Conference sessions (Saturday, October 12th)

Creating a Culture of Outreach in a Research Lab
Q & A Session
Moderated by Neil Hammerschlag and Christine Shepard of the University of Miami.

The mission of our lab, the RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program (RJD) at the University of Miami, is to advance ocean conservation and scientific literacy by conducting cutting edge scientific research and providing innovative and meaningful outreach opportunities for students through exhilarating hands-on research and virtual learning experiences in marine biology. In other words, we focus both on scientific research and on outreach. Last year, we took over 1,400 people (including over 1,000 high school students) into the field with us to learn about ocean science and conservation, and to interact with sharks in the wild. Additionally, we send scientists into dozens of local schools each year to teach students about ocean science and conservation, and our website includes numerous virtual education resources. In this session, RJD Director Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and RJD Multimedia Specialist Christine Shepard will discuss (and answer questions about) the RJD model, some of our outreach strategies, and successes and struggles along the way.

Hacking the Ocean: Open Source Oceanography, DIY Data, and Science as Art as Instrumentation.
Discussion Session
Moderated by Andrew Thaler, Duke University

Oceanographic research should not be limited to those with the funds to buy expensive equipment. With the development of cheap, easily programmable micro-controller platforms, the cost of scientific instrumentation is going down, as long as you’re willing to build it yourself. In this session, we will explore the various tools available for building everything from low-cost dissolved oxygen probes for tracking hypoxic zones to open source ROV’s for exploration. These tools provide a chance for anyone curious about the ocean to explore. We’ll also look at ways to get these tools into as many hands as possible, how to reduce costs even further, and how to connect them to online platforms for data sharing. Finally, as technology advances, numerous old pieces of equipment (often hand machined and beautiful) are finding their way into the trash bin. Can we re-purpose these old tools and find new and novel ways to discuss ocean issues through science-as-art?

Crowdfunding for Ocean Sciences
Discussion Session
Moderated by Jarrett Byrnes, University of Massachusetts

Crowdfunding has emerged as a powerful way to blend outreach, education, and funding for science. Here, we discuss the basics of how to run a successful crowdfunding proposal, bring together stories from past people who have crowdfunded their work along with a little data. We will open the floor to discuss current questions and problems that scientists have or think they will have with crowdfunding. We’ll also discuss how crowdfunding is but a lure to help scientists make their science more open to the public, and build outreach into their regular science activities.

Beyond the Obituaries – Talking Success in Ocean Conservation
Discussion Session
Moderated by Amanda Feuerstein

We are all aware that “if it bleeds it leads” – but maybe there is a more positive way to engage audiences about the future of the ocean. There are success stories out there, in fact more than most people know about. How can we move messaging around ocean health issues away from doom and gloom? Should we? This session will explore how the web can facilitate the sharing of marine conservation success stories so that they can serve as a source of information and inspiration.

Social Media in the Fisheries Management Sector
Discussion Session
Moderated by Chuck Bangley and Ann McElhatton

There is much to be gained from conducting research in cooperation with stakeholder groups such as the fishing industry. However, the results of this research can be potentially be unfavorable to the stakeholders. Researchers and public information officers need to be in sync with messaging to stakeholders in the event of delivering this news (e.g., fishery closures, regulations). Forming a good relationship with stakeholders is essential for much coastal and fishery research, but these relationships can become complicated. Online social media can both help and hinder these relationships, but can be a powerful tool for communication with stakeholders. In this session, the potential rewards and pitfalls of collaborative research will be discussed. Attendees will share their tips for successful research partnerships and the role of online social media from both a fisheries management and academic perspective. Conclusions from the Atlantic Coast Fisheries Communications Group “Social Media for Fisheries Communication” workshop will be discussed (LINK TO RESOURCE MATERIAL NEEDED) to provide a research and management framework for effective online communication with stakeholders.

