EMC: Public Engagement Dispatch – May 2019

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EMC’s Public Engagement Group’s monthly dispatch brings you information about what’s happening in the world of public engagement inside and outside the Forest Service. This month’s Dispatch topic is about public engagement and science.


The PE Dispatch is now circulated through GovDelivery to enable you to subscribe or unsubscribe. See below for more details.


Email us at SM.FS.publicengage@usda.gov to let us know what other PE topics you’re interested learning about.


Featured FAQ

Where can I find resources to inform my efforts to engage and communicate with the public on science?


Whether communicating about the best available science during land management planning, contributing to science field reviews or workshops, or facilitating citizen science monitoring, science is part of our public engagement. Check out the following science-related internal and external tools and resources.


USDA Forest Service Research & Development

Knowledge Management and Communications in the WO provides national-level communication in a monthly newsletter featuring news, information, and new science from Forest Service scientists. For more information contact Tracy Hancock at tracy.c.hancock@usda.gov.


Research Stations have staff with expertise in public affairs, science communication, and science delivery. Visit our SharePoint Site for a list of these individuals that may serve a resources for your efforts.

Citizen Science SharePoint site

Ecosystem Management Coordination hosts a Citizen Science SharePoint site as a one-stop shop for information and resources on citizen science and crowdsourcing.


The recently-released Citizen Science toolkit (internal link) was developed by cross-deputy teams and includes a Project Planning Guide (available in Spanish, Canadian French and Chinese Mandarin), Project Plan and Quality Assurance Template, webinar case studies and more. There’s also an external link to share with your publics.


Each year the Forest Service collaborates with scientists from partner institutions to write and publish thousands of peer reviewed publications in hundreds of scientific journals plus books, conference proceedings, and Forest Service reports. Each of these scholarly publications are available for free in the Treesearch collection of publications, now offering over 39,000 full text documents.

Center for Public Engagement on science and technology

Since 2004, the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Center for Public Engagement on Science and Technology has worked to increase public input into scientific research and policy agendas, by encouraging and facilitating dialogue between policymakers, the public, and the scientific community.


The Center maintains a communication toolkit with guidance and tips to improve science communication skills.

Add your FAQ to our Community of Practice Discussion Board or email us at SM.FS.publicengage@usda.gov, and we’ll answer it in an upcoming Dispatch!


From the field

Collaboration helps R&D develop science framework for Sagebrush

Since 2013, USDA Forest Service scientists at the Rocky Mountain Research Station have been leading a collaborative effort with a diverse group of stakeholders including state wildlife agencies, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, universities, and Forest Service land managers to develop a science framework for conservation and restoration of the sagebrush biome. A comprehensive plan to manage the sagebrush biome was needed due to habitat loss and population decline of the greater sage-grouse. 


Collaboration was key in development of the framework by integrating the work and participation of scientists and managers who had been part of previous research and planning efforts and by including participation and input from state agencies.


Ken Mayer, a wildlife ecologist with Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, said, “In the old days, the federal agencies would have forged ahead and created this Science Framework without much input from the states. This has been one of the most exciting conservation efforts in my 38-year career, where everybody’s sitting at the table, and everybody’s ideas are being considered.”


For more information on this collaborative effort, contact Jeanne Chambers at jchambers@usda.gov or Deborah Finch at Deborah.m.finch@usda.gov.

If you'd like your story to appear here, email us at SM.FS.publicengage@usda.gov.


Trainings, webinars and conferences

Udall Foundation’s US Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution

Introduction to Environmental Collaboration and Conflict Resolution
An introduction to environmental collaboration and conflict resolution – what it is, when, and how to use it. Includes interest-based problem solving, assessment of environmental disputes, and communication essentials. August 27-28, 2019, Tucson, AZ, $895/person.

International Association of Public Participation 

Foundations of Public Participation Course: This course was designed with the input of successful practitioners who work with diverse populations and divergent circumstances throughout the world. Coursework is divided into two modules each focusing on one of the two major phases of public participation, planning and techniques. July 10-12 and August 1-2, 2019, Denver, CO; $720 early bird, $770 non-member, $720 member.


IAP2 Webinar: Engaging the Rumor Mill—June 11th 2pm (EDT)/11am (PDT)

Carrie McIntosh, Manager of Community Engagement at the British Columbia Ferry Corporation, addresses getting to know and working with close-knit communities that have their own culture; a culture that doesn’t always make engagement a simple task. Information moves easily but isn’t easily controlled and vocal minorities can easily dominate conversation. From closed Facebook groups that house rampant rumor mills, to client frustration that threatens to derail well-intentioned strategies, this session explores them all with a dose of humor. Participants will walk away with a list of practical steps they can take to create meaningful engagement outcomes for the communities they serve. Free for FS Employees who register.

