Stories, Science, and the Sea: Sharing At IMCC

A little over a year ago, eight scientists stepped out of their comfort zones and took to the stage to share a piece of their worlds. Without leaving a dark auditorium in Glasgow, we were transported to a fish spawning site in Australia, a night dive full of glowing plankton in the Philippines, a reef rescue mission in the Seychelles and a lionfish hunt in the Caribbean. We heard of the experiences that inspired a scientist to start a non-profit organization that raises awareness of the importance and vulnerability of fish aggregations, and how another scientist gained the trust of local fishers to get a more complete picture of the community and ecosystem in which she was working.
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COMPASS 2015 Retreat


This week, the COMPASS staff is meeting up in Baltimore for our retreat. We’re practicing what we teach in our trainings – using the Message Box, figuring out our thinking styles and how they work together, working on our elevator speeches, and preparing for another year of supporting scientists to engage in the public discourse about the environment!

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COMPASS Communication Tools And Resources

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Need a quick fix of communication advice? We have collected a few of our key tools and suggestions in one spot. Bookmark this page for your go-to place to reference the message box or to prepare to interact with policymakers and journalists.
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Welcome New COMPASS Teammates!


We are thrilled to welcome new members to the COMPASS team! We have found some amazing individuals with a deep appreciation and understanding of science and the science culture, knowledge about science communication and engagement, and real-world experience in the cultures of journalism, policy and law. We look forward to them helping coach and train scientists, as you’re looking to be more effective communicators, and to support you in connecting with other scientists, journalists and policymakers.

Please join me in welcoming Kristin, Amy, Stephen and Meg! Here’s a bit more about them, their jobs, and why they’re excited to be part of the COMPASS team.  You can learn more about each of them on our website.

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Lynn Scarlett: On Science, Policy, And Joining Our Board

LynnSDOI SB courthouse

This week, we welcome Lynn Scarlett to the COMPASS Board of Directors. Lynn is currently the Managing Director for Public Policy at The Nature Conservancy, former Deputy Secretary of the Interior under George W. Bush, and has held many other positions, advisory and board service roles that you can read about here. She has been a champion for the use of science in decision-making, brings vast experience and networks in the environmental policy sphere, and continues to work toward a healthy democracy that allows people and environment to thrive. Lynn has not only engaged with scientists throughout her career, she advocates for scientists to engage and for constructive, two-way dialogues between scientists and policymakers.  As I welcomed Lynn to the board, I had the chance to learn more about her experiences and perspectives regarding scientists engaging in the policy sphere.

We are thrilled to have her contribute her ideas and expertise as we at COMPASS work to get more scientists to engage effectively in the public discourse about the environment. Welcome Lynn!

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August Recess In The Field

Original image by Mayna_IT_Consulting, under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. Modified (slightly) on July 29, 2015.

The sun is shining, gardens are overflowing, kids and members of Congress are frolicking on lawns– it must be summer! From our post as a boundary organization (with a foot in the camps of multiple professional cultures), we can see other signs that the season is in high gear, including scientists with lighter (or no) teaching loads, researchers finally able to get out in the field, and most of DC preparing to go on recess. The worlds around us are slowing down a bit; here at COMPASS we’re going to slow down a bit too.
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A Briefing Debrief: Scientist Tales From A Day On The Hill

Dr. Drew Harvell presenting at "Sea Sick: A science briefing on understanding the causes of marine disease and consequences for coastal communities," July 9, 2015. Image courtesy of the Office of Rep. Denny Heck.

This post is co-authored by COMPASS Science Engagement Specialist Heather Mannix.

Last week, COMPASS brought a team of scientists to Capitol Hill to participate in “Sea Sick: A science briefing on understanding the causes of marine disease and consequences for coastal communities.” As part of their pre-briefing preparation with the COMPASS team, these four scientists worked hard to understand their audience, coordinate their remarks, and make sure their science was clear, compelling, and relevant. With last year’s high profile sea star wasting disease epidemic on the West Coast likely to occur again this summer, and pending legislation on marine disease in the House of Representatives, this was an ideal time to bring the science related to these events to the forefront. As with all COMPASS policy events, our goal was to create an opportunity for the scientists to share what they know – and why it matters – with policymakers and to build relationships as trusted resources going forward.
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Society for Marine Mammalogy Conference 2015 (SMM 2015) Journalist Fellowship


Join us at the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals!

We are excited to announce that COMPASS is hosting travel fellowships for journalists to attend the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals, hosted by the Society for Marine Mammalogy in San Francisco this December! The conference will bring together approximately 2,500 top marine mammal scientists and managers to investigate the theme of Marine Mammal Conservation in a Changing World: Bridging the Past Towards the Future. The role of marine mammals as heralds of changing ecosystems and casualties of the consequences of human actions will be explored through workshops, plenaries, and presentations on topics ranging from climate and changing oceans to effective marine spatial planning.
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Our Stories: Leveraging Scientific Conferences To Include Journalists

NACCB Conservation Tapas

We blog here with brief updates or reflections on our work, while our website provides examples and descriptions of what we do. We are excited to continue sharing our series of stories, focused on longer timelines and richer details. Read more of our other stories here. And visit our blog next week to learn about the next journalism fellowship we will be offering! [Read more...]

Sea Sick: A Capitol Hill Briefing On Marine Disease

Photo courtesy of Ken-ichi Ueda via Flickr

Next week, COMPASS is supporting scientists studying the causes and consequences of marine disease to share and discuss the science with federal policymakers. This event is part of our connecting work – where our goal is to foster dialogue between scientists and policymakers on salient topics. We hope you can join us next week! [Read more...]