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CERF 2019 Workshop:

Best Practices in Science Communication

Bill Dennison & Heath Kelsey

Date: Sunday, 3 November
8:00 AM – 10:00 AM

About the Workshop

The goals of this two-hour workshop are to improve participants’ science communication capabilities and help participants translate their science to reach broader communities. This cross-cutting workshop touches on a variety of conference priorities. Science communication is not only important for promoting diversity and inclusion in science, but also to maintaining relationships and partnerships by communicating data in an understandable, engaging way. Communicating science effectively helps solve environmental problems by promoting the preservation of coastal and estuarine habitats, elucidating ecosystem services and resources those habitats provide, and supporting cultural heritage through transdisciplinary science and inclusive stakeholder approaches.

This workshop is intended for anyone working in a science or research field and at any career level. Students, early career, mid-career, or advanced professionals are all welcome. The workshop is applicable for participants from non-governmental organizations, academia, private sector, and federal, state, tribal, and local governments. Anyone interested in improving their data interpretation and science communication skills is encouraged to participate.

The majority of the workshop will feature a format of interactive, hands-on activities. Participants will use their own data and research to create products that are designed to help communicate with their intended audiences, including volunteers, communities, researchers, managers, and policy makers. Several engaging games (such as “Conceptionary” and “Title Pursuit”) will improve participants’ knowledge and skills in data interpretation and science communication. Science communication professionals will also provide workshop participants with one-on-one assistance in analyzing and visualizing data. This workshop anticipates several outputs and outcomes. Expected outputs include key messaging statements, science communication products such as data visualizations and conceptual diagrams, and a draft of a newsletter describing the participants’ research.

Each participant will leave the workshop with new tools and products that will help them accomplish their science communication goals. Outcomes of the workshop are that participants will be able to understand best practices of science communication, construct statements that communicate scientific stories and messages to different audiences, and create data visualizations and communication products. Participants can use their new skills to reach the larger scientific community after the event, and through other outreach efforts and subsequent conferences and events.Participants should bring a laptop with them.

About the Presenter:


Dr. Bill Dennison is a Professor of Marine Science and Vice President for Science Applications at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES). Dr. Dennison’s primary mission within UMCES is to coordinate the Integration and Application Network.

Heath Kelsey is Director of the Integration and Application Network at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Dr. Kelsey has developed more than 20 ecosystem health report cards for coastal and riverine ecosystems worldwide. Dr. Kelsey has expertise in meaningful stakeholder engagement for ecosystem research, restoration, and planning to help communities identify a shared vision for their ecosystem. His specialties include science communication, environmental and public health assessment, ecosystem health indicators, and stakeholder engagement. Dr. Kelsey received his MSPH and PhD from The University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health in 2000 and 2006. Dr. Kelsey was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Papua New Guinea from 1995-1998.