TEX Year in Review: 2016

Category: Uncategorized

In 2017, TEX will expand the number of projects we support, develop new ways to advance community science, and raise funds to sustain and grow our impact. Even as we look ahead, the TEX team would like to thank you and celebrate what we’ve accomplished together in 2016.

 

Community Impact

TEX has launched nearly 40 projects where Earth and space scientists are working with communities to make a positive local impact. Impacts included reducing exposure to harmful chemicals in Denver, CO; developing strategies to mitigate future heat impacts in Washington, DC and Brookline, MA; developing a renewable energy portfolio in Hermosa Beach, CA; and designing plans to keep regional food distribution centers in the greater Boston, MA area accessible and functional even in the wake of floods.

Map of all TEX projects as of 2016

 

Scientist Engagement

Over 220 AGU members and other scientists have been involved in TEX projects, including the Resilience Dialogues pilot and Project Launch Workshop.

 

TEX Projects

TEX launched 9 new projects in 2016, and completed 15 projects that have positively impacted about 3 million people. Click here for a list of new projects and the impact they will have in their communities once complete.

 Completed TEX projects have impacted over 3 million people. In 2016, 15 TEX projects were completed. Each project has had an impact on its respective community that is consistent with their local priorities. Click here for a complete list.

 

Resilience Dialogues

In 2016, TEX served as collaborator and co-lead in the Resilience Dialogues. Through facilitated online conversations with climate experts, the Resilience Dialogues helps community leaders understand their local climate risks and opportunities and identify the most appropriate tools, strategies, resources, programs and data sources to manage the risks and leverage the opportunities. The Resilience Dialogues is an innovative collaboration that pulls together leaders from the federal government, regional networks, and non-profit organizations. The Resilience Dialogues generates new TEX projects, builds new partners, and engages new communities and scientists in new ways.

 The Resilience Dialogues is supported by a $250,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation.

 

The Project Launch Workshop

In 2016, TEX developed a workshop to guide scientists and community leaders through our process for connecting local-scale priorities and geosciences, and developing actionable, impactful projects at that interface. Twelve communities participated along with 12 facilitators and 70 AGU scientists. 

The communities that participated were:

  • Annapolis, MD
  • Colebrook, NH
  • Evanston, IL
  • Hayward, CA
  • Marin County, CA
  • Missoula, MT
  • Ontario, CA
  • Reno, NV
  • San Francisco, CA (Municipal Transportation Agency)
  • San Francisco, CA (Office of Resilience and Recovery)
  • San Mateo County, CA
  • Santa Cruz, CA

Participants in the 2016 Project Launch Workshop

 

New Partners

TEX Community Leader, Bob Hart of Kennedale, TX speaks to TEX partners during a Science Impact Round Table. Photo credit: Gary Wagner/www.garywagnerphoto.com

The Thriving Earth Exchange wouldn’t be possible without a network of partners that help AGU and TEX connect to community leaders from across the United States and internationally. We continue to expand this network of partners at home and abroad.

New organizations that TEX engaged with in 2016 include:

  • Adapting to Rising Tides (San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission)
  • NASA DEVELOP
  • National League of Cities (NLC)
  • International City and County Management Association (ICMA)

Engaging Students

Many of the scientists working on TEX projects have included their students – both graduate and undergraduate. Projects supported by students in 2016 include Brookline, MA, Granite City, IL, and Midway, GA. You can read about this work in the Eos article, “AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange Links Science with Small Towns.”

In 2016, TEX began exploring opportunities to engage more students and early career scientists in community science.

TEX piloted partnering scientists with a student mentee. While the scientist receives support for his work, the mentee gains on-the-ground experience relating science to local issues, and insights from a seasoned mentor beyond their existing network. The TEX Hermosa Beach CA project is currently piloting this new effort.

TEX conducted a workshop in the Engaged Scientist Series at University of Colorado Boulder on developing strong scientist/community partnerships. Twenty geoscience graduate students learned how to connect with communities and scope actionable, impactful projects in this hands-on workshop.

 

Community of Practice

Scientists and community leaders discussing community science at the TEX networking reception. Photo credit: Gary Wagner/www.garywagnerphotos.com

The TEX networking reception for community science raised awareness and interest in community science and its strategic importance. Over 200 people attended including scientists, community leaders, and TEX partners.

