of the radio show talk:
Finishing off the conference we had an UMCES Mixer for current and past students and staff. This year we included a timeline where people could write their name and the years they were at UMCES. By the end of mixer, the timeline was filled out really well!
About the author
Alexandra is a Program Manager at the Integration and Application Network (IAN) based at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Annapolis MD. Alexandra’s work in environmental management has been focused on assessment, monitoring, and management of aquatic, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems. Alexandra has extensive experience in data analysis, synthesis, mapping, interpretation, and communication. Alexandra has experience working with a diverse group of partners including those in local, state, and federal government, non-governmental organizations, non-profit organizations, private industry, and academia. Within IAN, Alexandra conducts data analysis, synthesis, and communication by completing environmental report cards, updating the IAN website, and conducting science communication courses. Alexandra also creates science communication materials such as diagrams, posters, presentations, newsletters, and reports using Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office Suite, and ArcGIS. Alexandra has experience managing projects and staff on local and international projects, liaising directly with partners and colleagues, and providing insights on project direction and goals.