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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.


Agency testing reveals no harmful minerals in Yacolt Mt. Quarry samples

A recent study by the Southwest Clean Air Agency (SWCAA) and EPA has found no erionite present in 12 locations sampled in and around the mine site. Read more here:

Meet Our New Cohort of Community Science Fellows

Expanding the reach of community science through thoughtful leadership training     The Thriving Earth Exchange Community Science Fellowship has quickly gained steam since its launch last summer. Our first cohort of fellows launched in September and they’re already making great progress matching communities with scientific partners (more on that below). In addition, we have […]

Meet Our New Collaborator: California Strategic Growth Council

Thriving Earth Exchange will join the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) in a collaborative effort to enable vulnerable communities to work with leading Earth scientists to make their communities healthier, more resilient and more sustainable in the face of accelerating climate impacts. SGC is a cabinet-level body chaired by the Director of the California Governor’s […]

Thriving Earth Exchange Celebrates 100 Projects

This month Thriving Earth Exchange is launching the 100th community science project since our program started six years ago. What a milestone! We would not be here without YOU—the communities and scientists who have worked together to achieve impacts that are greater than anyone could achieve alone. Thank you. What does 100 projects look like? […]

San Diego Students ID Trash in Chollas Creek

Check out this post from Indraneel Kasmalkar, Community Science Fellow on the San Diego, Chollas Creek project: We scheduled a trash assessment run for Tuesday Oct 15. There were about 18 elementary school students with us, and the four of us (Kristen, Kirstin, Carly and me). Kristen gave the students school iPads to fill out […]

Expert Hydrologist Helps Flood Victims in Lawsuit

By Harriet Festing, Anthropocene Alliance Richwood, Texas: Dr Steven H Emerman was touring Richwood on Tuesday. He was in town to provide expert testimony for a lawsuit on behalf of the Flood Victims of Richwood: Dr Emerman is helping three members of Higher Ground with lawsuits and appeals. He is well qualified to do so. […]

Clark County WA team attends Erionite Workshop

On October 1, 2019 Marie Ogier and Alyssa Shiel attended a workshop in Bend, Oregon on Erionite and Naturally Occurring Asbestos (NOA). The workshop addressed the permitting of Eriniote and NOA as well as how it’s analyzed in a lab and how to manage the risks associated with them. Both reflected on how serious exposure […]

Tips for Scientists: Getting Started in a Community Partnership

By Sarah Wilkins, Project Manager “How do I get started in a collaborative partnership with a community group?” is one of the most common questions we get from scientists. The question is typically motivated by a desire to do good—either by sharing one’s research outcomes or through identifying a local problem that could benefit from […]

Thriving Earth Exchange Honored with Power of A Summit Award

By Anne Johnson Thriving Earth Exchange was one of six associations selected to receive a 2019 Power of A Summit Award, the highest honor of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). The award recognizes associations that go above and beyond their everyday mission to undertake initiatives that benefit America and the world. In 2014, […]

What is Community Science? A Blog and a Quiz.

By Raj Pandya, Director, Thriving Earth Exchange   In U2’s 1983 EP “Under a Blood Red Sky,” Bono introduces a song by saying “There…there’s been a lot of talk about this next song. Maybe too much talk. This song is not a rebel song, this song is Sunday, Bloody Sunday.” It’s a great intro to […]

Empowering Communities Affected by Fracking

Residents gain knowledge and credibility in quest to understand the effects of unconventional oil and gas development   Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a topic that has divided residents across many U.S. communities over the past decade. Fear is often at the heart of these divisions—fear that oil and gas development activities will disrupt residents’ […]

Thriving Earth Exchange Launches First Cohort of Community Science Fellows

Program aims to equip a cadre of leaders to expand the community science movement Facilitating community science isn’t just about managing a project. It’s about creating a space where people with ideas and knowledge from many sources can come together and identify the questions that need to be asked, how to get the answers and […]

Missoula MT Project Featured in The Daily Climate

Heat is deadly—even in Montana. But the city of Missoula is doing something about it. Missoula’s forward thinking climate planning offers lessons for other cities and towns facing similar conditions. By Laurie Mazur   When you think of cities impacted by the urban heat island effect, you probably think of steamy Houston or the concrete […]

