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.


Caroline Stallard – Why Community Science Has Everything to Do With Med School

By Caroline Stallard This blog is part of Students in Community Science, a series of Thriving Earth Exchange articles featuring students who have had internship, educational or volunteer experiences in community science   As a second year medical student, I am constantly presented with opportunities to build my resume, contribute to science and give back to […]

Ashley Collier-Oxandale – Reflections on Taking Part in Community-Based Science as a Graduate Student

By Ashley Collier-Oxandale This blog is part of Students in Community Science, a series of Thriving Earth Exchange articles featuring students who have had internship, educational or volunteer experiences in community science.   Several years ago, I began working on a Thriving Earth Exchange project with Taking Neighborhood to Heart (TNH2H), a nonprofit in Northeast […]

Abhishek Rao – Why I’m Hooked on Community Science

By Abhishek Rao This blog is part of Students in Community Science, a series of Thriving Earth Exchange articles featuring students who have had internship, educational or volunteer experiences in community science.   My involvement in Thriving Earth Exchange began in the fall of 2016 as an early career scientist on a Thriving Earth Exchange […]

Resilience Dialogues Mid-Year Review

By Melissa Goodwin Communities across the United States – and globally – are negatively affected by climate change. As these impacts grow in the future, communities must make plans and decisions to reduce their vulnerability. If done well, this planning makes a community not only less vulnerable to climate impacts, but also more resilient. Across […]

Climate Action Goes Local

Climate change is a big, global problem. But climate action—the concrete, specific steps necessary to mitigate and adapt to climate change—is happening very much in the local sphere. Take, for example, the Global Climate Action Summit being held in San Francisco, Calif. this September. The event, timed to fall midway between two international climate meetings […]

What is a “Catalyst for Change”?

Here’s a guest post from our partner and Director of Flood Forum USA, Harriet Festing: You’ve probably heard the phrase before; it’s become a cliché. But we want to introduce you to some real-life catalysts for change: our Flood Forum USA group leaders! Here’s what they’ve done: Susan Liley and Paula Arbuthnot from the Citizens […]

Brandywine, MD-TEX Project Featured in WIRED Article

The Brandywine, MD – TEX project was featured in an August 2, 2018 WIRED article by Mejs Hasan: “This Community is Advocating for Air Quality – With Science.”   “KAMITA GRAY AND her mom have spent a lot of time volunteering at Brandywine Elementary School, helping kindergarteners learn to write their names and making sure […]

Ocean City Flooding Making a Splash in the News

Photo courtesy of Suzanne Hornick Ocean City Flooding, a flood group established to unite residents and property owners concerned about flooding and to coordinate efforts related to flood mitigation, continues to garner attention from local news outlets related to its efforts. In a Science Nature article from June 18th, Ocean City is mentioned as topping […]

It’s Time to Shake Science’s Superiority Complex

Science isn’t the only way of knowing. How can we capture that nuance in our work and on our T-shirts? By Raj Pandya, Director, Thriving Earth Exchange   One of the most important tips I’ve learned from the Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) and from working with communities is not to take science too seriously. As […]

Fighting for justice where geoscience meets public health

Grappling with divisive issues, collaborators from multiple fields find common purpose   TEX helps geoscientists and communities work together to solve problems. While it may be unconventional in the geosciences, this type of collaborative approach isn’t quite so new or radical in other fields. Indeed, the approach we call community science grew, in part, out […]

Bridging Information Gaps and Fulfilling User Needs

Bridging Community Information Gaps June 25, 2018 The impact of climate change is substantial, and indeed, climate-change induced droughts, heatwaves, floods, forest fires, and changes in disease transmission are already observable. These impacts vary considerably based location, and as such, cities and communities face the burden of dealing with the impacts and adapting to climate […]

Bridging Communities: The First Centennial Project

This blog was originally posted on the AGU blog, From the Prow.  Written by Carol Finn, AGU Past-President and United States Geological Survey Geophysicist, and Raj Pandaya, AGU Thriving Earth Exchange Program Director   During the last century, discoveries in Earth and space science have changed society’s understanding of the world around us and improved economic security […]

Leveraging Expertise, Environmental Justice Community Nets a Big Win

$1.2 million allocated to projects to mitigate impacts of waste transfer station in predominantly African-American neighborhood Evanston, Ill., a diverse Chicago suburb bordering Lake Michigan, faces a number of issues around environmental degradation and extreme weather. The problem faced in one predominantly African-American, middle-lower income neighborhood has been particularly vexing. For decades, residents there have […]

What’s the ticket to a successful community meeting? Make it personal.

