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Welcome to the Thriving Earth Exchange’s (TEX) blog space. The purpose of the blog is to inspire thinking, open-participation and discussion on particular topics or themes. We encourage you to leave comments on any blog post by clicking through to each post and sharing your thoughts at the bottom.


Meet our April 2022 Community Science Fellow Cohort

Thriving Earth Exchange is pleased to announce our April 2022 regional cohort of Community Science Fellows! They’ll be working with communities from across the state of Wisconsin to launch impactful community science projects. We are thrilled to be working with University of Wisconsin’s UniverCity Alliance and EPIC-Network to launch a cohort of community science projects in […]

Meet Our April 2022 Cohort of Community Leads in Wisconsin

AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange, in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s UniverCity Alliance and Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities Network (EPIC-N), will support 14 projects across the state of Wisconsin. As participants in the first state-based cohort of Thriving Earth projects, the community leads in the April 2022 cohort will work with Community Science […]

An intercontinental coalition to create a resilient community

Residents and volunteer scientists collaborate across continents to build flood resilience    Ellicott City, Maryland, is part of the Baltimore metropolitan area, but this charming, historic mill town on the banks of the Patapsco River can feel like a step back in time.  Unfortunately, homes that are a treasured legacy of the city’s historic roots […]

Meet Our New Partner: Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA)

At their core, many community science projects revolve around one critical question: What decisions can make life better in this community? It’s a tough question, made tougher by the increasingly complex economic, social and environmental issues many towns and cities are facing today.  It also happens to be one of the questions government finance officers […]

Community Science as a Force for Healing

In the past two years, the interwoven issues of climate and environmental justice have started to get increasing attention in the scientific community. It’s about time. Or maybe it’s too late. Maybe it’s 150 years too late to prevent climate change and the impact it will have on those who are both most vulnerable to […]

Getting a Read on Radon Through Participatory Research: How a Community’s Questions Shed Light on Indoor Air Quality in Denver

A home is supposed to be a refuge – a safe place to rest in a busy, unpredictable world. But what do we do when home doesn’t feel so safe – when you find out harmful pollutants have been there for years, or even decades? For Denver residents, this hypothetical question became real when they […]

Images of Change

During AGU’s 2021 Fall Meeting in New Orleans, we were honored to meet many community members who are working to make the region’s neighborhoods healthier, more connected and more resilient. Here’s a glimpse of what we saw. Community lead Julia Kumari Drapkin stands in front of a football field in Gentilly, now the site of […]

Meet our February 2022 Cohort of Community Leads

Thriving Earth Exchange is pleased to announce our February 2022 cohort of Community Leads! They will work with Community Science Fellows to launch impactful community science projects. Some projects in this cohort are launched in partnership with the American Meteorological Society, and some are with communities who are members of the Anthropocene Alliance and ecoAmerica. […]

Meet our February 2022 Community Science Fellow Cohort

Thriving Earth Exchange is pleased to announce our February 2022 cohort of Community Science Fellows! They’ll be working with communities from across the United States to launch impactful community science projects. We are pleased to partner with the American Meteorological Society to launch this cohort, and welcome communities from the Anthropocene Alliance network. Stay tuned […]

“We’re Beyond Being Studied”; Learnings from New Orleans Communities

How can scientific institutions like AGU be better partners to communities? AGU’s 2021 Fall Meeting took place in New Orleans, Louisiana. While we were there, Thriving Earth Exchange visited several communities where Thriving Earth community science projects have taken place or are still in progress. We met community leads, learned more about their projects and […]

New Year, New Faces: A Q&A with Blake McGhghy and Maria Sharova at Thriving Earth

Thriving Earth Exchange recently welcomed Community Science Fellow coordinator Maria Sharova and manager of community lead engagement Blake McGhghy , and since then, they’ve been vital members of the team. To kick off  a new year of commitment to community science, we held a Q&A with them to learn more about them – and their […]

2021 Thriving Earth Exchange Year in Review

2021 followed a year no one could have expected. Yet even as we continued to respond and adapt to the new reality of the ongoing pandemic, Thriving Earth Exchange found innovative ways to advance community science and spark new collaborations in the United States and around the world. This year, we launched a record number […]

