On Thursday, Jenn Raulin and Coreen Weilminster from the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland, along with me, gave an immersive breakout session at the Patuxent River Conference (#PaxCon2016).
PaxCon was in Edgewater, Maryland at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. This was my first time at SERC and I highly recommend checking out the trails!
The Patuxent River Conference was a change of pace from the large, national science conferences I typically attend; the total attendance was near 100 people, most of whom were informal educators. Presentations were 50 minutes long, which gave the presenters a chance to be more interactive with there audience.
Jenn, Coreen, and I ran an immersive breakout session in the 11 am time slot titled “Climate Stories of the Chesapeake: Using Data from the Patuxent River and Taskinas Creek (VA) to Assess Climate Variability and Extreme Change.”
I gave a short talk about our Phenology vignette, which encapsulates Jug Bay, one of the CBNERR-MD components that is situated on the Patuxent River. Coreen and Jenn also gave a short talk on potential educational uses of this information.
With about 20 minutes left in the session, Jenn and Coreen facilitated a challenge for the ~30 attendees at our talk. The participates were divided into three groups, given markers, flip charts, and a print out of the presentation and then assigned a scenario: 1) a table at an open house, 2) the middle school field trip, 3) and a visit with city/town officials.
Each group worked under the short time crunch, in a group of new acquaintances, to come up with a plan on how to incorporate the information from the Phenology vignette into their scenario. Each group then had to present it to the larger group. It was really exciting to see the different ideas emerge with just a handful of minutes!
The session went by quickly and I am still processing the information I learned! Throughout the day, I saw excellent sessions on raptors, archaeology, citizen science campaigns, and how to communicate controversial subjects!
It was a lot of fun and I send a huge thank you to Jenn and Coreen for inviting me to present with them!