TEX helped to organize and connect three scientific sessions focused on community science at the AGU Fall Meeting – including over 100 different papers. One paper analyzed the trend in community science related talks and documented an ever-increasing number of talks.

 

TEX in the News

2016 was a stellar year for community science and the Thriving Earth Exchange – and news outlets took notice.

National Geographic published an article on Dr. Karim-Aly Kassam’s work addressing climate change impacts to ecological calendars in the Pamir Mountains region of Afghanistan and Tajikistan. See “Climate Change is Making Calendars Run Amok” by Karen Emslie.

The TEX-Amazon Web Services grantee, OpenAQ, was featured in an Eos article chronicling the origins and mission of the world’s first open access, open source international air quality data hub.  See “Closing the Air Quality Data Gap in the Developing World” by Kathleen Pierce. You can visit the OpenAQ platform here.

Three scientists engaged in TEX projects were featured in an article in Nature about how their science is making a direct impact on communities. See “Volunteering: Pro bono science” by Amber Dance.

The Resilience Dialogues announcement featured substantial coverage including a White House Office of Science and Technology blog post, White House fact sheets on Launching the Resilience Dialogues and Highlighting Opportunities for Building Community Climate Resilience Across the Nation. Coverage by AGU included a national press release and an article in AGU’s Eos titled “AGU’s TEX Program to Lead Climate Effort Launched by White House.”

Finally, in his New York Times blog, Dot Earth, Andy Revkin highlighted TEX in his blog: “Can Networked Knowledge Help Communities Thrive on a Turbulent Planet?” The post highlights TEX as a growing effort meeting the need among communities for science-based solutions to pressing issues.

 

Learning from TEX

TEX is recognized as a thought leader in community-science, and has been invited to share successes, lessons and strategies with several other organizations. TEX staff have shared TEX stories and lessons learned at meetings throughout the country including the Entomology Leadership Summit, AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Meeting on Climate Change and Human Rights, the Natural Hazards Workshop, Southern California Association of Governments, National Environmental Monitoring Conference, Emerging Leaders in Science and Society Workshop, the Colorado Watershed Summit and the Wiley Executive Seminar.

 

Looking Ahead to 2017

Since its inception, TEX has worked toward its AGU Centennial Goal: By 2019, TEX will launch 100 projects, catalyze 100 shareable solutions, and impact the lives of 10 million people. In 2016, TEX began to look beyond that goal. To grow beyond 100 projects, TEX is working to find new, scalable ways to launch and advance projects and find funding to support and grow the program. We will begin sharing our work to help others launch their own TEX-inspired projects. Look out for more workshops, shareable tools and resources, and a new community of practice centered on community science.

Thank you for your support as we work to leverage Earth science for the benefit of humanity, one community and one project at a time.

 

 

New TEX Projects

  • Atlanta, GA: Developing an Atmospheric Monitoring and Research Station
    Once complete, this collaboration will result in the creation of a research program with clear community benefit and an operational earth science laboratory that supports practical research projects in air quality, weather and climate change.
  • Berlin, MD: Restoring a Local Pond for Recreational use
    Health risks and maintenance costs associated with land historically operated as a chicken processing plant will be redeveloped into a park for the town’s 4,500 residents. 
  • Brandywine, MD: Interpreting Local Air Quality Data to Support Pollution Monitoring
    Residents will be able to recognize and understand the environmental health impacts of local air quality and pollution levels, thereby improving their ability to engage with industry groups and local legislatures as informed local advocates.
  • Chelsea, MA: Synthesizing Climate Vulnerability Assessments
    A comprehensive strategy for analyzing all climate impacts upon the City of Chelsea holistically will enable the city to be proactive in addressing its risks, thereby protecting vulnerable populations and infrastructure.
  • Hermosa Beach, CA: Exploring Renewable Energy Options|
    Hermosa Beach will be able to pursue its carbon reduction goals knowing which renewable technologies are feasible, and their associated costs.
  • Jackson, WY: Protecting a Crucial Stream
    The community will understand best management practices for reducing nutrient flows to protect and restore Fish Creek, an economic lifeblood and water source for its 22,000 residents and the Teton County.
  • Kennedale, TX: Evaluating Water Quality and Flood Risk
    The community will have a cost-effective strategy for redeveloping a polluted stream and industrial area into a park, while protecting the drinking water source of more than 500,000 residents.
  • Las Vegas, NV: Assessing Drought Risk and Vulnerability
    The city and its residents will be able to use scientifically sound scenarios and adaptation strategies to design a sustainable and resilient water program, including infrastructure, programs and policies that manage water storage, delivery and use.
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Improving a Carbon Inventory
    More detailed data about where carbon is coming from and how it is being produced will help identify the most efficient ways to reduce carbon emissions, monitor compliance, and incentivize friendly competition or allow carbon trading.