Scientist-Filmmaker Collaborations for Broader Impacts
Discussion Session
Moderated by David Kimbro and Rob Diaz de Villegas, In the Grass on the Reef

Few mediums are better for communicating one’s science than film. In today’s world of NSF Broader Impacts requirements, pairing scientists and filmmakers (particularly those within a University) can lead to incredibly powerful products. THis session will discuss how scientists and filmmakers can interact in a productive relationship for both sides. How do you build an engaged audience? How do you create an overarching story from your research and the scientific concepts behind it? How do you connect your research and the habitats you study to the local community and culture? We will also discuss how to use the combination of video, text, and photography for the greatest possible effect. (Resource for discussion:
In the Grass, On the Reef collaboration).

Conflict and Conservation on Social Media
Discussion Session
Moderated by Kate Wing and Brian Switek

Social media is a powerful tool for conservation, but conservation-minded users are bound to encounter conflict, from irate resource users to climate denialists to well-meaning but ill-informed allies. This session will discuss the different ways of dealing with online conflict – when to engage, when to ignore, and when to marshal your allies. This session may also discuss the tension between using social media for straight-up science communication vs. campaign strategy/political goals.

Recruiting and Retaining Diversity in Marine Science: The Role of Social Media
Discussion Session
Moderated by Lali DeRosier

It’s no secret that ocean science and conservation has a certain lack of diversity by nearly every metric. It can be difficult to recruit and retain students who don’t see their backgrounds reflected in the field, don’t understand the diversity of jobs available, or don’t feel they have the resources/skills to break in. Social media provides a way for students to connect with mentors and fellow students who share their experiences, and who can provide guidance in going forward. This session will focus on developing a list of resources for students (e.g., Pathways to Science) that can help teachers and students connect with diversity-focused resources.

The Doctor is Out (in the world)
Discussion Session
Moderated by Kate Wing and George Leonard

Thinking of avoiding the tenure track? Want to combine your love of communicating with your deep geekiness? What exactly are your job options as a scientist outside of academia? The group will share stories about people who’ve taken other roads – NGOs, foundations, government, freelance, etc.- and discuss the many winding career paths available. Questions to discuss: where to look, highs and lows of not being an academic, what skills do you need or already have from your PhD, can you make any money at this, and how not to feel like a sellout.

When New Isn’t New
Discussion Session
Moderated by Craig McClain and Chris Mah

A common press release strategy is utilize the new finding, new species, and newly found approach. But how do we respond as scientists and communicators when new isn’t actually new? Are we splitting hairs too finely to always report the new? Is ignoring the actually process of science, i.e. new needs to be vetted with the scientific community, doing damage, e.g suggesting a species is new without formally describing it? Is this strategy still working?

Making ocean science matter
Discussion Session
Moderated by Holly Rindge

Science should matter in ocean policy, but scientists often find that their advice has little impact. Why does this happen? Should science drive policy? Who is best qualified to define a proper role for science in policy? How can scientists make science matter? Examples will be raised from science/policy debates around the world. How can online technology help facilitate science-informed policy? (Resource to discuss: California is setting an example with its network of science-based MPAs and sharing monitoring results with policy makers and stakeholders to adaptively manage the network).

From “outreach” to engagement – science at the media and policy interface
Q&A Session
Moderated by Karen McLeod, COMPASS

There’s a growing appetite among scientists to communicate their knowledge and insights beyond their peers. But, it’s all too easy for that communication to default to a deficit model approach — “if only we throw more data at them, they will understand and support us.” We know this doesn’t work. But, what are the alternatives? How can the ocean science community truly engage with the wider world? How might that engagement shape not only how and when we share our science, but even the very questions we ask? This discussion will build on COMPASS’ experiences over the last 12 years to get oceans onto the social agenda and bridge the gaps between scientific understanding and public policy. How can scientists be better positioned to both inform decisions on the table right now and ultimately transform the social and policy dialogues that will shape our future?