Video: Community Science Perspectives 2021

Thriving Earth Exchange is to share our 201 video featuring photos, written testimonials and videos from many of our wondering Thriving Earth Exchange participants — including community leads, scientists and Community Science Fellows, and partners in the U.S. and around the world! A huge thank you to everyone who contributed for the opportunity to hear […]

A Dedicated Team and a Deep Well of Data: Uncovering the Mystery of Uranium in Glastonbury, Connecticut

When Glastonbury, Connecticut’s health officials and town leadership suspected uranium contamination in residential wells, they partnered with Thriving Earth Exchange to investigate. The project uncovered key information the town needed to advise residents, summed up in a thorough report written with the community in mind – all amid the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.  What’s in your water? Glastonbury, a community with a history of agriculture and fruit orchards, is a town of about 35,000 people, and a suburb of the city of Hartford. “We take a lot of […]

Meet Our New International Partner: Association of Young Geologists and Environmentalists of Senegal (AJGES)

Thriving Earth Exchange and AJGES team up to bring community science to Senegal  In the latest expansion of Thriving Earth’s impacts beyond the U.S., a new partnership with a group of scientists in Senegal provides an opportunity to bring the community science approach to local environmental issues in the West African nation. The Association of […]

Share Your Community Science Perspective for #AGU21!

Share your Story! Have a passion for community science? Share it with us to be featured at Fall Meeting 2021! Each week until Nov. 29, we’re sharing a new prompt to get your creative juices flowing. This Week’s Prompt: Why Is Community Science the Future of Science and Society? Tell us where community science going. […]

Thriving Earth Exchange and ecoAmerica partner to support community-led projects, climate leadership across the U.S.

AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange and ecoAmerica are thrilled to announce a new partnership to support projects that help communities respond and adapt to the impact of climate change on public health, the environment and infrastructure. Thriving Earth Exchange connects communities with scientists and technical experts to help them explore priorities related to natural resources, natural […]

Meet our October 2021 Community Science Fellow Cohort

Thriving Earth Exchange is pleased to announce our October 2021 cohort of Community Science Fellows! They’ll be working with communities from across the United States to launch impactful community science projects. Three projects in this cohort are launched in partnership with the National Park Service, and five are with communities in the Anthropocene Alliance network. […]

Community Insights: Seeking Quiet, Residents Question a Quarry

Nestled between the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Coast, Clark County, Washington, is a largely rural, forested area rich in both natural beauty and natural resources. Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to the sweeping river views and bountiful fishing afforded by the Columbia and Lewis Rivers, while industrial interests are drawn by the region’s stores of […]

Scientist Spotlight: Inspiring Institutional Change

An assistant dean reflects on the role of academic administrations in advancing community science   For environmental chemist Christopher Spiese, PhD, science doesn’t stop in the lab. “If I think about my scientific heroes, I think about people who did excellent science in the lab and brought it out into the wider world,” says Spiese, […]

Partner Community Insights: Creating a garden for comfort and connection

Small town seeks to cultivate fruitful connections in the wake of disaster   The Australian town of Tallangatta knows a thing or two about change and resilience. Tallangatta, population 1,100, today sits on the edge of Lake Hume. In the 1950s, the entire town was relocated to its current spot, when the dam creating Lake […]

Scientist Spotlight: Cultivating a Culture of Service in Science

For environmental scientist Katherine Meierdiercks, collaborating with communities is part of the job    You could say coming to Siena College as an assistant professor was a watershed moment for watershed expert Katherine Meierdiercks, PhD. Having long approached science as an expression of service, Meierdiercks found in the college the mix of encouragement, opportunities and […]

Complementary Strengths: EPIC-N and Thriving Earth Exchange Embark on a New Partnership

Capacity is often in short supply in local government. It can be hard to know where to turn to find much-needed support, useful resources, and innovative ideas, particularly when it comes to research and science. Two organizations are partnering to change that. The Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities – Network (EPIC-N) program and AGU’s […]

Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions and American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy & Resources

Supplementing this project work, FACS acquired pro-bono legal support through the ABA-SEER/Thriving Earth Exchange partnership to develop a legal brief on the use of public rights away for the installation of solar or other renewable energy. The purpose of the brief is to provide guidance for public and private entities. The legal brief will examine […]

