TERC’s iSWOOP2.0 Launches National Science Communications Program in Acadia

National Science Foundation funded project brings scientific research at national parks to the public

May 16, 2016


Ken Mayer

Cambridge, MA —TERC and its partners at Winston-Salem State University will unveil a nation-wide effort to communicate the scientific research happening in and around America’s national parks at Acadia National Park (ANP) the week of May 16. Park rangers from ANP, Joshua Tree in California, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, the Boston Harbor Islands, Jean Lafitte National Park, and Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico will gather at ANP’s Schoodic Education Research Center (SERC) in Winter Harbor, Maine for the launch of iSWOOP2.0 (Interpreters and Scientists Working on Our Parks). Participants will focus on Acadia’s unique landscape as a starting point for understanding researchers’ methods and questions related to past plant and animal communities.

“With guidance from Jacquelyn Gill and Kit Hamley from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, rangers and educators will extract sediment that is thousands of years old,” said Martha Merson, Principal Investigator at TERC. “This summer park rangers at Acadia will have the background and visualizations to conjure a sense of the landscape as it was thousands of years ago. Distant as they are, those cycles of warming and cooling with plant communities retreating and advancing are not only fascinating, they can inform decisions we make now to manage and preserve public lands.”

The institute includes a public event “Hear, Here! An Evening of Science and Story,” which commemorates Acadia’s and the National Park Service Centennials and the commitment to making scholarship prominent in the next century. Science journalist, NPR contributor, and Emmy Awards nominee Flora Lichtman emcees the event, which is sponsored by College of the Atlantic and the iSWOOP project. Featured speakers include: Muneer Hashem of the Jackson Laboratory; Jacquelyn Gill from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine; Mount Desert Island fisheries advocate Dennis Smith; and National Park Service rangers Becky Cole-Will, Judy Hazen Connery, and Pam Cox. They will share true stories of their catastrophes, surprising breakthroughs, and life-changing experiences while doing research in and around national park lands.

For more information on the free public event see http://coa.edu/calendar/#event_id/12258/view/event or contact jhughes@coa.edu.

About iSWOOP

iSWOOP advances STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning among national park visitors. iSWOOP brings together educators, scientists, and National Park Service (NPS) interpreters to incorporate park-based science into programs for the public.

NSF DRL-1323030 and NSF DRL-1514776.