Outreach is critical in the sciences and can take many forms. It is especially important in weather and climate change science, both for their direct impacts on human society and to help us protect our natural environment. Unfortunately, climate change science become extremely polarized and politicized in recent decades (it didn’t used to be that way…go back 20 years and take a look!) Efforts into improving public understanding of how the Earth system works, the built-in complexities and feedback loops, and the ways to minimize the worst impacts of a warming climate on our way of life are more important now than ever.
One of the most rewarding outreach activities a scientist can do is to work with the K-12 students and teachers. One year, my wife and I offered to give a presentation to 4th graders on “how we measure the weather”. It turned into 6 straight presentations in one day to each 6th grade class! Other activities I participated in were Career Day (5th grade), Dinner with a Scientist (6-8th grade), and classroom demo on GIS and GPS (11h grade). In the past, I’ve also given teacher professional development workshops on GPS and using GIS in the classroom. Also, check out Skype a Scientist (https://www.skypeascientist.com/), which I’ve only done twice so far (3rd and 6th grade) but looking forward joining up again soon!
Outreach can also take the form of service. Thus far, much of my career has been centered around service, including invited public talks on topics relating to science, weather, climate change, sea-level rise, natural hazards, among others. Some of these are talks at federal, state, or local professional meetings. Others include presentations as part of the University of Delaware, College of Ocean, Earth, and Environment (CEOE) Ocean Currents Lecture Series and the Coast Day events, the inaugural Delaware March for Science and Our Earth event, and other types of panels and plenary sessions. I’ve also given workshops and real-time guidance to emergency management personnel during severe storms.
You’ll also find (if you look hard enough!) some media outlet interviews where I am quoted, such as in FactCheck.org, Delaware Public Media: Delaware’s source for NPR News, DelawareOnline – The News Journal, DelmarvaNow, Cape Gazette: Covering Delaware’s Cape Region, WRDE – Delmarva’s NBC Affiliate, WHYY.org, and several articles for UDaily – University of Delaware News Service.
Science and service memberships:
- Chapter Author (Coastal Effects), Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5)
- US Climate Variability and Predictability Program (CLIVAR) Predictability, Predictions, and Applications Interface (PPAI) Panel
- Delaware Resilient and Sustainable Communities League (RASCL) Science and Research Committee
- Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC) Advisory Committee on Climate Change (ACCC)
- Delaware State Hazard Mitigation Council
- Chair of Delaware Sea-Level Rise Technical Committee (2015-2017)
- Delaware Geographic Data Committee
- Delaware GIS Conference Committee (chair in 2003 and 2004)
- American Meteorological Society (AMS)
- American Geophysical Union (AGU)
- Association of American Geographers (AAG)