Turning Science Outreach Obligations into Opportunities

Happy Fish Fry Day, when Wisconsin (and your trusty blog) put fish on the menu. Today’s offering – Ellen Hamann’s excellent post, originally written for the Canadian Science Publishing website on her “Fish on the Run” project. Enjoy as a scientist delves into the world of outreach and kinda, sorta likes it! 

Outreach can be fun – no really!

So, you wrote a grant.
Maybe it was a requirement, or maybe you were trying to make your project sound more fundable. Or maybe you’re genuinely interested in outreach. Whatever the reason, in the 11thhour, you tacked on a little paragraph at the end of the proposal about how you’d “publicize the project” and “educate the public” about the merits of your research. Either way, it worked, and suddenly that little afterthought means you’re on the hook to communicate your science.
That’s pretty much what happened to us.

A few years ago
, our research group came to a sad (and terrifying) realization: if you’re a migratory fish living in the Great Lakes Basin, you’re essentially trapped in a nightmare.
In the popular version of the migratory fish versus obstacle story, the recognizable bad guy is a dam, and the protagonist is the iconic (and delicious) salmon. But in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin, it turns out that the most widespread barrier for fish isn’t just thousands of dams, but hundreds of thousands of road crossings. And instead of the mighty salmon, our native fishes include the likes of the largely unloved and highly misunderstood suckers.
Continue reading –>
You can read about Ellen’s field adventures on her blog, Ellen at Large. Ellen tweets as @ellen_at_large.