Blog posts by Bill Nuttle

The Bonnet Carre Spillway and the Spectacle of Climate Change

Bill Nuttle ·
25 March 2019

Television crews were on hand, on February 27, to witness the spectacle of the Corps of Engineers opening the Bonnet Carre spillway on the Mississippi River. Runoff from record precipitation in the Midwest this winter feeds a flood that is making its way down the river. The spillway, located 12 miles west of New Orleans, serves as a safety valve meant to protect the city during extreme floods.


Read more

Rupert and I Visit the Anthropocene

Bill Nuttle ·
18 February 2019
   1 comments

My son, Rupert, and I decided to visit the National Gallery when he was home in Ottawa not long ago. A collection of photographs and videos called the Anthropocene has been drawing crowds all winter. An afternoon together at the art gallery seemed an ideal opportunity for some intergenerational bonding. As it turned out, if it weren’t for a virtual rhinoceros, I doubt that I could have survived with my parental dignity intact.


Read more

Participants in the Everglades report card workshop in Vero Beach, Florida.

When herding cats it helps to have a map

Bill Nuttle ·
4 September 2018
Environmental Report Cards | Science Communication | Applying Science | 

It makes me cringe a little to remember the debriefing that followed our May workshop on the Everglades report card project. The IAN team was complimented for keeping the project on track. “Great job at herding cats,” they said, referring to our ability keeping a meeting of scientists on track. There was just one loose thread that needed to be tidied up. But, then the “cats” got hold of it, and for a moment it seemed that things might unravel.


Read more

The Honest Broker sits unread, a victim of a changing landscape for science communications.

Communicating science with personality

Bill Nuttle ·
16 March 2018

Over the past fifteen years or so I have become more and more obsessed with how to write about science for a broad audience. I am not alone. I am an environmental scientist, so communicating to the public is important to my job. Many other scientists and scientific organizations share this obsession. And yet, frequently it appears that all our efforts are for naught. The message is not getting through. Therefore, maybe it’s time to step back and rethink.


Read more

Susquehanna River at Great Bend. Image credit here

Changing Perceptions of the Chesapeake Bay and Its Watershed

Bill Nuttle ·
17 November 2017
Environmental Literacy | 

I drive regularly between Ottawa, Ontario, where I live, and Chestertown, Maryland , where I grew up. My family still lives on the shore of the Chesapeake Bay . Over the 30 years that I have been making this trip, the landscape has not changed, but recently my perception of it has. Susquehanna River at Great Bend. Image credit here … One of the landmarks that I look for is the bridge where I-81 crosses the Susquehanna River at Great Bend, Pennsylvania .


Read more

View over Shark River Slough from Pay-hay-okee overlook. Image credit Alexandra Fries

Exploring an Ecosystem in Transition: On the Road to Flamingo II

Bill Nuttle ·
12 September 2017
Environmental Report Cards | 

View over Shark River Slough from Pay-hay-okee overlook. Image credit Alexandra Fries … We saw possible signs of the Everglades’ response to accelerated sea level rise at our next stop, the Pay-hay-okee overlook. Beyond Taylor Slough the road continues west through rocky pineland upland habitat before heading south through freshwater marl prairie. The overlook is built on the edge of Shark River Slough, the park’s other, larger flow way.


Read more

The IAN team at the C111 Canal - Alex Fries, Emily Nastase, and Bill Nuttle. Image credit Alexandra Fries

Exploring an Ecosystem in Transition: The Road to Flamingo

Bill Nuttle ·
8 September 2017
Environmental Report Cards | 

The IAN team at the C111 Canal - Alex Fries, Emily Nastase, and Bill Nuttle. Image credit Alexandra Fries … The Florida Everglades is an ecosystem in transition, but is it transitioning toward a condition that people find desirable? This is a question that the Everglades report card may be able to answer. Currently, the Integration and Application Network is working with water managers and ecologists to incorporate an environmental report card into the Everglades 2019 System Status Report.


Read more

R.A. Fisher developed the statistical tools of data analysis that scientists use to get answers to simple, direct questions. Environment report cards are a tool for assembling this information to answer more complex questions. Image Credit: flickr

What are these data trying to tell us?

Bill Nuttle ·
15 May 2017
Environmental Report Cards | 

“Let the data speak for themselves,” is a quote frequently attributed to Sir R. A. Fisher. Fisher was biologist who was drawn to the task of sifting through 70 years of data on crop yields and genetics accumulated at Rothamsted Experimental Station. The challenge of making sense of all this data led Fisher to develop a number of statistical tools that are used today by everyone who works with data.


Read more

Thanks to Olivia Chow and her team for an informative and thought-provoking workshop. Source: Institute for Change Leaders

Science, communication, and story-telling for social change

Bill Nuttle ·
15 December 2016
Science Communication | 

Last weekend I attended a workshop that gave me a different perspective on communicating through story telling and on the stories that scientists tell among ourselves. The workshop was Building Skills for Change put on by the Institute for Change Leaders. Olivia Chow, who led the workshop, is well-known in Canada for her work in municipal and national politics. Currently, she is a professor in the School of Social Work at Ryerson University where the institute is located.


Read more