Wheatley Elementary School 4th Graders Create a Book

Fourth grade students at Phyllis Community School have published a book on the effects of the I-10 corridor on the Treme Neighborhood in New Orleans. Together with partners at Public Lab, Thriving Earth Exchange and Claiborne Ave. Alliance, the students learned all about the environmental impacts of the corridor on their neighborhood (both historic and […]

Trees With A Purpose

At a community meeting on August 9th at the Evans Community Center, Community Leader for the Melbourne, FL project, Camille Hadley, introduced the concept of “trees with a purpose” a joint program with Keep Brevard Beautiful. Camille spoke to a crowd of 19 people about how choosing native and/or fruit bearing trees can help mitigate […]

Notes from the Field: Gulfport, MS

From Katherine Egland: Gianna M. Cothren, Renee Collini and Christopher Anderson came out during a rainstorm for an extremely productive meeting with a small community focus group on Friday, August 2 at Forrest Heights Baptist Church, located at the foot of the Turkey Creek Bridge in Gulfport. Residents were eager to be engaged in shoring […]

Note from The Field: 7th Ward, New Orleans, LA

On July 20 and 24 our team carried out our first survey of residents of the 7th Ward. The survey asked residents their opinions about tree planting initiatives, rain gardens, neighborhood concerns such as crime and flooding, the effects of heat and hot weather, and other aspects of the physical and social environments in the […]

Notes from the Field: Ontario, California

The public is enjoying the amenities the Mill Creek Wetlands has to offer. Whether walking, jogging, riding the trails either by bicycle or by horseback, or simply exploring nature and the habitat; families, friends, groups as well as individuals are taking delight in the water quality facility. Recently, the City of Ontario conducted a tour […]

Mongolian Delegation Explores Community Science

By Anne Johnson Thriving Earth Exchange recently had an opportunity to spend time with a group of Mongolian professionals who were visiting the U.S. as part of a professional exchange program. The fellows’ focus was on methods to collect and disseminate data on air quality and pollution in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The program, funded by the […]

Managing Managed Retreat

By Anne Johnson After repeated floods, some communities are ready to pack up and move to higher ground. What does it take to make that happen? Despite some uncertainty, in many places climate predictions are pretty clear on one thing: the floods are probably going to get worse, not better. There are many ways to […]

Public Lab and Thriving Earth Exchange Join Forces

By Anne Johnson Two organizations with different origin stories share a vision for community science. What can we accomplish together? You know that inflection point when kids go from “parallel play”—being in the same sandbox but exploring completely separate imaginary worlds—to actually playing together, inventing games and rules and creations? Thriving Earth Exchange and Public […]

Professor, students seek solutions to urban flooding issues

by David Staudacher  

Barnesville team presents water quality results at a community meeting

On 1 July 2019, a community meeting set up at Ohio Eastern University by the Barnesville, OH Thriving Earth team to discuss water quality results from area hydraulic fracturing attracted over 50 participants. Professors from both Yale and Duquesne Universities, including Thriving Earth Exchange scientist, Dr. John Stolz, presented results of their research on effects […]

Bring Community Science to Your Classroom

Want to expose your students to the community science model? Thriving Earth Exchange is here to help. The past few years have brought increased attention to community science, in which scientists and communities work as equal partners to address community priorities. As this awareness has grown, university faculty and leaders have reached out to Thriving […]

Thriving Earth Exchange Honored with ASAE’s 2019 “Power of A” Summit Award

WASHINGTON — The American Geophysical Union (AGU) has been awarded a Power of A Summit Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE). ASAE’s highest honor, the Summit Award is given to associations that go above and beyond their everyday mission to undertake initiatives that benefit America and the world. ASAE members represent 7,400 organizations of […]

Bulacan, Philippines team vet hazard maps in communities

The Bulacan, Philippines team is getting close to having hazards maps vetted with the 7 communities of Bulacan province along Manila Bay. The hazards simulation that Joy Santiago and Jake Mendoza planned to do in June will occur in the next couple of weeks with the expectation that they will have sufficient information for AKAP-KA […]

