Building Bridges with Science for Communities

By Senior Environmental Scientist Cory Copeland

If you ever go to coffee or happy hour with a State scientist, you should ask them about the first time they were scolded by a member of the public. I remember mine. I was fresh from school and still extremely green. I was working on an amendment to the Delta Plan, and we were meeting with a group of stakeholders. About three minutes into the meeting, immediately following my introduction, one person started with “What you people don’t understand is that…” followed by an explanation of how they saw some interconnected issues in the Delta. I think by “you people” they meant State scientists and bureaucrats. And they were right about me, at least then.

I left that meeting understanding that we needed new ways to engage with communities outside of high-tension political processes. Strong relationships between scientists and communities are foundational to advancing the coequal goals for the Delta. At the Delta Stewardship Council, we’re proud to announce a new Science for Communities Workshop to provide a venue to develop these relationships.

I know most scientists at State agencies or universities appreciate that the work we do allows us to serve the public. In many cases that service can feel frustratingly indirect. Some may spend years diligently performing legislative mandates or duties for a research program and seldom receive input from the communities their work is intended to benefit. Although many scientists are looking for ways to engage communities, there are few good forums.

Click here to continue reading at the Delta Stewardship Council website.

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