Using Satellite Telemetry for Shark Conservation Research, Education, and Outreach
Q&A session
Moderated by Emily Nelson and Kyra Hartog, University of Miami

The RJ Dunlap Lab uses satellite tagging tracks of Bull, Hammerhead, and Tiger sharks to provide a better understanding of these species’ migration and residency patterns. Not only are these tracks a part of cutting edge scientific research, they also contribute to RJD’s mission of scientific outreach. Interested donors can “Adopt a Shark”, which cover the cost of the satellite tag, and can follow their shark’s movements in near real time on Google Earth tracks through the lab’s website. This provides a learning opportunity for everyone from interested adults to enterprising students and school groups and generates significant interest in shark conservation efforts. RJD Interns Kyra Hartog and Emily Nelson will discuss the use of this satellite tagging technology in research, education, and outreach as it relates to shark conservation as well as how these efforts have been received by the public.

10 Minutes ’til Go Time: What You Need to Know When Talking to Reporters
Discussion Session
Moderated by Tara Haelle

A reporter calls: now what? There are things you can do to prep for interviews – whether it’s not even scheduled yet or you’re 10 minutes out. Radio, television, print and online are all different, both in messaging and interview style. This session will combine experience from both the journalist perspective and a source perspective. Attendees will discuss our experiences about what you need to know — and do — when talking to reporters about science and the ocean.

Conservation: “You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means
Discussion Session
Moderated by Chris Parsons

What exactly does “doing conservation” or “incorporating conservation” into your ocean science mean? By definition, conservation involves the preservation, protection, or restoration of the natural environment or natural ecosystems. In other words, if the conservation intervention is successful then the ecosystem should reflect a better (or perhaps, more commonly, a “less worse”) state as a result. The marine conservation landscape is populated with individuals engaged in science, education, social marketing, economics, resource management, and policy. How are we measuring our impact? How do we know that the ecosystems we direct conservation upon are “better” or at the very least “less worse”? Conservation needs to be more than just “feeling” that we are having an impact. How do we connect our actions to ecosystem response in meaningful time frames? This session hopes to explore/discuss/debate marine conservation beyond the label or “feel good” aspect to demonstrable impact.

Rural Outreach: How to stay connected over weak internet connections and largely on smartphones
Discussion Session
Moderated by Amy Freitag, Duke University

In a world where videos are easy to make and media piles up in gigatons on your blog, it’s important to remember that in many parts of the world – and in most rural regions of the US, internet infrastructure has not yet caught up. Even in parts of tech-savvy Japan, fishermen connect to the internet largely through smartphone and 4G is nowhere to be found. Of course, they are connected to the internet while on the water, and that in itself provides unusual opportunities for engagement. How do we write online media to accommodate these types of users? How do we make the most of rural livelihoods and perspectives in outreach programs?

How to make your science sing: the use of short film as a communication tool
Q&A Session
Moderated by Austin Gallagher and Erica Staaterman

The secret’s out: as a scientist today, in a world where environmental problems are ever-increasing, it is no longer sufficient to simply publish your results in scientific journals. The public, as well as funding agencies and fellow scientists, want to understand the broader impacts of your work. In the past few years, short film has become a popular a means to communicate science and conservation efforts. The availability of low-cost cameras and editing software, as well as the use of video as a scientific method, has made it easier to access footage. However, the trick is telling a story that is both interesting and inspirational for a broad audience. Here, films from the Beneath the Waves Film Festival archives will get the discussion going by illustrating different techniques for science communication through film – ranging from video abstracts, to music videos, to personal stories. Come prepared to share your own video experiences and to be inspired.

So What? How do you know you’re making a difference?
Discussion Session
Moderated by Julie Henry

After you’ve developed a strategy and began tweeting, blogging, Facebooking and checking in, how do you know you are making a difference? What benchmarks do you use to measure your efforts – analytics? Audits? And how do you define success – people showing up at an event? Making a pledge to change their behavior? Sharing their commitment with friends? We’ll discuss both quantitative and qualitative methods to track your progress and produce usable results that can be included in grant reports and more. Bring your innovative ideas on how you are making sure you are making a difference!

