Outreach is critical in the sciences and can take many forms. It is especially important in weather and climate because of their complex nature and direct impacts on society. Unfortunately, climate change science has 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 and learning which sources to trust (i.e., identifying misinformation) are more important now than ever.
Interviews for local media outlets, public lectures, social media posts are all forms of outreach, many of which I have participated in (list in my CV). One of the most rewarding outreach activities a scientist can do is to work with the K-12 students. One year, my wife and I offered to give a presentation to 4th graders on “how we measure the weather”. It turned into 6 consecutive presentations to each 6th grade class! The school also had events on 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. When you get a chance, check out Skype a Scientist, which I’ve only done twice so far but looking forward joining up again soon!
Outreach can also take the form of professional service. Much of my career has been centered around service and service-based research. Science-based service activities that I am involved with include the following:
- 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)