Goldsboro team commences project with in-person meeting

(Featured photo courtesy of Bobby Jones) On Thursday, June 27th, Jenny Phillippe, met up with Bobby Jones, Larsene Thomas, and the Downeast Coal Ash Coalition in their first in-person meeting on coal ash contamination in Goldbsoro. The all day meeting included various community meetings, meetings with local nonprofits, and a walk along the Neuse River. […]

Notes from the Field with Adrienne Katner

LSU School of Public Health and Partners Monitor the I-10 Environment with Phillis Wheatley Students By Adrienne Katner LSU School of Public Health and Partners Monitor the I-10 Environment with Phillis Wheatley Students

Higher Ground Communities Discuss Flood Risk Maps

  June 7, 2019 Together on a Zoom call on Friday, June 7th, the Higher Ground communities and Thriving Earth Exchange team came together to discuss initial map outputs from the mapping work Michelle Hummel is doing across four U.S. communities. Michelle shared some initial maps using individual assistance claims data from FEMA for Port […]

Guest Blog: A ‘Social Impact Statement’ on Understanding Flood Risk

Image caption: Updated flood maps for De Soto, MO. Courtesy USACE St. Louis District. (Click here for full-size image)   By Paula Arbuthnot Paula Arbuthnot is co-founder of Citizens’ Committee for Flood Relief and serves as a community lead for a Thriving Earth project in De Soto, Missouri. On June 6, 2019, The Army Corps […]

Hallandale Beach, Florida, Project Team Hosts Lunch & Learn for City Staff

Featured Image caption: L-R: Josh Papacek (University of Florida/IFAS); Ashley Smyth (University of Florida/IFAS), Colin Polsky (Florida Atlantic University); Alyssa Jones Wood (City of Hallandale Beach), Willm Martens-Habbena (University of Florida/IFAS) (Photo courtesy of City of Hallandale Beach)   The Hallandale Beach, Florida, project team achieved their first major project objective on May 8, 2019: […]

Introducing the Community Science Fellowship

Our new fellowship program offers the chance to build your skills and make a difference by facilitating a collaborative project to address critical community priorities.   Do you have an interest in managing diverse teams, working across disciplinary boundaries and connecting science to action? Thriving Earth Exchange’s new Community Science Fellowship offers an opportunity to […]

Priorities, Not Needs: Reframing Science Engagement

By Raj Pandya   A mayor once said to me, “I am tired of big cities having priorities and small communities having needs.”  I’ve also heard one of our Thriving Earth Advisory Board members, Michael Burns, say, “Poor communities are poor, not stupid.” That is why, at our project launch workshops or in our scoping […]

Citizens’ Committee for Flood Relief Talks Hydrology

On Monday May 13th, leaders Susan Liley and Paula Arbuthnot of the group Citizen’s Committee for Flood Relief (CCFR), held a 2.5 hour long meeting with members from their Thriving Earth Exchange science team, Robb Jacobson (USGS) and Dan Hanes (University of St. Louis). Robb and Dan talked about general hydrology concepts and how hydrologists […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: Arlington, VA

Thriving Earth Exchange’s Community Choice Aggregation Arlington project team had our kick-off meeting on Saturday, May 4! The five local members met in person in the club room at a team member’s apartment and were joined remotely by Lily from Washington state via Skype. We’ll be coordinating via Skype, WhatsApp, and in person meetings to […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: Cambridge, OH

By Leatra Harper Our team deployed Pisces samplers to measure hydrocarbons in regions in Southeastern Ohio impacted by unconventional shale drilling and waste disposal facilities in early May. The samplers were re-designed since our last deployment and are much less expensive to build. Our community outreach has broadened as others have heard about this project […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: Barnesville, OH

By Jill Antares Hunkler On April 22, 2019, Earth Day, the Barnesville, Ohio Thriving Earth Exchange team spent the day in the field in SE Ohio and were joined by Ted Auch of FracTracker Alliance. Water samples were taken at Cat’s Run, upstream and downstream of the Schnegg well pad, where last year’s blowout occurred, […]

May 2019 Notes from the Field: New Orleans, LA

A group of Louisiana State University environmental engineering students competed in the WERC Environmental Design Competition in Las Cruces, N.M. The team won second prize in the highly competitive Open Task for a project called Blight to Bioswales, which proposes to replace blighted lots in New Orleans’ lower 9th Ward with low-maintenance nature parks, engineering […]