2019 North American Conference Leveraging Public Participation to Create Thriving Communities. Charlotte, NC, September 4-6. This conference will feature over 50 professional Development opportunities including sessions, field trips, workshops and more! This is your opportunity to learn from presenters from around the globe. Check out the Schedule at a Glance for more information.

eeINSPIRE Webinar

On May 28, the North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE) offered another helpful and relevant webinar in their eeINSPIRE webinar series titled Fostering Collaborations and Engaging Communities Using NAAEE’s Guidelines for Excellence. Presented by Bora Simmons, National Project for Excellence in Environmental Education and Anne Umali, NAAEE, a recording of the webinar can be found here.


International Symposium on Society and Resource Management

ISSRM’s Annual meeting will take place June 2nd-7th in Oshkosh, WI. The meeting is a venue for presenting cutting-edge research and engaging in productive discussions focused on the sustainable management of natural resources. Two special sessions have been organized on Advances in Stakeholder and Public Engagement. A full schedule of the meeting can be found here.


Community of practice news

Group of people looking at land maps
Whether communicating about the best available science during land management planning, contributing to science field reviews or workshops or facilitating citizen science monitoring, science is part of our public engagement. Members of the public discuss land management planning on the Custer Gallatin National Forest. USDA Forest Service photo.

May’s Public Engagement Community of Practice call featured Mariah Leuschen-Lonergan, Public Affairs Specialist, Custer Gallatin National Forest who shared her experience of Engaging the Public in Science through a Forest Planning Science Symposium. A recording of the webinar is available at the following link.


Field season is upon us, and we will be taking a break in June from the CoP call.


Visit our Community of Practice SharePoint Site or contact Daniel Silvas at Daniel.silvas@usda.gov for more information.


News from the Public Engagement group

Leader as convener workshop in Region 8

In early May, EMC and Region 8 supported the first field Leader-as-Convener Workshop 2 in Atlanta, GA. Regional and forest-level staff attended the training program designed for people who have completed the Leader-as-Convener Workshop 1.0 and want to deepen their understanding of and skills in using convening methodologies and practices.


National Collaboration Cadre topic papers

The Cadre is producing topic papers to capture and share lessons learned from working with more than a fifth of all Forest Service land management units and associated collaborative groups. The Cadre’s efforts have included working with stakeholders forming collaborative groups to assisting long-standing collaborative groups evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness. The first two companion papers, Building a Solid Foundation for Collaborative Efforts and Maintaining the Foundation of Collaborative Groups summarize lessons learned from working with collaborative groups. These papers, soon posted to the updated PE SharePoint site, include worksheets external groups can use to generate discussion among themselves about their collaborative efforts.

Public Engagement in Land Management Planning deep dive call

On May 15th, EMC hosted a Land Management Planning Deep Dive Call on Public Engagement. Jennifer Cramer on the Santa Fe National Forest and Alice Cohen on the Nantahala and Pisgah National Forest were featured presenters, and participants shared valuable thoughts and practices. A recording of the call and resources shared is at https://usfs.adobeconnect.com/pca4qywhhzt8/. For more information contact Maia Enzer at maia.enzer@usda.gov.

EMC Public Engagement & Collaboration SharePoint redesign

The Public Engagement Group is updating and redesigning its SharePoint site. The site will be an easy to navigate, dynamic tool with resources and information to help strengthen our public engagement efforts. Check the site frequently and stay tuned for the upcoming launch!  

Public Engagement group contacts

For more information on EMC's Public Engagement Group, contact us at SM.FS.publicengage@usda.gov or reach out to any of us below.

Public Engagement (Deb Beighley, Assistant Director)
Catherine Doyle-Capitman, Social Scientist, catherine.doyle-capitman@usda.gov, 202-205-1643
Brad Kinder, Public Engagement Specialist, bradley.kinder@usda.gov, 202-239-4184
Daniel Silvas, Public Engagement Specialist, daniel.silvas@usda.gov, 970-295-5769
Sharon Timko, Public Engagement Specialist, sharon.timko@usda.gov, 202-205-1140

Planning (Andrea Bedell-Loucks, Assistant Director)

Maia Enzer, Planning and Public Engagement Advisor, maia.enzer@usda.gov, 503-312-8863


Adaptive Management (Jamie Barbour, Assistant Director)

Madelyn Dillon, Strategic Communication Specialist, madelyn.dillon@usda.gov, 970-295-5734

Michelle Tamez, Inventory, Monitoring and Assessment Specialist, michelle.tamez@usda.gov, 202-205-1194


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