Reflections on College, Capitol Hill and Community Science

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.

     

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 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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

Science, Privilege, and the Princess Diaries…

By Raj Pandya, TEX Director   If you’ve read previous blogs, you know I’ve been thinking a lot about power, equity, and science. For me that means thinking about how being a scientist intersects with privilege – and what you can do with that privilege. I started with a premise, but it quickly became a […]

Community Voices Part 2: Standing Up Against a ‘War on Science’

Two ongoing projects illustrate what can be accomplished when community advocates partner with TEX scientists to amplify their voice. In this two-part series, hear community leaders’ perspectives on the ins and outs of working with scientists.    Part 2: Standing Up Against a ‘War on Science’ The environmental hazards facing residents in Brandywine, Md. are […]