So I’m really a geek scientist at heart. For all the effort I put into teaching and creating the right scenario for reaching the public with accurate science, the heart and soul of my efforts are rooted in the hard science of my college chemistry days.
I was in heaven at Cape May, New Jersey earlier this week. Partnership For the Delaware Estuary feels like my home, and 2013 Delaware Estuary Science and Environmental Summit is my family reunion. Yeah, I may be that odd-ball educator of younger than college people, but I’m still family.
And what a reunion! You know that major problem of Hurricane Sandy? Well there are folks who are looking at how we as a society can respond. Don’t quote me on the details exactly. I’m going to get some exact names and organizations miss-stated. But between EPA, DEP PA, DEP NJ, Army Corps of Engineers, USGS, DNREC, Rutgers, PWD, UDEL, DRBC, and a dozen other private and public entities, this scientific community is striving to find and document the information on how things are going and recommend what we can do about it.
Flooding in Delaware? Someone is looking at whether it would cost more to society to let it go as nature dictates, fight it with tooth and nail (and fail), or to plan out and assist a stepwise retreat. You know what? It will cost society less if the powers that be put money into a planned retreat.
New discovery? There are fresh water mussels throughout the Delaware River system. If there is a gravel bed under two feet of water, scientists and volunteers are consistently finding colonies of mussels. This is HUGE news because the mussels are filter feeders, and they are and have been cleaning the river water. Cheer! Celebrate! Join a volunteer mussel survey in your local river so that the big guys can plan where to collect seed mussels. Then they can determine where the habitat is healthy for starting new mussel beds. In the big picture of polluted water, expanding mussels in the riverbeds will move our clean waterways up to the next level of health.
Communication? Scientists know how to communicate with each other but get a failing grade on communicating their information to the general public.
That’s my niche, found and identified. Put this science information in perspective, find the best message connected with an action, and help people change their behavior.
Help you change your behavior.
Change my behavior.
“The earth provides air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat and space for us to live in. Each of these areas is challenged, and we must change our behavior so that the earth can continue to provide for us.”
Catch you later. Maybe at my collaborative STEM/Sustainable Science class looking at stormwater on a school campus.