Last week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to share some of my recent research at a Science Pub in Lebanon, NH. The idea behind these Science Pubs is pretty simple: have a few scientists come to a local pub to have an informal conversation with community members about the research they do and how it might be relevant to our lives. This Science Pub was titled “Climate Change: Bringing it Home,” and it featured Professor Richard Howarth from Environmental Sciences Department to discuss ecological economics, Postdoc David Lutz from the Environmental Sciences Department to discuss forest ecology and albedo, and I was there to represent the snow albedo aspects of our research through the EPSCoR “Ecosystems and Society” project. We discussed the value of carbon sequestration in our New Hampshire forests versus the value of the high albedo of open landscapes in wintertime because of the reflectivity of snow. The discussion then moved into the effects of climate change on our local forests and what changes we might expect to see in snowfall and ecosystem services (from flood prevention to maple syrup production)!
My role in the discussion was to talk about my research in snow albedo, studying the effects of grain size and impurities on snow reflectivity in New Hampshire and Greenland (see Ruth’s post about albedo in Greenland this past summer). Thanks to the inspiration of fellow IGERTeer, Gifford Wong, I came up with a story to help convey my research to the audience. The story was of Debra the Delicate Dendrite and her struggles against enemies Black Carbon and Heat! I was surprised by how well it went over and by how much more fun it was for the audience and for me when I discussed my research from the prospective of a protagonist who faces struggles, like any good character in a story! Stay tuned for a full post about Debra’s story sometime soon!
And in the meantime, check out the schedule for upcoming Science Pubs here!