 

Completed TEX Projects

  • Boston, MA: Assessing Flood Risk of Food Distribution Centers
    Detailed vulnerability maps of projected coastal flooding will help people better protect existing distribution centers and access routes, and facilitate the development of more resilient strategies for regional food distribution. This makes it more likely that people in and around Boston will have food even in the aftermath of a major flood.
  • Boulder, CO: Deeping a City-Wide Commitment
    Over 80 staff from 20 departments are using the same climate change forecast and developing complementary climate mitigation and adaptation goals. Project leads are developing a framework for integrated scenario planning to present to city leaders.
  • Brookline, MA: Building Community Resilience to Extreme Heat
    Town policies can be enacted and practices implemented to protect the people and communities most vulnerable to extreme heat, and to reduce urban heat islands.
  • Coral Gables, FL (Resilience Dialogues)
    The community recognized climate-related vulnerabilities and opportunities, prepared to apply and use scientific expertise in its resilience planning, identified relevant resources, and connected with scientists and resilience practitioners.
  • Denver, CO: Assessing Unhealthy Air in Homes
    Four predominantly low-income neighborhoods in Denver were able to test their homes for Radon and dangerous organic compounds and are raising awareness of the health-risks associated with indoor air quality.
  • Dubuque, IA (Resilience Dialogues)
    The community recognized climate-related vulnerabilities and opportunities, prepared to apply and use scientific expertise in its resilience planning, identified relevant resources, and connected with scientists and resilience practitioners.
  • Ethiopia, Horn of Africa: Modeling Water Availability and Use
    An understanding of available water resources, future demands, and climate change impacts will facilitate sustainable development of the Ziway Catchment and better water resource use to avoid future conflicts.
  • Eugene, OR: Setting Ambitious Greenhouse Gas Targets
    The town is developing a new plan to reduce its emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by more than seven percent per year.
  • Knoxville, TN (Resilience Dialogues)
    The community recognized climate-related vulnerabilities and opportunities, prepared to apply and use scientific expertise in its resilience planning, identified relevant resources, and connected with scientists and resilience practitioners.
  • Los Angeles, CA: Addressing Community Concerns about Fracking and Earthquakes
    The Baldwin Hills Community Advisory Panel has the knowledge they need to represent themselves with city officials and oil company representatives, and the negotiations have become less contentious and more productive.
  • Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)/ Kansas City Metro Area (Resilience Dialogues)
    The community recognized climate-related vulnerabilities and opportunities, prepared to apply and use scientific expertise in its resilience planning, identified relevant resources, and connected with scientists and resilience practitioners.
  • Midway, GA: Designing a Weather-Ready City Hall
    Proposed building enhancements included a green roof, recycled flooring, rain gardens, grass pavers, low light pollution and recycled steel. This collaborative pro bono project motivated a local engineering firm to also donate the work needed for final certification of the building plans.
  • Minneapolis, MN (Resilience Dialogues)
    The community recognized climate-related vulnerabilities and opportunities, prepared to apply and use scientific expertise in its resilience planning, identified relevant resources, and connected with scientists and resilience practitioners.
  • OpenAQ (Amazon Web Services): Opening up the World’s Real-Time Air Quality Data
    With access to data about local air pollution, city officials can make better decisions and residents can advocate more effectively for improved air quality.  New science questions can be explored with the integrated data.
  • Pittsburgh, PA: Improving a Carbon Inventory
    More detailed data about where carbon is coming from and how it is being produced will help identify the most efficient ways to reduce carbon emissions, monitor compliance, and incentivize friendly competition or allow carbon trading.
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