Community Insights: Taking action on the front lines of climate change

Anchorage is Alaska’s largest city, with 300,000 residents spread out over an area about the size of Delaware. Part of Dena’ina Elnena (Dena’ina Country), home to members of the Eklutna and Knik tribes and many nationalities, it is a place with deep indigenous roots and a complex cultural and political history. Nestled between the Cook […]

Education through engagement: community science in the classroom

Back-to-school is an exciting time, whether for elementary-school students or PhD candidates. As classes across the nation start up this month – some in-person, some virtual – we have an opportunity to take a fresh look at the relationship between our classrooms and our communities. With issues like health and climate top of mind in […]

Meet our July 2021 Community Science Fellow Cohort

Thriving Earth Exchange would like to extend a warm welcome to our July 2021 cohort of Community Science Fellows! They’ll be working with communities from Alaska to the Bahamas to launch impactful community science projects. Stay tuned for exciting news from this group!   Tatiana Eaves (she/her) is an ecologist by training who currently works […]

Cultivating resilient communities in wildfire country

A public education campaign helps residents take control in the face of disaster The 2020 River Fire. Photo by Jamie Tuitele-Lewis, RCDMC The 2020 wildfire season was one of the worst on record, and, thanks to unusually dry, hot and windy conditions in the West, the 2021 season is predicted to be just as grim. […]

Scientist Spotlight: Disrupting the scientific “echo chamber”

Reflections from a Thriving Earth Exchange scientific partner    Win Cowger, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Riverside, first served as a Thriving Earth Exchange community scientist for a project in Staunton, Virginia. Residents in this small town nestled in the Shenandoah Valley wanted to create a more environmentally sustainable community. Cowger’s expertise […]

Where Are They Now? Drying Out a Flood-Prone Community

As the waters retreat, hopes rise in Ocean City, New Jersey   While the community science process itself can be instructive and empowering, often the greatest impacts of a project come months or years later. To dig into what happens after a community science project ends, we spoke with Suzanne Hornick, founder and chair of […]

Scientist Spotlight: Data on Your Side

After lending a hand in over 10 community science projects, Steven Emerman has some thoughts about what it means to be a scientific partner.   There was the time he answered lawyers’ questions about flooding for 8 hours in a grueling legal deposition. And the time he helped determine that flood map inputs had been […]

America’s Science Corps: Ideas from Thriving Earth Exchange

By Raj Pandya   There have been two great editorials in the last month that, together, call for a community-driven approach to science at a national scale. The first, Science’s New Frontier, describes an American Science Corps that would place as many as 20,000 early career scientists in underserved rural and urban communities. The second, Biden’s Science Challenge, points out how […]

Community Insights: Mapping the pollution to create the solution

The Tar Creek in Ottawa County, Oklahoma, runs directly through a 40-square-mile Superfund site, full of giant mounds of toxic mining waste—a fine, white sand-and-gravel mix known as “chat,” easily blown away by the breeze—that is polluting the entire county’s drinking water, yards and fields.  Local Environmental Action Demanded (LEAD) Agency, a community-led non-profit environmental […]

Meet our April 2021 Community Science Fellowship Cohort

We’re excited to welcome and introduce our newest cohort of Community Science Fellows. Beginning this spring they will work with communities across the United States to develop and implement new community science projects.   Abra Atwood (she/her) is PhD Candidate in Earth Sciences at the University of Southern California, working with Dr. Josh West. Her work […]

Looking in the Mirror

by Angela M. Chalk   Mirrors are a reflective surface that provides a clear image. They give a true representation of what is seen. The experience I share is my story as a Community Science Fellow with the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange. This journey began as a community leader to solve a problem […]

Engaging as a Community Scientist

by Edith Newton Wilson, PhD, FGS   Are you a scientist who misses being out in the field? Do you want to recapture that feeling of being involved with something that matters? Is Zoom becoming a chore instead of a window to the world? Perhaps it’s time to move outside of day-to-day work tasks and […]

Communicating Your Work

Sure you think your community science project is the bee’s knees–you’re passionate about it! That’s why you got involved in the first place. But what about your friend, your neighbor or your legislator? To reach them, you’re going to have to communicate, and do it well.  We’ve been amazed at how creative and engaging our […]

