What’s with the egret and Terrebonne Parish in this month’s newsletter?

We know we’ve posted a lot in the last week, but when our chairperson-elect picked this photo to start our April newsletter, we just had to share a backstory with you. Check your email tomorrow for the newsletter featuring this photo and more!
Settling to roost
Egret in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana | Photo by Shawn Harquail/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
What’s with the egret and Terrebonne Parish?
Well, this spring, the C&E Section has developed a strong connection with science communicators based out of, and interested in, Terrebonne Parish, which is roughly two hours south of New Orleans, right out on the Louisiana Gulf Coast. Section chairperson, Bethann Garramon Merkle, was one of 42 science communicators of all sorts selected to participate in the inagural OceanDotComm Science Communication Conference hosted by the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON).
In March, 2018 this dream team of experienced communicators gathered for a working conference that resembled a scicomm version of a bioblitz. 
The impetus for the conference was a combined investment in 1) hosting a doing conference that expanded and challenged scicommers’ skills, and 2) infusing optimism into the dialog around coastal erosion, land subsidance, and other major ecological issues facing residents of Louisiana’s bayous.
With #CoastalOptimism as the foundational theme, in less than a week, nearly 40 communication and engagement products and projects were launched and/or completed. The products are top-notch and probably represent several years’ worth of work ( had they been done by any institution or research group’s in-house team on a typical production schedule).
From podcasts, blog posts, magazine articles, and films to fiber arts, murals, video games, breakout rooms, and infographics, the variety is inspiring. And, the degree of collaboration between teams, including sharing audio clips, photography, interview subjects, translation skills, etc., was something we can all aspire to with our own work.
Interactive infographic developed during #odotcomm18 by Megan Hepner, Paige Byerley, and C&E chairperson Bethann Garramon Merkle.
You can see these projects, and get involved with some of the on-going ones, by checking out #odotcomm18 on social media channels (FBTwitterInsta).
C&E at OceanDotComm
We’re pretty excited that Section members Bethann Garramon Merkle, Katie Burke, and Virginia Schutte (of LUMCON), were among the participants. Virginia was a key organizer and facilitator.*
Katie and Virginia have both contributed to our #MySciComm Series, and they are both involved with scicomm training sessions planned for #ESA2018. We’re hoping to connect other OceanDotComm participants with Section members through their planned contributions to #MySciComm and our new Lit Review series this year. There is also an opportunity to deepen the C&E Section’s relationship with LUMCON thanks to #ESA2018 happening in New Orleans.

*OceanDotComm was the brainchild of LUMCON’s director Craig McClain, and LUMCON’s Associate Director of Education and Outreach, Murt Conover, completed the visionary scicomm trifecta that brough OceanDotComm to life. If you’d like to know more about OceanDotComm, we encourage you to contact LUMCON and follow them on social media!


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