Science Communication

Monica Peters 3MT contestant, Perth 2014The rise and rise of science communication in NZ is fascinating. This clearly acknowledges the importance of delivering technical information to a broader audience in understandable, engaging language and visuals. It’s a 2-way street: scientists spread their messages while informed community members can participate more effectively in decision-making that shapes our environment. In funding-speak, the public are no longer just ‘end-users’, they’re ‘action partners’.

I remind myself of this when I am presenting. Over the years, I have listened to some excruciating presentations and sat through scores of dull workshops. To improve my science communication skills, I decided the best approach is simply to practice, practice, practice, and practice some more. My local Toastmasters group (Ruakura Midway) has been a great help. Here is a list of my ‘practice runs’ in recent years with themess covering community environmental groups, environmental restoration and citizen science:

Competitions
3MT (3 Minute Thesis) October 2013
Originally an Australian invention, the annual competition was developed for research students – possibly to prevent them from becoming the most boring dinner party guests ever. The main questions to be addressed are: What are you researching? Why this topic? What are the values/outcomes of your research? You can view my winning presentation here

Public lectures
Sci café, Tauranga, Feb 2016
Nelson Science Society, Nelson, Feb 2016
Forest & Bird, Auckland Branch, Sept 2015
Landcare Networking day, Waikato, April 2015
Lake Sunnapee Protective Society (USA), Nov 2014
University of Florida Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences (USA), Nov 2014

Conference/Symposia Presentations
Ecological Restoration Australasia, Hamilton, Nov 2016
Science Communicators Association of NZ, Dunedin, Nov 2016
Forest & Bird Annual Conference, Wellington, June 2016
European Citizen Science Association, Berlin(Germany), May 2016
National Wetland Trust, Nelson, Feb 2016
Wilf Malcom Institute for Educational Research, Wellington, Dec 2015
Science Communicators Association of NZ, Wellington, Nov 2015
NZ Ecological Society, Christchurch, Nov 2015
Environmental Defense Society, Auckland, Aug 2015
Citizen Science Association, San Jose (USA), Feb 2015
Whau River Catchment Trust, Auckland, May 2016
Department of Conservation, Wellington, Feb 2014
National Lake Management Society, Tampa (USA), Nov 2014
Yellow-Eyed Penguin Trust, Dunedin 2013

Panel sessions
Sanctuaries Hui, Hamilton, Aug 2016
Freshwater Policy symposium, Wellington, Sept 2016
Ecological Restoration Australasia, Hamilton, Nov 2016

Workshop facilitation
Citizen science meets ecological restoration (with NZ Landcare Trust), Auckland and Dunedin, Sept 2016; Nelson Feb 2016; Palmerston North, April 2016
Best practice for environmental monitoring, Nelson (National Wetland Trust Conference), Feb 2016
Growing citizen science in New Zealand, Christchurch (NZ Ecological Society Conference), Nov 2015
Invasive Fish Management Workshop, Hamilton (Lake Ecosystem Restoration Group), Sept 2015

Articles in the popular press
Blundell, S. 2015. Here’s lookin’ at ya. NZ Listener, October 8.
Peters, M. 2013. Measuring restoration success. Wet’n’Wild, Issue 35 Spring, p 9. National Wetland Trust.

Academic publications
Links to my academic publications can be found here.

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