Virginia Beach partnership engages residents and community leaders in discussion of flood risk Most community science projects are driven and sustained by a handful of dedicated individuals. But to make a real and lasting impact, the engagement can’t end there. In most cases, the small group at the heart of a project must find a […]

Fragility and Resilience – Environmental Remediation as a Community Challenge

Brad Geismar, 2018 TEX Community Science Fellow for Colebrook, N.H. Located in northern New Hampshire close to the Canadian border, Colebrook, N.H. is a small town like many New England towns. Many of the town’s residents have ties to the community and its beautiful outdoor spaces that span generations. Unlike other small New England towns, […]

How I See TEX in 2038

TEX Advisory Board Member Kevin Noone (Stockholm University) imagines community science 20 years hence. As part of an exercise to identify strategic priorities at a recent meeting of the TEX Advisory Board, members took a moment to imagine what TEX might look like 20 years from now. We were floored by the seriously inspiring ideas […]

Ocean City Flooding to Co-host Community Meeting on flooding, June 6th

Dr. Tom Herrington, Associate Director of the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University, will speak about flooding issues impacting Ocean City at the next Fairness in Taxes (FIT) meeting in Ocean City on June 6th. The meeting will be co-hosted by OC Flooding and FIT. The meeting is open and free to the public. Stay […]

Colebrook, NH Community Science Fellow Completes Sampling and Presents to Local High School Students

By Bradley Geismar, TEX Community Science Fellow, Colebrook, NH On Friday, April 20th, the students of Colebrook had an opportunity to learn about the complicated task of environmental remediation during a presentation on a decade-spanning clean-up operation at the Town’s municipal landfill. During the presentation, the students learned about the crucial link between scientific awareness […]

Barnesville, OH submits joint proposal and holds joint community meeting

The Barnesville-TEX team, as part of the GeoPolicy Connect cohort developed at the GeoPolicy Connect meeting in October 2017, accomplished a number of activities since their collaboration launched in January 2018. Dr. John Stolz of Duquesne University has had a chance to visit Barnesville twice from his base in Pittsburgh, PA. Not only has he […]

Salt Fork State Park Barnesville-Cambridge, OH Joint Conference – April 28, 2018

  By Jill Antares Hunkler, Community Lead, TEX-Barnesville, OH project A special conference was hosted by participants in the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange (TEX) Barnesville and Cambridge, OH projects at Salt Fork State Park Lodge and Conference Center on April 28, in southeastern Ohio. The purpose of the event was to inform residents […]

Doing Community Science Around the World: How TEX is Going Global

By Natasha Udu-gama, TEX Senior Specialist The American Geophysical Union’s mission is to promote discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity. About five years ago, our senior leadership acknowledged that our members were great at doing the first part of this mission – making discoveries in a wide array of scientific […]

Reflections from the National Environmental Justice and Training Program Conference

By Sarah Wilkins, TEX Project Manager Who has a voice? Who has the power? And whose stories are we missing? These are three of the many thought-provoking messages scribbled in my notebook from last week’s National Environmental Justice and Training Program Conference in Washington, D.C. They surfaced during a presentation about place and people-based education […]

San Juan College Students Release 2 New Videos on Makerspace

Luke Renner’s Media Arts & Design students produced 2 video segments on the proposed makerspaces. Video #1: Overview of the makerspaces featuring SJC’s Luke Renner and Judy Castleberry and EPA CUPPS’s Michael Burns. Video #2: San Juan County inventor Frank Santoro discusses his building material invention and the future opportunities for inventors at the San Juan […]

Recipes for a ‘Potluck’ Model of Science Engagement

By TEX Director, Raj Pandya In a previous blog, I talked about the loading dock, the dominant model for science engagement and applications since WWII. Honestly, it isn’t really fair to call the loading dock a model for science engagement. It is more about disengagement: the loading dock assumes that scientists just need to produce […]

