Our Stories: Scott Doney

We often blog here with brief updates or reflections on our work, while our website provides examples and descriptions of what we do. Over the coming weeks, we are excited to share a series of our stories, focused on longer timelines and richer details. We hope you enjoy!

Dr. Scott Doney, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute

Our first story highlights one of the most rewarding, and enjoyable, aspects of our work: building relationships with scientists and supporting them as they surpass our (and their own!) best hopes.

As a Leopold Leadership Fellow in 2004, Dr. Scott Doney gamely participated in one of our trainings. He drafted his Message Box, sweated through his mock interview scenarios, and learned about journalism and policymaking. As a marine chemist, he thought that the policy work seemed interesting but unlikely. “I thought, this is all well and good for other folks, but I’ll never get asked. I would have never guessed, sitting in the training doing the testimony, that that would be me one day.” [Read more…]

Straight From The Scientist: Francis Chan

Dr. Francis Chan of Oregon State University

At COMPASS, we sometimes work with an individual scientist in a variety of contexts and over several years.  As they engage with journalists, policymakers, and others outside their research community, we often hear how their thoughts around sharing their science continue to evolve. We recently caught up with one such scientist – Francis Chan of Oregon State University – after he got back from a trip to our DC office earlier this month to meet with policymakers about ocean acidification. Here are some of the things he has picked up over the course of his communication and engagement experiences that we’re excited to share with you! [Read more…]

Your Science Is A Multi-tool

Science can be a multi-tool within the policy process; understanding what function your science is serving can make engagements more effective.

Science plays many roles in the policymaking process. Describing those roles is often harder than I expect.  While attending the North American Congress of Conservation Biology (NACCB) in July, I was introduced to a new – and helpful – description of those roles, during a talk by Stephen Posner. Stephen is a PhD candidate at the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont. Like COMPASS, the Gund Institute works at the boundary between new knowledge and emerging solutions to pressing environmental challenges. Much of their work takes place through the lens of “ecosystem services”, a way of thinking about how people’s needs, desires, and actions relate to the natural world upon which we all depend. Stephen investigates how knowledge and understanding of ecosystem services is actually used in policymaking. [Read more…]

Ocean Acidification: Science And Communication In An Era Of Nuance

Liz Neeley reminds scientists at the communication workshop to support each other and embrace constructive criticism when facing both scientific and communication challenges ahead. (Photo © David Kline 2013)

Since March 2011, I have spent a considerable amount of time with research scientists in the ocean acidification community – attending meetings, organizing conference symposia, prepping them for policy briefings, and leading them through communication workshops. In this time, I’ve seen the breadth of research and number of scientists working on ocean acidification increase dramatically. This expansion has led to an “era of nuance,” as we noted after last year’s international gathering of 400+ ocean acidification scientists. The stark cases of how ocean chemistry impacts US West Coast oyster hatcheries now stand side-by-side with discoveries of more complex effects on marine species and what this means for things people care about (e.g. fisheries, coastal protection, cultural traditions). But what stands out is that even with this growing complexity, the community has confronted the hard scientific questions head on AND tackled the tricky communication challenges with equal enthusiasm and commitment. [Read more…]

9/20/13 Link Round-Up

Happy Friday, everyone! We have a very full and interesting link round-up for you this week, including several articles covering the changing chemistry of oceans and rivers, whale ear wax, Tamu Massif updates, moon illusions, and more. We hope you enjoy, learn something new, and have a fantastic weekend! [Read more…]

5/24/13 Link Round-up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

We’re rounding the bend to Memorial Day and the kickoff of summer – it’s the season of long sunny days, spending time outdoors, and evening campfire gatherings with s’mores and storytelling. Karen McLeod recently attended a science writing workshop in Santa Fe and shared her experience learning the art of written story in this week’s post; she also included helpful tips for around the campfire and beyond. Here are a few of our favorite links this week: [Read more…]

Embracing Change To Stay Relevant

Juliet Eilperin interacts with scientists at a COMPASS training. She recently announced she'll be leaving the environment desk to cover the White House for the Washington Post.

I once heard healthy organizations are constantly changing. This means effective leaders are not only agents of change but are also change managers. As the Executive Director of a science communication organization, this philosophy has become a mantra for me as I strive to keep our organization healthy. Because we operate at the nexus of the quickly moving worlds of science, media and policy, recognizing that embracing and adapting to change is the norm means that it’s OK that this is part of our daily work too. Embracing change has liberated me. [Read more…]

3/8/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

The recent announcement that the New York Times is cancelling its Green blog may not have come as a surprise after their environmental desk closed earlier this year, but it’s still sparking a huge debate within COMPASS and elsewhere.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on this shift in journalism and environmental coverage!

Here are some other interesting developments that caught our eye this week: [Read more…]

3/1/13 Link Round-Up

Photo courtesy of 'Ravages' via Flickr.

Happy Friday, link round-up fans!  With the ultimately inevitable “sequester” looming large this week, members of the scientific community have been wondering what this means for them. Thanks to the creation of a catchy hashtag (#sciquester), Science Magazine has been following and curating the discussion on Twitter, which includes everything from promises to run away to England to creative money-saving solutions for the lab. And, speaking of saving money… [Read more…]

Ocean Acidification Science Takes Center Stage In Washington State

Panel members stand behind Gov. Gregoire, while she signed the Executive Order. 
Photo courtesy of:  Kate McDermott/Taylor Shellfish

Last Tuesday, Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire announced the release of recommendations from the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification and underscored the effort with an Executive Order for the state to take action on this issue. The 28 member panel was the first of its kind in the country and was notable for the prominent role that both science and scientists played in the process. From the first public meeting in March 2012, the seven scientists on the Panel worked tirelessly to convey the current state of ocean acidification science to both their fellow Panel members and meeting attendees. Having worked with many of the Panel scientists over the past year on effective communication about this topic, including at the recent COMPASS Ocean Acidification Communication Workshop, and following the process closely, I can say that this was no small task. [Read more…]