Enewsletter articles by Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen

Portland, Oregon

Bill Dennison, Katie May Laumann, Suzi Spitzer and Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen attended the Society for Applied Anthropology conference “Engaging Change in Turbulent Times” last month. Suzi organized a session on transdisciplinary science that included these topics: IAN as a boundary organization, integrating cultural and natural resources at National Parks, environmental report cards and citizen science. This conference was timely as IAN continues to journey into social sciences.


Quezon City, Phillipines

Vanessa facilitated the "Get the Grade" game to kick-start the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Philippine Dept. of Env. and Natural Resources' project, "Eco-system-based Adaptation in 2 River Basins (E2RB)".


COAST Card project launched

Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation (or COAST Card) launched virtually and continues to move forward. This project is funded under the Belmont Forum Ocean Sustainability Collaborative Research Action (CRA).


Belmont Forum Newsletters released

Convened by the Belmont Forum and facilitated by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, the Belmont Tripartite Valorization workshop and Biodiversity I CRA virtual synthesis workshop served as the end term meeting for the Food Security and Land Use Change Collaborative Research Action (CRA), Biodiversity I CRA, and mid-term meetings for the Arctic Observing and Science for Sustainability and Mountains as Sentinels of Change CRAs. The Workshop reports, Understanding Responses to Global Change, and Scenarios of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, provide a brief overview of each project, identify common themes that emerged, and provide recommendations for future Belmont Forum Projects.


COAST Card international partnership continues to grow

The Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation (COAST) Card is an international, transdisciplinary research program seeking to foster solutions to global sustainability challenges. This project brings together researchers from the USA, Japan, Philippines, Norway, and India. COAST Card merges three tools: socio-ecological network analyses; socio-environmental report cards; and system dynamics models. Email coastcard.research@gmail.com to subscribe to the newsletter, and follow COAST card on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Professional certificate opportunity and environmental management course now available online

On February 15, we launched our first professional certificate program in Environmental Management for Sustainability on EdX, an online learning platform for open online courses. Four courses make up the certificate. All courses are self-paced and available in five languages (English, Spanish, Filipino, Japanese, and Hindi). A professional certificate is available for verified learners, and all content is available for free. For more information, visit our certificate page on EdX.


COAST Card Research Consortium releases first newsletter

The Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation (COAST) Card is an international, transdisciplinary research program seeking to foster solutions to global sustainability challenges. This project brings together researchers from the USA, Japan, Philippines, Norway, and India. COAST Card merges three tools: socio-ecological network analyses; socio-environmental report cards; and system dynamics models. You can subscribe to the COAST Card e-news for updates. Follow COAST card on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Professional certificate opportunity and environmental management course now available online

On February 15, we launched our first professional certificate program in Environmental Management for Sustainability on EdX, an online learning platform for open online courses. Four courses make up the certificate. All courses are self-paced and available in five languages (English, Spanish, Filipino, Japanese, and Hindi). A professional certificate is available for verified learners, and all content is available for free. For more information, visit our certificate page on EdX.


Professional Certificate in Science for Environmental Management

UMCES is offering free online courses through EdX, a non-profit global provider of massive open online courses. Registration is now open! Certification for each course can be acquired through a small fee. Upon completing all four courses, students will earn a Professional Certificate in Science for Environmental Management. Communicating science effectively starts January 18, 2021. The other courses are: Developing socio-environmental report cards; Socio-environmental management; and Decision-making in socio-environmental management.


Kicking off the COAST Card project

IAN-UMCES led the kick-off activities of our Belmont Forum-funded project, COAST Card (Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation), through a series of virtual meetings in September and October. The meetings brought together partners from the USA, Norway, Japan, Philippines, and India. COAST Card integrates socio-environmental report cards, social network analysis, and system dynamics modeling in global locations: the Chesapeake Bay (USA), Manila Bay (Philippines), Tokyo Bay and Ishigaki Island (Japan), and the Goa Coast of India. To learn more, please visit the project site.


RiverTalk by Dr Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen

The International RiverFoundation's RiverTalk seminar series featured IAN's Dr. Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen on August 25. Vanessa's talk was titled "Putting People into the Picture: Creating social environmental report cards." She discussed the report card framework used by IAN as well as how report cards can benefit ecosystems and communities alike.


RiverTalk by Dr Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen

The International RiverFoundation's RiverTalk seminar series will feature IAN's Dr. Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen on August 25. Vanessa's talk is titled "Putting People into the Picture: Creating social environmental report cards." She will discuss the report card framework used by IAN as well as how report cards can benefit ecosystems and communities alike.


The COAST Card project received a virtual kick-off

Bill Dennison and Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen attended the virtual kick-off meeting for the Belmont Forum projects funded under the Ocean Sustainability Collaborative Research Action (CRA) held on June 17–18. Their project, Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation (or COAST Card), is one of the thirteen international consortia of researchers and stakeholders awarded to conduct transdisciplinary research to innovate solutions for the sustainable use of oceans and minimize the effects of global change.


