2004 Workshop Agenda

Sixth Annual Workshop for Journalists
Coastal Impacts: Marine and Environmental Science for Journalists
June 20-25, 2004
View Past Workshop Agendas

Day 1
2:00-4:30 p.m. Arrival and check-in, URI W. Alton Jones Campus, Whispering Pines Conference Center, Sycamore Lodge.

Review of workshop logistics
Katharine McDuffie, Program Assistant, Metcalf Institute

Jackleen de La Harpe, Executive Director, Metcalf Institute

Overview of Monday field and lab activities
Veronica Berounsky, Heather Saffert, URI Graduate School of Oceanography

The Metcalf Institute and science journalism
Jackleen de La Harpe; Lewis Rothstein, GSO, Metcalf Science Co-director; Peter B. Lord, The Providence Journal, Metcalf Journalism Co-director
Introduction of 2004 Metcalf Fellows

Day 2
Fieldwork *
Measuring Water Quality in an Estuary
Veronica Berounsky, GSO; Chris Turner, R.I. Department of Environmental Management; Lucie Maranda, GSO; Lindsay Sullivan, Heather Saffert, Sunshine Menezes, GSO Graduate Students
Arrive at Sprague Bridge at the mouth of the Narrow River/Pettaquamscutt Estuary.

Overview of natural history and regulatory issues in the area. Driving tour along Narrow River. Rest stops and continue to Pettaquamscutt Beach. Overview of kayaking, water safety and water sampling. Put in kayaks. Paddle kayaks north into the middle of Lower Pond. Demonstration of YSI probe to measure temperature, salinity and oxygen, Secchi disks to measure light penetration, Niskin bottle and plankton net. Collect first water sample, using sterile water bottles, for indicator bacteria analyses. Paddle south to Mettatuxet. Collect second water sample and take water measurements using YSI probe and Secchi disks. Pull out kayaks at Mettatuxet beach. Return to GSO.

Introduction to URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Mark Wimbush, GSO

Lab Practicum
Overview of water column ecology and the lab practicum. In smaller groups, process water samples for bacteria indicators of fecal contamination; microscope work with plankton; and discussion about water quality.

Public Lecture
Combatting Global Yawning: Overcoming Public Indifference to the Environment
Jon Palfreman, President, Palfreman Film Group, Inc.
While many profess to care about the environment, people usually prefer news of celebrity scandals over investigations into clean air. What can be done to encourage interest in environmental stories like global climate change? Palfreman, award-winning documentary producer for FRONTLINE and NOVA, considers solutions.

Overview of Tuesday field and lab activities
Dr. Perry Jeffries, GSO

Evening Lecture
Environmental Health: Speaking to the Public through the Press
Robert Vanderslice, R.I. Department of Health
Environmental health issues can be as critical as meningitis or as seemingly benign as lead dust. How do public health officials address chronic health stories that may not be straightforward? What can they tell reporters about inconclusive evidence, and what should reporters tell their audiences that informs them without being alarmist? How can reporters get answers to questions that, in the context of science, can’t always be answered?

* In the event that bad weather prevents us from kayaking, here is an alternate schedule


Lecture and slide presentation (Ocean Technology Center Conference Room)
The Integrated Ocean Drilling Program’s Arctic Coring Expedition
Kate Moran, GSO
In August 2004 an international team of scientists, co-led by Moran, will begin an expedition to the Arctic Ocean to find evidence of climate and environmental change recorded in deep-sea sediments. This $12 million expedition will be conducted under the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), a ten-year, government-funded basic research program that currently involves 15 nations. Over a six-week period during the summer melting season, three icebreakers will rendezvous north of Norway’s Svalbard, and then travel north, through ice floes, to the core sites. The expedition’s goal is to recover a 500-meter thick sedimentary sequence that will reveal a 50-million year history of Arctic Ocean and elucidate its role in the global evolution of past climates and environments. The sedimentary record will provide answers to paleoenvironmental questions and will elucidate the role the Arctic played during Earth’s climatic transition.

Day 3
Assessing the State of Fisheries
Dr. Perry Jeffries, GSO; Tony Wood, Rich Bell, GSO graduate students; Tim Lynch, DEM
Arrive Wickford Marina, board Cap’n Bert. Depart no later than 8 a.m.

Fisheries trawl in Narragansett Bay. Sampling at Fox Island: identify species; fish count; log catch data; plankton tow. Take measurements of surface and bottom water temperature and salinity; discuss the implications of these numbers for the biology of Narragansett Bay. Discuss fisheries issues. Return to dock at Wickford Marina. Depart for GSO.

Lab Practicum
Review annual catch record, explore trends and consider changes over time. Organize three teams to reseach any additional data needed on the Internet, synthesize data and prepare 10-minute scientific presentations in Powerpoint for delivery this evening after dinner.

Public Lecture
Abrupt Climate Change: Global Warming, Climate Cooling?
Dr. Bruce Peterson, Senior Scientist, Marine Biological Laboratory
Scientists theorize that global warming could set off changes in ocean circulation in the North Atlantic region within the next several decades. Extreme temperature changes could result. What do the climate models tell us about how fast we are moving toward a threshold for rapid climate change?