Partner Profile: Earth Connections

Through service-based learning, offering students the chance to learn while making an impact The geosciences are projected to have a workforce deficit in the coming years—that is, more job opportunities than people to fill them. At the same time, there are a plethora of communities facing challenges that could benefit from geoscience tools and data. […]

Geoscience for Adaptation Decision Support: Fulfilling User Needs

Seeking to improve local decision support, effort finds more gaps than coverage in decision-relevant information By Shahan Haq The international climate science community has made tremendous strides in our understanding of the climate system. We can make more precise measurements from space, while we make quicker measurements from new technologies such as drones and ground […]

A Gap to Fill: Putting People First in Solving Environmental Issues

By Hannah Hagemann The sites I worked at as a geologist for an environmental consulting firm were eerily similar. All located within low income or working-class neighborhoods in Los Angeles, the residents were immigrants and people of color, who face systematic barriers to higher education. Their neighborhoods were industrial; positioned next to railroad tracks, landfills, […]

Barnesville, OH Project Featured in Local Paper

The Barnesville, Ohio project was featured in The Columbia Dispatch on March 21, 2018 in an article titled, “Gubernatorial candidate tours southeastern Ohio fracking and mining sites”:   A March 9 fossil fuel extraction tour of Southeastern Ohio, guided by area residents included Dennis Kucinich, candidate for governor, who requested the tour to gain a […]

Resilient Communities Projects Launch Across the Nation

TEX and the National League of Cities collaborate to help seven cities elevate climate resilience goals TEX is proud to partner with the National League of Cities’ Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI), which recently announced seven cities selected to join this year’s Resilient Communities cohort. In this program, each city will set its own climate sustainability […]

Beyond the Loading Dock

By Raj Pandya, TEX Director In a recent blog, I asked about how to stand up for science. That led me to another question: Why do we even need to stand up for science? Also: How did we get here, and what do we need to differently to move forward? I think the need to […]

Making the Conversation Work

Insights on facilitating community-scientist interactions from an experienced bridge-builder Here at TEX, we’re in the business of building bridges. For us, that often means taking stock of what each side—the community and the scientists—has and what it needs, and finding a way to join the two in a way that meaningfully moves things forward. But […]

Reflections of a TEX Fellow

By Abhishek Rao Editor’s Note: TEX created a Community Science Training/Fellowship opportunity for the Hermosa Beach, CA project in Fall 2016. While TEX projects typically include scientific partners who are more established in their field, we saw an opportunity to engage a student or early career scientist on one of our newer projects. By inviting […]

Cal Poly Pomona Students Process Ontario, CA Water Samples

Undergraduate students enrolled in undergraduate research at Cal Poly Pomona are getting some applied lab experience processing water samples collected from Ontario’s constructed wetlands. Under the supervision of Dr. Shelton Murinda, Professor in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department, students conduct fecal indicator bacterial counts using the IDEXX system.  Dr. Shelton Murinda adds “the students […]

Introducing the TEX Statement on Integrity in Community Science

Introducing the TEX Statement on Integrity in Community Science Community science depends on partnerships that harvest the benefits of many perspectives. To provide a foundation for effective, mutually beneficial and ethically conducted community science projects, TEX developed its Statement on Integrity in Community Science. In addition to guiding how projects are conducted, the statement serves […]

Translational Research or Community Science?

By Thushara Gunda, recent Vanderbilt University PhD graduate A reflection on my dissertation journey as part of an interdisciplinary research project with community partners. Over the last few months, I have been thinking a fair bit about whether my interdisciplinary, dissertation research journey reflects the principles of translational research or those of community science. In […]

How Can We Elevate Community Science within the Scientific Community?

How Can We Elevate Community Science within the Scientific Community? If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably not too much of a stretch to surmise that you may be in the ‘choir’ when it comes to community science. As an organization devoted to helping scientists and communities work together to solve problems, it’s been gratifying […]

Standing Up by Sitting Down

I have a sticker on my laptop that says, “Stand Up for Science.” Nice, but how do you really stand up for science? One way to stand up for science is to be visible, en masse, with your friends. You can organize marches or join existing marches. The March for Science may be the most […]

Breathe Brandywine Forum: Air Quality, Pollution & Your Health

On Saturday, February 3, 2018, the TEX-Brandywine project held its first community education and engagement forum at the Union Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Brandywine, Maryland. The 4-hour event served as an opportunity for concerned citizens in Brandywine and surrounding neighborhoods to engage with and hear from peers, potential political representatives, and recognized subject […]

San Juan College and Drexel University students shape the vision and design of the makerspaces

Students from Luke Renner’s Digital Media Arts and Design Program class have been busy assembling promotional materials to support the design and construction of two 1,000 square foot makerspaces.  The materials highlight the benefits of the makerspaces, intended uses of the makerspaces, costs, partners, and vision for community engagement.  Luke and Judy plan to use […]

Community-Driven Science: Science of the Future?

