SYMP 24 - The Evolving Role of Environmental Scientists In Informing Sustainable Ecosystem Policy and Management

Friday, August 10, 2012: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Portland Blrm 253, Oregon Convention Center
Ariana Sutton-Grier, University of Maryland and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Melissa Kenney, University of Maryland
Ariana Sutton-Grier, University of Maryland and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
As we face the challenges of the 21st century, including biodiversity loss and climate change, there is a growing need for science to inform decisions and policies that sustain ecosystems and the valuable services they provide. Managing ecosystems for multiple uses, such as food production and water resources, is an ongoing challenge. Yet as scientific understanding grows and advances become increasingly complex, the communication gulf between scientists and decision makers seems to grow ever wider. As a result, it is important for scientists to know how to effectively translate their science to inform decisions and how their research can address pressing societal needs. Yet the role of science in informing management and policymaking can seem like a black box to many ecologists. It is also difficult for scientists to identify logical entry points for applying expertise to critical decisions. In this symposium, a variety of participants from government agencies, academia, and non-profit organizations will discuss the evolving role of science in policy making through describing challenges and success stories. This symposium brings together a diversity of scientists from a range of backgrounds organizations to talk about their experiences communicating and translating science to inform decision-making. We have structured this symposium around 5 main questions that our speakers will address: 1. What has been the most challenging part about being a scientist in a governmental or non-profit setting? What has been the most rewarding? 2. What have you learned about the role of science in environmental management and policies? 3. What are some of your success stories where your scientific expertise made a difference? What about experiences that you would consider a “failure,” and/or where science was not considered in a decision-making process? 4. What opportunities would you suggest for scientists outside of government to gain experience communicating science in support of policymaking? How can environmental scientists influence ongoing decision processes? 5. What advice do you have for scientists who want to ensure that the science they conduct is policy-relevant?
Policy Section, Public Affairs Committee
8:00 AM
 The role of science in policymaking and ecosystem management
Melissa A. Kenney, University of Maryland
8:20 AM
 Scientific input and the policy process: The case of atmospheric pollution
Richard V. Pouyat, USDA Forest Service; Richard Haeuber, US Environmental Protection Agency; Kathleen Weathers, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
9:40 AM
9:50 AM
 Science and advocacy for sustainable agriculture at an NGO
Noel Gurwick, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center
10:30 AM
 From the field to the policy arena: Linking science to action
Colin Quinn, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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