Want To Affect Policy Change? Board Your Train Of Opportunity

Are you ready to climb aboard? Image by Joe Ross, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Like increasing numbers of your colleagues, you want your science to contribute to a better world. You want to make a difference. But you’re not quite sure how to get started, and navigating the black box of the policy world can be a daunting prospect. The public discourse about the environment is teeming with opportunities for scientists to weigh in. Trains of opportunity may be passing you by. Time to pack your bags and hop aboard!
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Our Stories: Supporting Wildfire Scientists To Engage

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We often 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. And remember, if you want to join our team to support scientists in their engagement efforts – we are hiring!
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Maximizing Moritz Et Al: On Publication & Promotion

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Max Moritz is the lead author on the invited review Learning to Coexist with Wildfire, published last Thursday in Nature. With its synthesis of wildfire science and management from three continents, Max and his co-authors strongly believe the paper holds real-world implications for people’s health, safety, and financial well-being. If you feel like that about a paper, you want it to be read and used widely; and if you want a paper to achieve broader visibility, you don’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best! So Max reached out to COMPASS and spent the last two weeks of October working with me to think through what he wanted to say and working with his co-authors and university to prepare. [Read more…]

Why Did The Scientist Cross The Road?

Although crossing the road can be a daunting task, is it made easier by the company of colleagues, some infrastructure to guide the way, and the promise new opportunities on the other side.
CC BY-SA-NC-SA by Khaz on flickr

During the past few weeks I had the opportunity to attend two conferences that had related themes and took place literally across the street from each other, but in other ways were worlds apart. First was the Ecological Society of America’s Annual Meeting (#ESA2014), which was dominated by ecological scientists sharing their research. The following week, government officials, land managers, city planners, and NGO representatives met at the first ever California Adaptation Forum (#CAF14). While both conferences explored the possibility of finding solutions by forging new connections, there was still clearly a gap between those talking about the latest research on one side of the street and those trying to figure out how to implement it on the other. [Read more…]

Finding Common Ground On Fire Science

The Tomahawk Fire burning just north of Camp Pendleton in southern California on May 14, 2014. 
(CC BY-NC-SA by DVIDSHUB)

Conflicting viewpoints are commonplace among scientists. And those studying wildfire are no exception, where perspectives vary among regions, ecosystem types, and disciplines. It’s a hot topic (not to mention incredibly pun-conducive), and the debates among scientists have been heated. [Read more…]

Burning Down Communication Barriers Among Fire Scientists

Tough questions from journalists often spark new insights for scientists. Here’s our panel of journalists (left to right, Ivan Semeniuk, Douglas Fischer, Natasha Loder, and David Malakoff) poised to grill a trio of scientists during a mock press conference at the workshop. 
Photo by Heather Reiff.

Fire may be one of the clearest manifestations we have of climate change – it’s visible, palpable, and stirs our emotions. Headlines from last week’s release of the Third National Climate Assessment predict a growing rash of wildfires. Fire seasons are lengthening. Fires are occurring in places or at scales they haven’t in the past. The US Forest Service intends to spend almost $2 billion to manage and minimize the impacts of fires across the country this year. When it comes to communicating with the public, the “why should I care” obstacle faced by scientists in most research arenas is almost non-existent for those studying fire. But, other communication challenges – complexity, uncertainty, risk, reframing – remain. [Read more…]

9/27/2013 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday! If you attended the Sackler Colloquia on the Science of Science Communication like several of the  COMPASS staff, you’re probably overflowing with ideas also. We left feeling inspired and look forward to sharing some posts with you with our take-aways and insights in the coming weeks. In the meantime, please enjoy what we’ve rounded up for you this week, including fire science, Darwin’s finches, citizen science, and more. [Read more…]

7/3/13 Link Round-Up

Carrier snails are quite crafty! Check out this post about the "masters of bling." http://bit.ly/14R7eqH

Happy Fourth of July! Over the holiday, the COMPASS staff will be enjoying time with family and friends. Since many of you may be out for the holiday like we are, we’re posting the link round-up a little early this week. We thought it would be a short one to reflect the short week, but we have a great variety of posts below! [Read more…]

5/31/13 Link Round-Up

We’re big proponents of social media on the COMPASS blog. In addition to touting the benefits and how-to’s of Twitter, one of the unique aspects of social media are the conversations and discussion that can be sparked and carried out on a large scale entirely online. This week there were several such examples, rounded up below, along with some other interesting finds: [Read more…]

Jumping Into The Flames: A Marine Ecologist At A Fire Ecology Conference?

Fire ecology, while very different from marine ecology, has COMPASS' Director of Science, Karen McLeod, all fired up!

I’m in a very familiar place – Portland’s Oregon Convention Center – but drowning in a sea of alien acronyms. In literally every talk (and even at meals!), I’m bombarded by them: FARSITE, FEIS, FLAMMAP, FOFEM, FVS, GYE, IFTDSS, WFAT, WFDS, and my new favorite, WUI (pronounced, woo-ee), or the Wildland Urban Interface. I’m definitely the only marine ecologist here at the International Fire Ecology and Management Congress… at least it’s (sometimes) a useful conversation starter.

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