Forest Science Dialouges: opening new channels for collaboration between scientists and community

HBRF’s Forest Science Dialogues project has been underway for more than a year. This work is focused on opening new channels of communication and new opportunities for interaction and collaboration between scientists and stakeholders in the Northern Forest region. We emphasize dialogue methods and relationship-building strategies that foster two-way communication between scientists who work at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in Woodstock, NH, and leaders from various stakeholder groups and networks.

Key project activities this past year have included:

– A kick-off roundtable in October 2014 to identify priority issues of common interest and concern between ecosystem scientists and citizens in the Northern Forest.

– A systematic review of social science data about “what people care about” in this region.

– Workshops for Hubbard Brook scientists and Hubbard Brook Research Foundation staff about science communication, public engagement, and dialogue techniques.

– A topic-specific roundtable in May 2015 about climate change and changes to local forests for scientists, foresters, landowners, and land managers.

Next steps include developing a concise, action-oriented summary of the best available science related to climate change in local forests and creating a Hubbard Brook speakers bureau to facilitate scientist participation in networks, conferences, and events across the region. We will also begin planning a more comprehensive regional effort in future years.