Coastal Environmental Communication

Sarah Patterson

This semester I learned about coastal environmental communication and how to accurately and effectively communicate science to the public. This semester has not only peeked my interest in science communication, but also the coastal environment.

This class taught me a lot about journalism and the basic principles of writing about science. We covered basic Science Writing, Environmental and Coastal Communication, Climate Literacy, Story Telling, and how to make science understandable. The basics of science writing is to state the facts and be accurate, but to make them understandable and simple for the layman. For example, use real life examples to explain incredible large or small numbers. An example of this is “A nanometre is one-billionth of a meter, 80,000 times smaller than a human hair”. This puts the nanometre in s human scale that the lay person would understand.

CoralAnother helpful tool of explaining and talking about science is to use story telling. Put the information into a plot with real life characters. Make the science a reality by adding real people with real problems. This will help people relate to the science.

We also got the unique and exciting experience to shadow an environmental scientist I followed an oceanographer who specializes in coral. I learned about different types of coral and how they are being used to study patterns in climate and periods in history.

However, for me, the most interesting part of the semester was learning about the Coastal Environment. Being from Florida, I did not know about the issues effecting the Louisiana coast. I loved learning about the Context_2_USGSWetlandsLossMapissues of wetland loss, climate change, oil spills, sediment diversions, and many other coastal issues effecting Louisiana. I wrote articles on the BP Oil Spill, the 2014 Master Plan, sediment diversions, protecting the wildlife, and other issues about the environment.

This class has made me interesting in coastal environmental and what I can do to help protect Louisiana. In the future I hope to pursue coastal environmental issues in the field of architecture.

I would like to thank the two teachers that taught this course, Paige Brown and Zeynep Altinay. They have taught me so much about science communication and the coastal environment.

Baton Rouge Water Campus and River Model

Sarah Patterson

The Water Campus of Baton Rouge will be a new research sitemap-lgcenter in downtown Baton Rouge. It will include research and educational labs and facilities. The water campus will take about 20 years to complete, and be home to 4,000 researchers over 35 acres along the Mississippi River.

The Water Campus will be addressing some of Louisiana’s most pressing issues. The most important of which is the “riding water”. The coast and the wetlands are slowly loosing land, and the water campus hopes to create solutions to this problem.
photo 2 (3)Among the researchers, the Louisiana CPRA, LSU River Modeling Center, and the Water Institute of the Gulf will be located on the campus. The River Modeling Center will contain a physical model of the Mississippi River Delta. Every one foot on the model will be equal to one mile on the river delta. The model will consist of roughly 216 panels, which are 5 feet by 10 feet. The model will be used to answer research questions like, how does a diversion impact areas above and below it? How do diversions impact navigation flooding hydraulics? The model will be able to model diversions and sediment movement in real time, with 1 hour equaling 1 year.

The River Model will not only be used for research but also for education. The Coastal Sustainability is designing the educational exhibit, which consists of interactive displays, archives, and other educational opportunities.

New Coastal Sustainability Minor

Sarah Patterson

A new minor may be coming to Louisiana State University in the Fall of 2015. The Coastal Sustainability Studio, also known as the CSS, has received a grant to implement this new minor.

The CSS is a trans-disciplinarian studio created in 2009 to create solutions for coastal issues. The Studio works with the College of Art and Design, College of Engineering, and The School Coastal and Environmental Sciences. of The CSS aims to reach students and faculty of the LSU community through many opportunities. These opportunities include, informative lectures, job opportunities, grant options, and many other chances for the LSU community to get involved. According to the CSS, “We bring together disciplines that normally work separately so that we can respond to critical coastal issues in a comprehensive way”.

The CSS was awarded a $50,000 grant, from the W.M. Keck Foundation to create this minor Coastal Sustainability. The new minor will also be trans-disciplinarian, just like the CSS. “The new minor will link the practices of architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and coastal and environmental science to offer a combination of training that is unique and valuable,” says the CSS. The new minor will hopefully encourage “ground-breaking” research projects among many different majors.

This new minor will add to LSU’s impact on Louisiana’s coastal issues, and hopefully come up with new and successful solutions.

For more information on the Coastal Sustainability Minor visit the CSS website. CSS logo

My Top 5 Sci-Blogs

Mason André

As I find and read more and more science blogs I’ve learned that I enjoy some in particular way more than others. A combination of content and the level I’m able to understand makes these blogs stand out to me and keep me going back and reading their posts. Here are my favorite 5 science blog that I’ve encountered thus far:

1.Brain Watch – http://www.wired.com/category/brainwatch/ – Christian Jarrett. Every single one of Jarrett’s posts have been extremely interesting to me! He uses just enough detail that I understand the science behind it but I don’t get lost in the statistics and processes. Each blog post relates to the brain, but they vary so much I don’t get bored at all!

