Many thanks to Eritrean and Ethiopian colleagues for their support over the past few months, and for hosting inspiring conversations about land restoration. Our long-term work continues – restoring natural highland landscapes using native trees, while simultaneously ensuring economic benefit for local people with faster growing species and improved grazing. We hope that funding will soon be available and look forward to upcoming meetings with potential partners. Scott’s 2018 publication “Restoration of Dry Mountain Forests in Eritrea – Scaling Up to Mitigate Climate Change” summarises the challenges we face and potential ways forward.
Do you think science is exciting? Useful? Accessible? If your immediate answer to any of these questions was “no” – or even a “um ..?” – it may be because scientists aren’t always good at communicating their work. Scientific discoveries have transformed how people live on this planet. Think of science’s role in technology, health, transport, entertainment. Science predicted the exact ‘Path of Totality in this August’s solar eclipse and eradicated polio.
But science is not the only way of understanding the world. People make sense of their experiences and take decisions based on emotion, culture, social influence, habit, and many other things. Scientific evidence isn’t always part of the mix.
Here at Mind the Gap, we work with diverse groups working on various social and environmental challenges in many countries. This requires the ability to speak across differences and meet people where they’re at – see things from their point of view. At the end of September, Megan Jones attended a ComSciCon conference to train science postgraduate students in communicating science to non-scientists. Many of the key points discussed are echoed in Mind the Gap’s work – for instance the importance of listening, building trust, empowering others, being creative, and being authentic. It was inspiring to see so many people committed to making science more exciting, useful and accessible – and working to achieve these changes together.
If you’re interested in learning more about communicating science or in sharing your ideas on the topic, reach out to Megan at megan[at]mind-the-gap.net.
Gender awareness and environment are central to Mind the Gap’s work, our Vision and our Values. Megan Jones and her PhD advisor Dr Jen Solomon have been studying the challenges facing women in science leadership positions in US conservation organizations and the support that has helped them in their careers. Megan presented their findings at last week’s Pathways Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. This research suggests that many women experience a range of gender-related challenges in the conservation workplace. However, they also report receiving meaningful support from supervisors and colleagues – male and female – among others. Megan will now publish these findings, so watch this space for a more detailed report in the coming months! You can contact her at megan[at]mind-the-gap.net for more information.