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North Central CSC Hosts Open Science Conference

Last week, the North Central Climate Science Center hosted an Open Science Conference at Colorado State University. More than 100 scientists, researchers, students, and resource managers attended the event, each contributing their unique views on how to move forward with adaptive management in a changing and uncertain climate.

A number of key themes emerged from the conference, including: producing actionable science and making research useful and usable by resource managers; collaboration that incorporates the end user from the first stages of research; creating climate-smart plans for drought planning and management in partnership with our indigenous counterparts; recognizing and working through climate uncertainty; and understanding the context that management on the ground occurs inside of.

The conference opened with a keynote speech from the Assistant Secretary for Water and Science at the Department of Interior Jennifer Gimbel, who commented on the importance of considering climate change holistically and at appropriate ecological scales. She highlighted the importance of context in understanding the reality that resource managers plan and execute decisions inside of, and concluded by stating that the NC CSC's solicited management projects represent the type of “partnerships that are needed all over the country.”

The second day of the conference opened with a presentation by Ben Bobowski of the National Park Service who discussed the need for science to be directly applicable to management on the ground. He commented on the fact that managers, like M*A*S*H* units, work in a day-to-day reactionary mode to ensure safety and the effective operation of programs in their regions. He went on to mention that through meaningful collaboration with climate scientists, decision-makers are able to plan for long-term changes and consider more broad and far-sighted objectives.

Thursday concluded with a compelling banquet dinner and conversation with Dan Wildcat of Haskell Indian Nations University. Dr. Wildcat discussed the need for a change in perspective on how we consider the environment around us as a “resource” for consumption, and continued to mention the indigenous thinking that has influenced his own perceptions of how to prepare for a changing climate. He contended that modern society exists in an ontology of fear, and that that fear is not a solution to the challenges ahead. Rather, he noted that compassion, collaboration, and meaningful partnerships move us in that direction.

The North Central Climate Science Center would like to extend a warm thank you to all who attended and participated in the conference. A photo gallery from the event and a summary video of the conference will be available shortly!