2. Only Human  – http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/blog/only-human/ – Virginia Hughes. I love the range of content from genetic to behavior and medicine! The title of almost every post is something that I read and wonder wow I really do want to know why that’s the case or why that’s happening. With science to back up astonishing information, I frequently check back and read all of her new posts!

3. Body Horrors – http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bodyhorrors/#.VIUcKzHF99k – Rebecca Kreston. Wonder what’s going on in and around your body? Rebecca does! I have gained more insight about my physical body than I did in 6 years of biology. Maybe I’m just a little better at understanding anatomy than other sciences but I feel there’s more detail than my other fave blogs and I can still understand it! I bring facts from her blog posts back to my friends and blow them away with my new info. Love this blog and all that Rebecca write about!

4. The Lay Scientist – http://www.theguardian.com/science/the-lay-scientist – Martin Robbins. I love this blog because the politics and cultural posts that are always tied back to science. It’s nice to read about things objectivly that are usually addressed in a subjective way. These are very easy for a non-scientist (such as myself) to connect with and have an opinion about. The science is there to show things that were not considered elsewhere.

5. Tenacious Telomere – http://www.scilogs.com/tenacious-telomere/ – Susan Swanberg. The range of topics covered here is awesome! With no specific interest presented on this blog, I like how it’s related to the here and now. I can always expect the newest post to be about a new and interesting topic, which keeps me coming back for more. I love the methods and links she uses to back up her science, it really intrigues me and I really love each post!

While these are my favorite 5, of course there are tons of other blogs, science and not, that I love and read about regularly as well! Blogs really are such a cool thing and a great tool in my education. I’m glad they’ve become so popular in my generation and have allowed me to broaden my horizons on many levels!

Give Back this Holiday Season

Mason André

With the holiday season upon us it seems like there’s excess of everything. Extra food, tons of gifts, more time spent with family and friends. With every get together there’s bound to be extra waste, but we can eliminate that by making a conscious effort to reduce energy waste and recycle.

With gift giving season being here, it’s likely you’ll acquire new gadgets and toys depending on if you have kids or not. This is a great time to clean out the closet and donate your older items to the local goodwill or salvation army. If you wait until after you have your new items, you make be tempted to just throw out the old ones, which creates more waste. Donating your items will help out the community and be nicer to the landfill!

Gift wrapping is the biggest major paper waster. Cheaply made gift wrap isn’t generally recyclable, so being extra creative can help the environment! One of my favorite things to do (which makes it look like you put more effort in) is to wrap my gifts in fun printed fabric and tie it up with ribbon. You can find cheap fabric squares at almost any fabric store and with the right deal it can end up costing less than wrapping paper! Other alternatives are using your daily newspaper to wrap gifts, or even just sticking a bow on the gift and not worrying about the paper at all.

If you’re putting up Christmas lights, opt for the led energy savers to save the energy and keep your bills low. These may cost you more up-front, but at the end of the month when you’re broke from buying Christmas gifts you’ll be glad the energy bill isn’t through the roof! You can donate your old non-led’s here and the company will send you a coupon for their led lights!

Remember, the holiday season is for giving, to friends, family, and back to the environment. You can celebrate without feeling guilty and everyone’s happy!

Semester Reflection

When I first heard about this class, I immediately knew I had to sign up since I had a background in science and communication. Little did I know, I would be writing blogs, tweeting to science bloggers and interviewing scientist weekly.

My professors and advisers recommended me to learn from Paige Brown on science communication. It was the first time that the Manship School of Mass Communication would be offering a science communication class. I had to take the opportunity and learn more about it.

The first day was overwhelming since the syllabus had so much. In the end, all of it was worth it as I got better with meeting deadlines and understanding different areas of science. Since this was a coastal environmental course, I got to know more about the Louisiana’s coastline.

The course itself was overwhelming with deadlines of a story or projects, even though this class was a seminar class. As a result, I knew where to look for science articles and understand them more. The class was interesting as I became more interested in science.

I hope to apply what I have learn in this class in the future as I go into broadcast journalism. Thank you Zeynep and Paige for teaching this class!

Catherine Nguyen

Crisis Communication

Andrea Miller, Associate Dean of the Manship School of Mass Communication, came to guest lecture the class on crisis communication.

She has been at LSU since 2003, and during her time, she has looked into how media responded to crisis, such as Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. Prior to getting her PhD, Miller worked in a news station as a reporter and producer and witnessed a shooting in the church. That incident led her to specialize in crisis communication.

Miller started out the presentation on defining crisis communication on the press side and the public relation side. I was really shock how both sides can be similar, but different at the same time. Miller showed us the stages of a crisis for PR: detection, prevention/preparation, containment, recovery, and learning. She also showed us the stages for the press: detection, describing the event, analyzing, preparing audiences, and learning.

Getting to know more about crisis communication did help me as a journalist. After the lecture, I knew how to respond to crisis and saw how media responded to it.

Catherine Nguyen