SS 22 - The Action Ecologist: Building the Ecologists' Guide to Working with Communities

Wednesday, August 8, 2012: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM
A105, Oregon Convention Center
Ana Elisa Pérez-Quintero, University of Puerto Rico - Río Piedras and SEEDS
Megan M. Gregory, Cornell University; Cynthia L. Wright, Texas A&M University; and Sara M. Gabrielson, Vassar College
Beatriz Otero, University of Michigan
Kellen A. Marshall-Gillespie, Chicago State University
This Special Session will review the Ecologists’ Guide to Working with Communities. The Environmental Justice Section is coordinating the draft guide, collaboratively gathering information including experiences from 2011 ESA. Through a survey and group discussions, we asked: What should be the role of ecologists within community efforts? How active can we be in local and global issues as ecologists? How can we, as ecologists, communicate with the public and engage communities in pertinent scientific issues that affect society’s well-being? These and other questions were discussed during the Worskhop, in which EJ-impacted community organizations contributed perspectives on how ecologists can best collaborate with communities. Participants in the survey and Workshop mentioned examples of engagement with urban, agricultural, coastal and indigenous communities, among others. During 2011-2012, we followed up with these ecologists to identify best practices and lessons learned. We also constructed several detailed narratives, told by “active ecologists,” of how they navigated memorable and challenging projects that engaged communities in defining goals and research questions; collecting and interpreting data; and applying new knowledge to enhance community well-being and environmental sustainability. In this Special Session we’ll discuss ongoing challenges, success stories and lessons learned from collaborations between ecologists and communities. Our goals are to 1) Present and discuss findings from last year’s survey and group discussions; 2.) Define formats, concepts, and responsibilities for completing the guide, and 3.) Further develop the Action Ecologists Network through interactive audiovisual materials and maps of where these ecologists are working.
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