COMING SOON: online River Academy science communication training course

River Academy, the latest initiative from International River Foundation, is an interactive learning platform designed to teach anyone in river-related topics. Current course offerings include Leadership for River Practitioners, River Resilience, Science Communication, and River Restoration - Form and Function. IAN is developing the introductory course in Science Communication, which will cover topics ranging from storytelling strategies, to color theory, to data visualization. Upon completing a course with River Academy, participants will be issued a digital badge to showcase on their CV/resume.


IAN's staff continues to grow and evolve

IAN graduate student Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen was conferred with the first Ph.D. under the Environment and Society foundation of MEES during the virtual UMCES commencement ceremony. She is now a science integrator at IAN and will spearhead the upcoming COAST Card project. Science communication intern Annie Carew is joining IAN staff as a science communicator. She graduated from UMCES last year. IAN's program manager Alexandra Fries was promoted to FRA3. She was also nominated as the FRA representative to the UMCES faculty senate.


Developing new international report cards

Bill Dennison and Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen will be leading an international collaboration to develop innovative report cards for iconic embayments around the world. The four-year project, called "COAST Card," will develop report cards in Chesapeake, Manila, and Tokyo Bays as well as the Goa coast of India. This project is funded through the Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding of environmental change research from over two dozen counties in an effort to remove critical barriers to sustainability.


Developing new international report cards

Bill Dennison and Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen will be leading an international collaboration to develop innovative report cards for iconic embayments around the world. The four-year project, called "COAST Card," will develop report cards in Chesapeake, Manila, and Tokyo Bays as well as the Goa coast of India. This project is funded through the Belmont Forum, an international partnership that mobilizes funding of environmental change research from over two dozen counties in an effort to remove critical barriers to sustainability.


Revamping the Chesapeake Bay Report Card

From January 7–8, IAN staff traveled to Harrisburg, PA for a workshop to expand the Chesapeake Bay Report Card. Bill, Caroline, Alex, Sky, and Vanessa facilitated and presented at the workshop. The workshop brought together stakeholders to discuss how to include watershed and socioeconomic data in future report cards. Watershed reporting regions were developed and numerous new indicators were discussed. Moving forward, there will be another workshop held in Virginia this spring to further refine the indicators and data analysis methodology.


Subscribe to the COAST Card Research Consortium newsletter

The Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation (COAST) Card is an international, transdisciplinary research program seeking to foster solutions to global sustainability challenges. This project brings together researchers from the USA, Japan, Philippines, Norway, and India. COAST Card merges three tools: socio-ecological network analyses; socio-environmental report cards; and system dynamics models. You can subscribe to the COAST Card e-news for updates. Follow COAST card on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Professional Certificate in Environmental Management for Sustainability courses

We are excited to announce that our Storytelling with Data Using Socio-environmental Report Cards course will be live this upcoming Monday, May 10th! This is our second course in the Professional Certificate in Environmental Management for Sustainability. Pro tip: consider enrolling as a verified learner to have access to bonus materials and extra resources.

Socio-environmental report cards have proven to be THE tool to effect positive change. Enroll here today, and join us as we explore proven techniques to synthesize data, engage the local community, inform decision-making, and drive policy for any environmental or sustainability challenge.


Subscribe to the COAST Card Research Consortium newsletter

The Coastal Ocean Assessment for Sustainability and Transformation (COAST) Card is an international, transdisciplinary research program seeking to foster solutions to global sustainability challenges. This project brings together researchers from the USA, Japan, Philippines, Norway, and India. COAST Card merges three tools: socio-ecological network analyses; socio-environmental report cards; and system dynamics models. You can subscribe to the COAST Card e-news for updates. Follow COAST card on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


Developing a framework for an Environmental Justice Index in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Environmental justice requires providing fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the environment. The Marine, Estuarine, & Environmental Science graduate program within the University System of Maryland sponsors a suite of unique Issue Study Group courses in which students, faculty, and staff from a variety of campuses collaborate to develop tangible products. This newsletter summarizes the findings of a course entitled “Developing an Environmental Justice Index for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Report Card,” conducted in spring 2021. In addition to this newsletter, blog posts were written and a video was produced.


New online course available

The next course in our partnership with the EdX online platform is now available! "The Science Advisory Toolbox for Environmental Management" has free registration, with an optional upgrade to receive a professional certificate at the end of the series.

There is a broad spectrum of ways that science can be incorporated into environmental management and policy and it all begins with effectively articulating cause and impacts. We will begin this course with a survey of early conservation thought-leaders that changed the conversation about how humans view their natural world. As our understanding of our natural world has grown in depth and complexity, so has the need for implementing new communication tools to best express this knowledge in a way that is accessible and actionable. Synthesis of data into a compelling story is the solution. You will develop your own toolbox of science advisory techniques while growing your environmental management knowledge base.

Taught by leading experts in the field with real world examples and studies, this course will show you how today’s conservation leaders can still “change the conversation” and guide society toward solutions for complex resiliency and sustainability problems that benefit all stakeholders and future generations.