Blue Angels Return to Annapolis

May 22, 2014

SESYNC is located in Annapolis, Maryland, a city recognized for its historic character, dedication to the arts, maritime connections, and support of the Chesapeake Bay. Both the city dock and U.S. Naval Academy are a mere mile from SESYNC’s offices—and this week, we took advantage of that proximity by taking in the Blue Angels flight rehearsal and demonstration.

The Blue Angels are the Navy’s flight demonstration squadron. For the first time since 2011, they flew over Annapolis on May 20 and 21 for the Naval Academy’s commissioning week. Check out some of the photos communications coordinator Melissa Andreychek took from the Naval yard and SESYNC rooftop below!


Seminar: Good to Great: The Role of Strategic Communications for More Effective Writing & Presentations

In today's complex world, great communication skills are fundamental—yet science communications can sometimes feel like a balancing act. Science, data, and analysis are on one side, and an audience that seeks answers, actions, and entertainment is on the other. How do scientists juggle contradictions? How do they tradeoff between making their research understandable to those working in other fields, the educated public, and policy makers?

A New Climate for Grazing Livestock

May 7, 2014

Science Communication Fellow

In Colombia, Juan Valdez is a bit player. The real issue is cattle ranching. Cattle occupy 80 percent of agricultural land in Colombia. Their pastures have contributed to soil degradation, deforestation, and, in dry areas, have hastened desertification. Now, fascinating research is being done to validate the link between intensive silvo-pastoral systems and environmental resiliency. If you think pastures and forests can’t coexist, don’t miss my story, “A new climate for grazing livestock,” published in the May issue of Nature Climate Change.

Here’s how the story begins:

"For cattle rancher Carlos Hernando Molina, growing trees in his pastures while raising cows has boosted his income and restored the degraded soil. Over the past 20 years, he has been replacing his 130 hectares of grasslands in southwestern Colombia with special varieties of leguminous trees, shrubs and grasses. The plants provide dense layers of food for grazing, doubling the milk and meat production per hectare while reducing the amount of land needed to raise the cattle.

Molina’s move to agroforestry is part of a global trend to sustainably improve agricultural production on each hectare while reducing the need for chemicals and fertilizers. Agroforestry is a science-based method for cultivating trees alongside food crops or livestock, while farmers make use of the trees’ ecological and economic benefits. Across Colombia, cattle ranchers are making the switch1. Conventional treeless pastures are slowly becoming forested, creating intensive ‘silvo-pastoral’ systems that don’t use chemicals and fertilizers but increase biodiversity and resilience to climate change. It is part of an ambitious programme to boost farmers’ incomes while restoring forests and soil fertility."

For the complete story, go to Nature Climate Change.

Café Scientifique: Dr. Mary Collins

Not unlike today’s income inequality, striking (and somewhat surprising) disproportionalities are present between industrial sources of environmental toxicity. Across the country's industrial landscape, less than ten percent of permitted facilities generate about 90 percent of total toxicity. My research question is simple: "How do they get away with it?” Toward this end, I will discuss one hypothesis linking social and environmental inequality, focusing on historical roots and potential future solutions.

Café Scientifique: Dr. Neil Carter

How people and carnivores, such as wolves and tigers, should interact is a much debated topic among researchers, wildlife managers, conservation practitioners, and policy makers. Should carnivores be spatially segregated from humans? Is coexistence an appropriate and realistic goal despite considerable impacts of carnivores on people, and vice-versa? Answers to such questions have major implications on future management and conservation planning, and significantly affect human well-being and carnivores.

Seminar: Toward an Ecology of Livelihood Diversity

Dr. Bill Burnside is broadly interested in the economy of nature and in insights about human-environment interactions from different fields. His graduate research, at the University of New Mexico, examined how metabolic constraints affect ecological interaction rates in small ectotherms, foraging patterns in seed-harvester ants, and macroecological patterns in traditional and industrial human societies. At SESYNC, Bill researches ecological, economic, and social correlates of sustainability in socio-environmental systems.


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