Reflections on College, Capitol Hill and Community Science

By Zack Valdez Zack Valdez recently wrapped up a six-month contract position as Project Manager for Thriving Earth Exchange   Despite an early enthusiasm to engage and share science with people around me, in graduate school I was tucked away in a lab conducting research for a small cohort of scientists focused on peer-reviewed publications. […]

Exploring the Impact and Integration of Geoscience for Societal Benefit

By Natasha Udu-gama, Senior Specialist, Thriving Earth Exchange   Thrilled to get a chance to represent Thriving Earth Exchange internationally for the first time, and excited to return to a city I had enjoyed as a doctoral candidate back in 2012, I arrived at Arlanda airport with my bag laden with Thriving Earth paraphernalia and […]

Ideas for a Community Science Handbook

By Sarah Wilkins, Thriving Earth Exchange Project Manager What do people need to know when setting out to do community science? –This question was raised recently at a symposium I took part in at Citizen Science Association’s 2019 conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. As part of a five-person panel focused on the design and practice […]

Notes from the Field: April 2019

These project updates come straight from the communities and scientists we work with. Send your Thriving Earth liaison a quick update + photo and we’ll highlight your project in our next newsletter! From Melbourne, Fla.: Science liaison Mitchell Roffer recently made a trip to Capitol Hill to discuss ways to improve the National Flood Insurance […]

3 Take-aways from the 2019 National Environmental Justice Conference

By Zack Valdez The theme for the 2019 National Environmental Justice Conference and Training Program was Education, Learning, and Cooperation in a Diverse World.   It was inspiring and enlightening to witness the dedication to environmental justice issues on the part of the participating students, institutions and federal government representatives. Attendees exhibited a culture of […]

Eos Feature: Mapping Heat Vulnerability to Protect Community Health

By Kelly McCarthy and Zack Valdez Community leaders and scientists from two U.S. cities are combining public health data and heat maps to prepare residents for climate change–related health risks. As the global community celebrates World Health Day on 7 April, at AGU we want to highlight projects in two U.S. cities striving to make climate-related health […]

Update: Investigating Environmental Impacts of Land Reclamation Projects in Manila Bay Coastal Areas

From John C. “Warner” Carag, Community lead: Several things have occurred since our online meeting. The March 9-10 fieldwork in the community pushed through, but I did not join at the last minute due to a personal matter. Also, it was decided a few days before that only the core group would proceed with the […]

Update: City of Durango Community Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory

During 2018 and early-2019, the City of Durango Sustainability Coordinator, Imogen Ainsworth, worked with local scientists, Laurie Williams and Joanna Gordon Casey to conduct a Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory for the area inside Durango City Limits. In March 2019, after much collaboration, learning and some challenges, Imogen presented draft data to Durango City Council. […]

Guest Blog – The Tool for Climate Explorers

by Ned Gardiner and Fred Lipschultz Gone are the days when one needed a degree in computer science to understand climate history, projections and impacts. Since its launch, the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit (CRT) has provided information about changing climate-related risks alongside tools one can use to address those risks. Its newly updated Climate Explorer tool […]

A Partnership Founded in Asking, Not Telling

  By asking communities what they need, Thriving Earth Exchange and EPA’s College/Underserved Community Partnership Program (CUPP) have delivered expertise and lasting impact   It started, like so many things, with a chance encounter at a conference.   Mike Burns, an engineer working at the U.S. EPA, had launched a program to bring technical assistance […]

Notes from the field: March 2019

These project updates come straight from the communities and scientists we work with. Send your Thriving Earth liaison a quick update + photo and we’ll highlight your project in our next newsletter!   From 7th Ward, New Orleans: Raising Sensors, money, and trees in the 7th Ward: Yasmin Davis (pictured) and Kayla Frand installed sensors […]

Ten Tips for Listening

  By Raj Pandya, Director, Thriving Earth Exchange One of the most important skills in community science is listening. After all, the whole goal of community science is to understand how science can be used in ways that advance community priorities and shared values. Hard to do that if you don’t know what those priorities […]