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Alaska Science Communication Workshop


Project start
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Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

Project details

Science / project summary

The PIs will host a workshop for early and mid-career polar researchers with the goal of improving the communication skills of Arctic researchers so that they can effectively convey the goals and results of their research to rural and Alaska Native audiences. These residents are already keenly aware of the influence of western science over policy-making in the Arctic, yet often feel disconnected from the researchers working in their back yards. The Alaska Science Communication (ASC) training will help NSF-funded researchers working in Alaska to better convey their research to people living in Alaska and to better connect with Alaskan communities, thereby, strengthening relationships critical for future work. This 3-day workshop will dovetail western science approaches with Native knowledge as integrated tools for understanding and communicating environmental change in the Arctic. The science communication training program will focus on providing scientists with practical skills for presentations, approaches for working with and within Alaska communities, and using storytelling skills for communicating science in local communities. The workshop will be led by an integrated team, including an Alaskan science communication expert, Alaska Native journalist, Arctic natural scientists and a cultural anthropologist. The workshops will include participation by Alaska residents and Alaska Natives. The workshop will be held in the Fall 2016 in conjunction with the Sitka Whale Fest, which is often attended by scientists. Travel funding for eight scientist participants is included, but up to twenty scientists will be accommodated. The Sitka setting will benefit from the proximity of Mt. Edgecumbe High School, providing participants with hands-on experience and feedback for communicating science to students at the state-operated Sitka boarding school, which has historically provided secondary education to students from over 90 villages across Alaska. The budget includes funding for two student interns to work with NSF-funded researchers in the field. These students will be selected following the workshop via a selection process that includes the PI, workshop participants and Alaska Native elders.