Thriving Earth Exchange and Community Science: What’s Next?

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.


Thriving Earth Exchange and Community Science: What’s Next?

By Raj Pandya, Director, Thriving Earth Exchange Thriving Earth Exchange and Community Science: What’s Next? This year, Thriving Earth Exchange reached the goals set for the program as part of AGU’s Centennial: 100 projects in 100 communities, with over 100 scientists involved. In fact, we even got a little farther than that. So, how did […]

2019 Thriving Earth Exchange Year in Review

2019 Thriving Earth Exchange Year in Review   2019 marked important milestones for Thriving Earth Exchange and AGU more broadly. As AGU celebrated its Centennial by commemorating the past and looking to the future, Thriving Earth Exchange faced a deadline for meeting four benchmarks identified shortly after our program’s launch: to establish 100 projects, engage […]

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? […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Notes from the Field: February 2019

We’ve heard project updates are the #1 thing you want from our newsletter. Starting this month, we’ll have links to Notes from the Field, where you get updates straight from the communities and scientists we work with. This month, updates from Flint, Michigan; Cambridge, Ohio; DeSoto, Missouri; and Cicero/Berwyn, Illinois.

Lev Horodyskyj – Listening Across Barriers

Lev Horodyskyj is an astrobiologist and educational innovator formerly with the Arizona State University’s Center for Education Through eXploration.  He currently freelances and is developing his own cross-cultural science education projects.   By Lev Horodyskyj   I realized that I had stopped talking and that I was listening instead. I had no choice because I […]

World Bank’s GFDRR Understanding Risk Forum Planning Session for the Singapore Forum in 2020

By Natasha Udu-gama, Senior Specialist, Thriving Earth Exchange   AGU’s Fall Meeting is a flurry of events for almost everyone. In the midst of this year’s flurry, I had the opportunity to attend the World Bank’s Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) Understanding Risk (UR) Forum Planning Meeting for the next Understanding Risk […]

Achieving Change Together

By Julia Kumari Drapkin, CEO and founder, ISeeChange   The word “empowerment” is a loaded bit of language. For years, I’ve used this word to describe the tools, platforms, and methods we’ve developed at ISeeChange to “empower” communities in adaptation and decision-making. The science community liberally uses the word too: “empowering society through science,” “empowering […]

Thriving Earth Exchange: Reflections of a Five-Year-Old

By Raj Pandya, Kevin Noone and Carol Finn As we end 2018, Thriving Earth Exchange has developed a way to connect Earth and space science to meaningful community impact and is moving from start-up to scale-up. Thriving Earth Exchange can also amplify a larger movement toward community science.  It is customary to use the time […]

2018 Thriving Earth Exchange Year in Review

Thriving Earth Exchange emerged from a bold vision to better leverage science to benefit humanity through a more direct partnership between scientists and communities. Five years and more than 80 projects in, the phase of quiet experimentation is over. Thriving Earth Exchange, and the approach we call community science, has evolved, matured, and proved its […]

Haley Gannon – Translating a Pivotal Internship Experience into a Satisfying Career

By Haley Gannon 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.   When I first came to the Thriving Earth Exchange, I was relatively new to the idea of community science. My experience up […]

Shahan Haq – Adapting to Life after Adaptation Analytics: Reflection from an Intern

By Shahan Haq 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   During an atmospheric chemistry course I took a few years ago, the professor would pause his lecture before major discoveries in the […]

Babak J. Fard – Insights from an Interdisciplinary Community Science Experience

By Babak J. Fard 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.   The Brookline, Mass. Thriving Earth Exchange project “Building Community Resilience to Extreme Heat” started in February 2016 with several initial meetings […]

“Getting Woke”: One Scientist’s Experience of Confronting His Own Implicit Biases

By Raj Pandya   I try to do the right thing on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, and I recently had an experience that reminded me how even those of us who are trying to do the right thing make mistakes. I want to share that experience so that others can learn from it. […]

Angela Dapremont – How Studying Mars is Relevant to Helping Earth’s Communities

By Angela Dapremont 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   I was fortunate to have a unique Thriving Earth Exchange internship experience during the summer and fall months of 2015. I started […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 Pandya, 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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, […]