By Kelly Sanks Ph.D. Candidate in Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences at University of Arkansas   My lifelong goal is to conduct scientific research that makes a tangible impact on people’s lives. In a time of environmental change, it has never been more pressing to bring scientific research to action. I have been fortunate to have […]

Community Science with Indigenous Communities

By Raj Pandya, TEX Director   As much as anything, I hope that TEX can be a group of people learning and doing community science together. Learning together means sharing ideas, even ideas that aren’t perfect, so that we can improve them together.  In that spirit, I offer this blog of imperfect ideas, framed by […]

Evanston prepares for public meeting to discuss air quality monitoring

In order to determine the environmental impact of their waste transfer station, the Evanston team plans to hold a public meeting describing the project strategy with city aldermen, scientists, and its environmental justice task force in attendance.  Although project has stalled due to budgetary issues, the team has made progress in a number of areas. […]

Introducing Adaptation Analytics: Connecting Data with Decisions

There’s data, data, everywhere—but does it apply to me? When it comes to climate, that’s the million-dollar question. While scientists deploy sophisticated on-the-ground sensors, satellites, crowdsourcing and big data tools to gain insights on climate change and its impacts, getting relevant, local data remains a perennial puzzle for communities. TEX’s Adaptation Analytics investigation grew out […]

Peer Learning Approach Builds Competence and Confidence

Sometimes you want a custom-designed project just for you. Sometimes you want to learn from the experiences of others. At TEX, our peer-learning cohorts are designed to strike the right balance—and deliver results. The idea is simple: Instead of running each project as a totally separate entity, why not launch several projects around a particular […]

Science to Action Session Provides Inspiration for Future of Science and Public Engagement

By Rebekah Lee, Boise State University This blog was originally posted on the AGU Blog, The Bridge: Connecting Science and Policy. Lee’s post is part of a series written by student bloggers from the AGU Fall Meeting.    You have probably heard the public calls for more public engagement in science. Many of the issues […]

2017 Year in Review

The model of fostering productive partnerships between scientists and people who aren’t professional scientists—what we call community science—continues to gain traction in ways big and small. Scientists across many disciplines are demonstrating a commitment to making research relevant, accessible and usable. Communities are reaching beyond traditional boundaries to seek new sources of information, learn from […]

A Community Science Renaissance at Fall Meeting

By Sarah Wilkins Attendees at Fall Meeting this year were greeted with the question: “What will you discover?” Between local field trips, AGU TV, e-lightning sessions and talks featuring cutting edge Earth and space science research, attendees had vast opportunities to discover new ideas and perspectives across many disciplines. The TEX team was no exception. […]

Making Space in New Orleans: What living with water teaches about community science

By Raj Pandya, Director, TEX In the early part of the 20th century, progress in New Orleans looked like transforming marshes into city blocks using engineered drainage.  Neighborhoods that had been plagued by diseases associated with standing water became livable, which was especially good for the poorest residents—usually African American—who lived in the lowest areas […]

What Brought Eight Community Leaders to a Scientific Meeting

Think of AGU’s Fall Meeting and the first impression that comes to mind is probably “huge.” Coming in at a close second is probably “science.” So why would community leaders from the far reaches of the Arctic to the marshes of the Louisiana bayou wade into this 24,000-person whirlwind of Earth and space science? Because […]

Lessons in Resilience: Living with Water in New Orleans

Water—and sometimes, flooding—is a fact of life for residents and planners in the city of New Orleans. Water has shaped the city’s infrastructure, history and culture for 300 years. In a four-hour field trip organized as part of AGU’s 2017 Fall Meeting, journalists, public information officers and others got a first-hand look at the water-related […]