2001 Workshop Agenda

Third Annual Workshop for Journalists
URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Narragansett, Rhode Island
June 11-15, 2001
View Past Workshop Agendas

Coastal Impacts: Fisheries, Beach Erosion, Water Pollution

The third Metcalf Institute workshop for journalists focuses on measuring and analyzing change in the coastal environment. Metcalf fellows study water pollution, fish populations, and beach erosion, working closely with scientists and public policy experts in the field and laboratory. The workshop emphasizes the basic methods of scientific research, the principles and ethics that guide scientific inquiry, and how to analyze and interpret data. The program examines the connection between public policy and scientific research, fosters communication between scientists and journalists, and describes the process of scientific inquiry. There are opportunities to discuss disagreement within the scientific community, how to approach scientific uncertainty, how to interpret statistics, and how to decipher good science from bad.

The Metcalf fellows work in the field and lab gathering and analyzing water samples for pollutants and bacteria; use computers to access and plot fisheries, erosion, and water pollution data; observe natural geologic formations on the southern coast of Rhode Island; do beach transects to measure coastal change; participated in a fisheries trawl on Narragansett Bay; and worked with Geographic Information Systems.

In addition to lab and field work, there are four public lectures, one panel debate, and evening lectures for the journalists.

Public lecturers and panelists include:
Dr. Robert Howarth, Senior Marine Scientist and Program Director, The Oceans Program, Environmental Defense
Ross Gelbspan, author of The Heat Is On
Dr. James McCarthy, Professor of Biological Oceanography and Director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
U.S. Senator Lincoln D. Chafee (R-Rhode Island)

Panelists: Dr. Steven A. Murawski, National Marine Fisheries Service, Woods Hole Laboratory; Dr. Brian Rothschild, Director, School for Marine Science and Technology, UMASS-Dartmouth; Lawrence Yacubian, New Bedford scallop fleet; Dr. Cheri Recchia, Center for Marine Conservation, Washington, DC; Dr. Peter Auster, National Undersea Research Center, UCONN at Avery Point, Groton, CT.

Panel moderator: Monica Allen, marine and environmental reporter, The Standard Times, New Bedford, MA


June 11-15, 2001
Coastal Impacts: Fisheries, Beach Erosion, Water Pollution

Day One

Measuring Water Pollution in an Estuary: Kayak Field Trip on Narrow River
Paddle the Narrow River in kayaks; take water samples; test and analyze samples in the lab using standard EPA guidelines. Learn how numerical data are analyzed and interpreted; discuss how public policy is shaped by science, economics, and politics.

Public Lecture: Nutrients: The Worst Pollution Problem in U.S. Coastal Waters, Dr. Robert Howarth, Senior Marine Scientist and Program Director, The Oceans Program, Environmental Defense

Evening Lecture: People as Canaries: Surveillance Data on Human Chemical Exposure, Dr. Robert R. Vanderslice, Chief, Office of Environmental Health Risk Assessment

Day Two

Assessing Fish Stocks: Fisheries Trawl on Narragansett Bay
Conduct a fish trawl aboard the research vessel Cap’n Bert, access a long-term data set by computer; analyze and plot data, draw conclusions. Conduct original research, draw conclusions, present original findings and hypothesis.

Public Lecture: Public Debate. Scalloping on Georges Bank: Is it Possible to Sustain the Fishery and the Ecosystem? Monica Allen, The Standard Times, Moderator; Dr. Steven Murawski, National Marine Fisheries Service; Dr. Brian Rothschild, UMass Dartmouth; Lawrence Yacubian, New Bedford Scallop Fleet; Dr. Cheri Recchia, Center for Marine Conservation DC; Dr. Peter Auster, National Undersea Research Center.

Evening Lecture: Sustaining the Lobster Fishery, John Sorlien, Lobster Fisherman; Dr. Stan Cobb, Professor, URI.

Day Three

Convincing Your Editor of the Value of an Environmental Story. Joel Rawson, Executive Editor, The Providence Journal

How Climate Shapes History: A New Take on an Old Story. Ross Gelbspan, Author of The Heat is On; Karen Charman, Independent Investigative Reporter; Joel Rawson, Executive Editor, The Providence Journal; Dr. Anthony Socci, Senior Climate Science Advisor, EPA Office of Atmospheric Programs

Public Lecture: The Politics and Economics of Global Warming, Ross Gelbspan, Author of The Heat is On.

Evening Lecture: Life Beneath the Seafloor, Dr. Steven D’Hondt, GSO.

Day Four

The Shifting Coast: Measuring Coastal Erosion
Conduct a beach profile on a south-facing beach on Rhode Island Sound; learn how beaches move, change shape and how coastal change is measured; look at managed barrier beaches; learn about coastal zone regulations. Analyze beach profile data; input numerical data into a long-term data set.

Public Lecture: Climate Change in the Arctic: Looking for Ice in All the Wrong Places, Dr. James McCarthy, Harvard University.

Evening Lecture: Informal Dessert Discussion: Ethical Considerations in Science, Dr. Art Gold, Professor, URI.

Day Five

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
An introduction to the latest in GIS applications, new developments (wetlands restoration, hazards mapping, global positioning systems). Click here

Public Lecture: Congressional Update: The Status of the Environment in Washington, U.S. Senator Lincoln D. Chafee, R-Rhode Island.

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