Google+ Hangouts and Skype = Low cost, potentially high-impact virtual outreach
Discussion Session
Moderated by Jim Wharton and Jason Robertshaw

Google+ Hangouts and Skype are flexible and affordable tools for reaching (potentially huge) audiences. This session will discuss using these tools from the ocean perspective: where we’ve had success and how the use of Hangouts, Skype and similar online outreach tools could evolve.

The role of social media in marine science education and outreach: strategies and success stories
Discussion Session
Moderator Alex Warneke

In this session, we will discuss the important role played by blogs and other social media in marine science education and outreach. The discussion will focus on case studies, strategies for effective outreach, and struggles faced by bloggers.

Back to Class? Distance Learning and Continuing Ed. for Marine Professionals
Discussion Session
Moderated by Allison Besch, Duke University

Environmental professionals and marine scientists have a variety of options for continuing education including conferences, professional meetings, and professional development courses. Let’s look at how technology can facilitate distance learning and what might be the best way to reach a new audience of learners – or to find a way to continue learning if you are mid-career and looking to acquire new skills. We’ll discuss The advent of MOOCs (massive open online courses) and the pros and cons of flipping the classroom, teaching via social media and other distance learning technologies, and how these resources can help connect students to marine resources when travel is not an option.

Filling the Void
Discussion Session
Moderated by Dave Bard and Rachel Brittin, Pew Environment Group

Environmental journalists at the major dailies and other influential outlets are becoming few and far between. The NYT recently dismantled its environmental desk and its Green blog is a thing of the past. As pressures mount for stretched journalists, environmental and science communications professionals today need to truly be a jack of all trades to succeed. How do we keep up with the fast-paced changes of the digital age and leverage new tools and tactics to help us effectively reach a more wired set of target audiences?

Strategies for Facilitating a Global Exchange of Marine Data and Conservation Techniques
Discussion Session
Moderated by Steve Diggs (Scripps Institute of Oceanography) and Kate McClellan (

This session will discuss marine data and how it is being or can be shared. First, the government houses large repositories of tax-payer funded research data, but no successful data sharing policy has been adopted. At the same time, smaller sets of data and research have been assembled by different institutions and organizations to make more accessible to those outside academia. One example of this can be seen with marine conservation technologies. Marine conservation solutions and technologies have been developed and tested to address a wide range of issues (e.g. MPAs to recover from overfishing, TEDs to release sea turtles from fishing gear, etc.) around the world. However, it is difficult to get the methods and results of these attempts into the hands of people who need them. This is due, in part, to a breakdown in the chain of science to policy makers, managers, and stakeholders, caused by difficulty finding and accessing relevant information from published journals or reports. In addition, although these marine conservation problems have unique characteristics at each location in which they occur, often there are lessons that can be learned and applied from the successes and failures of attempted solutions, from one location to another. How can information on tested solutions and technologies be communicated across the science-management chain and communicated to communities facing similar problems across the world? What databases or tools exist to share marine data and conservation techniques? Are there marine conservation issues that can be identified where shared databases would be useful?

Science and Advocacy: Is there a line, and when should you cross it?
Discussion Session
Moderated by  Emily Frost, Smithsonian Institution

To advocate or not to advocate? And what does that mean anyway? Many scientists and communicators have very strong opinions about whether scientists/organizations should push for policies, or whether they should serve as an objective, unbiased voice. Plenty of science out there has its own compelling conservation implications, but is it enough to do the science, and maybe communicate it? Should we be going further? How can you communicate science that presents compelling conservation messages without crossing over into advocacy? Can scientists be both bearers of objective truth and champions for action or policy? Whether you pump policy directives out all day or can’t touch Congress with a ten-foot pole, lessons from both communication directives can be used and shared across the board.

Applying Apps – Putting mobile technology to use in the field
Discussion Session
Keene Haywood (University of Miami) and Allie Wilkinson

This discussion focuses on the rise of mobile technology, how it has affected the work of people in the field, both professionals and non-professionals alike, and how it has opened the door up to more citizen science opportunities. How can we use different mobile tools or create our own? What are examples of apps that users find useful? What innovative uses of technology are currently available for mobile devices?

Add Comment Register

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>