Overview of Wednesday activities
Peter B. Lord, The Providence Journal, Metcalf Institute Co-Director
Complete preparation and testing of scientific presentations (Spruce Lodge will be open)

Evening Lecture
Scientific Presentations
Metcalf Fellows; Dr. Perry Jeffries, Tony Wood, Rich Bell, GSO
Each group will be allotted no more than 10 minutes total to deliver its scientific presentation, followed by 10 minutes of Q & A for each presentation. Questions and will be supplied by Dr. Jeffries, Mr. Wood and Mr. Bell. Metcalf fellows will answer questions to the best of their abilities.

Day 4
Field Trip
Ecology and Land Use Aspects of Freshwater Wetlands
Frank Golet, URI; Jon Mitchell, URI graduate student
Dr. Golet will lead a walking tour of four wetland sites at the Nettie Marie Jones Nature Preserve on the W. Alton Jones Campus, including a lakeside swamp, a headwaters swamp, a wet meadow and a vernal pool. Following the walk, the group will return to Whispering Pines for discussion on wetland regulatory and management issues.

Afternoon Writing Clinic
Selling the Environment Story to Editors
Jean Plunkett, City Editor, Peter Lord, Environment Writer, The Providence Journal
Metcalf fellows will have an opportunity to talk with an editor and environment writer about how to market science-based stories to editors who may have little interest or background in the topic. How can reporters cover and pitch environmental stories and what creative approaces can writers use to describe scientific uncertainty or politicized science? Plunkett and Lord will talk about how they covered an award-winning story on chronic lead paint poisoning for The Providence Journal.

Follow-up Lab Practicum
Heather Saffert, GSO graduate student
Counting and data analysis of Monday’s water samples. Brief discussion about interpreting the results, why the test is performed, and the role of fecal coliform as an indicator organism.

Public Lecture
Ocean Policy in the 21st Century: What’s Next?
Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Professor, Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space, University of New Hampshire
The U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy is calling for a major shift toward ecosystem-based management in the oceans. Rosenberg, who served as a ocean commissioner, will summarize the next steps for making changes in U.S. ocean policy.

Overview of Thursday activities
Jackleen de La Harpe, Metcalf Institute Executive Director

Evening Lecture
Radio Environment: What’s Doing in the Year Ahead
Chris Ballman, Senior Producer, Ingrid Lobet, West Coast Bureau Correspondent, Living on Earth
Ballman and Lobet, producer and correspondent for Living on Earth, a weekly news program covering environmental news, will talk informally about the issues that will likely warrant coverage in the next year (wild fires, oil and gas projects in the West, energy policy), and some of the difficulties and surprising rewards of covering the environment for radio.

Day 5
The Migrating Shoreline: Measuring Coastal Erosion
Dr. Jon Boothroyd, URI; Bryan Oakley, Rachel Hehre, URI graduate students
Arrive East Beach–undeveloped barrier, orientation, geologic habitats of barriers, shoreline processes; Charlestown Beach–developed barrier, obtain a beach profile, collect data for lab practicum, look at shoreline changes; South Kingstown Beach, Matunuck–headland erosion, zoning issues, emergency management plans. Depart for lunch.

Lab Practicum
Plotting beach profile data, long-term data set for Charlestown Beach.

Public Lecture
The Global Future of Freshwater
Dr. Charles Vörösmarty, Director, Water Systems Analysis Group, University of New Hampshire
As demand for freshwater increases, so do the impacts on nature and society. While climate change is a critical focus for international policy, the state of freshwater supplies is gaining importance as a worldwide concern. Vörösmarty will describe how a broad array of human activities may be altering the future of water on earth.

Group Photographs

Ethical Considerations from a Scientist and Citizen
John Merrill, GSO
Merrill will talk about ethical issues in the conduct of research from the perspective of a scientist whose work is less heavily impacted by predicaments involving human life, complex financial entanglements or other perplexing problems than that of many researchers. Since these concerns arise even when larger dilemmas seem far away, this evening’s discussion will include opinions on how to deal with them.

Day 6
Check out of W. Alton Jones Campus, Whispering Pines Conference Center, by leaving your room key at the Sycamore front desk. Vans in front of Sycamore Lodge.

Geographic Information Systems
Dr. Peter August, Coastal Institute on Narragansett Bay
Journalists will look at geographical information systems (GIS) to learn how map data are accessed and analyzed and how visual data are interpreted by scientists and journalists. Special attention will be given to GIS data sources available on the Internet.

Public Lecture
Science, Government, and the Public Interest
Dr. George M. Woodwell, Director, Woods Hole Research Center
Sixty scientists recently signed a letter, prepared under the auspices of the Union of Concerned Scientists, to the Bush Administration presenting scientific facts warning against environmental hazards. Woodwell will talk about worldwide environmental concerns and the responsibilities of the scientific community to help the public and government, which must operate in the public interest.

Metcalf Institute Advisory Board Meeting

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