Community Insights: Keeping the Kiamichi River Clean

The Kiamichi River, in southeastern Oklahoma, is a pristine 177-mile river with headwaters in the Kiamichi Mountains, on the Oklahoma border with Arkansas. But it won’t stay clean if the state has its way: lawmakers want to divert the flow of the Kiamichi to meet the water needs of the Oklahoma City area, and possibly […]

Greening up for the greater good

by Kathleen Pierce   Many people already have an image of some of the neighborhoods that make up South Central Los Angeles County, California, such as Watts and Compton, from their portrayal in movies and TV. But look beyond the screen and you’ll find a vibrant, forward-thinking community where residents are rolling up their sleeves […]

A community science approach to funding science

By Raj Pandya What if, instead of funding scientists to work in and with scientifically underserved communities, we gave community organizations money and let them choose the science projects, and scientists, they wanted to work with? Thriving Earth Exchange is going to try this out, in a small way, with our new Neighborhood Fund.    Introducing the Thriving Earth Exchange […]

Meet our NEON Community Science Fellows!

Thriving Earth Exchange and NEON Launch New Community Science Partnership We’re excited to welcome our newest cohort of Community Science Fellows, and first in partnership with the National Ecological Observation Network (NEON). This cohort is comprised of field staff across 12 of NEON’s domains. Beginning in February 2021, they will be conducting outreach to communities […]

Meet our January 2021 Fellows!

Three Scientific Societies Launch New Community Science Initiative Welcome our newest cohort of Community Science Fellows! This exceptional group is part of a cohort led in partnership with AGU’s Thriving Earth Exchange, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) and the Association for Science & Technology Centers (ASTC).  Together, our three organizations seek to bridge our networks […]

2020 Thriving Earth Exchange Year in Review

2020 Thriving Earth Exchange Year in Review 2020 was a year of change in ways none of us anticipated. Along with the rest of the world, the Thriving Earth Exchange team and our network of fellows, community leaders, scientific partners and collaborators were challenged to accept, accommodate and adapt as the COVID-19 pandemic transformed the […]

Community Insights: “Small but mighty” Park City leads the way on climate

“Small but mighty” Park City leads the way on climate by Kathleen Pierce Park City, Utah, is famous for its winter sports and glitzy Sundance Film Festival. But when the more than 3 million annual tourists and vacation home owners leave, the city’s 8,300 year-round residents don’t relax. Instead, they are busy accomplishing bold climate […]

Meet Our New Partner: National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON)

Image: The view from NEON’s field site in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy of Battelle, NEON Program. Meet Our New Partner: National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) Thriving Earth Exchange and NEON join forces to bring powerful ecological data to bear on community priorities When we think of challenges like sea level rise or air pollution, […]

Community Science Tips

Starting Community Science Right: One Key Word and Five Key Questions By Raj Pandya, Program Director, Thriving Earth Exchange People often ask us what it takes to get a community science project off the ground. To me, it all comes down to one key word: priorities. Hands down, the most important thing about community science […]

Meet the EPIC-Network

New: Thriving Earth Exchange participants have special access to EPIC’s Member Commons for trainings, support and other resources.   The Educational Partnerships for Innovation in Communities – Network (EPIC-N) connects university resources to the needs of local governments and communities to improve the quality of life for all involved. This happens through application of The […]

Surviving a flood: a community perspective from Pensacola, Florida

Image courtesy of Gloria Horning Thriving Earth Exchange’s partnership with Higher Ground’s Anthropocene Alliance has led to almost a dozen projects in communities impacted by flooding, including coastal communities facing the impacts of climate change in the spaces where they live, work, play, and pray. Gloria Horning, a community leader from Pensacola, Florida recounts her […]

Community Insights: Flint, Michigan

Taking a ‘village’ approach to Flint’s future by Kathleen Pierce   Flint, Michigan, is more than a water crisis. It’s a community. While the nation’s attention may have shifted away from the tragedy and injustices of its water struggles, community leaders aren’t giving up on the city or its kids. Case in point: the Sylvester […]

Meet our SPEC Fellows

Welcome our newest cohort of Community Science Fellows! As part of our Science, Policy, and Engagement Cohort (SPEC) sponsored by the Moore Foundation, this outstanding group will guide community science projects in partnership with community leaders and scientists across the U.S. with a special focus on media and policy engagement. Meet the Fellows! Thriving Earth […]