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North Central Climate Science Center Releases Conference Summary Report and Video

The North Central Climate Science Center recently released a Summary Report and Video highlighting key elements of its May 2015 Open Science Conference held at Colorado State University. The conference sought to provide an opportunity for stakeholders, researchers, and scientists to engage with the Center and help guide its objectives moving forward.

Co-production of knowledge and management directives is an increasingly relevant mission for climate scientists in the wake of changing environmental conditions. To fully understand the challenge of climate change for practitioners on the ground, researchers must gather information on the physical, social, and economic impacts of change at the local and regional levels. The Open Science Conference provided one such opportunity to bring people together by focusing on western science, indigenous perspectives, and federal, state, and local land management needs. In total, around 120 people attended the three-day conference, with representatives from a number of North Central University Consortium partners, government agencies, tribes, and non-governmental organizations. 

The conference also offered an opportunity for attendees to learn about on-going projects in the north central region through presentations by NC CSC staff and affiliates. In addition, keynote speakers, including Dr. Ben Bobowski of the National Park Service, Dr. Jennifer Gimbel, Assistant Secretary for Water and Science with the Department of the Interior, and Dr. Dan Wildcat of Haskell Indian Nations University, helped to highlight some of the core themes of the meeting. These included the production of actionable and timely science, frequent collaboration with stakeholders, and recognizing and working through uncertainty.

A break-out session at the conclusion of the conference provided particular utility in addressing upcoming science needs for the north central region. These discussions were broken down by ecosystem type – high elevation, Great Plains terrestrial, and wetlands, streams, and riparian areas – to assess the sorts of research questions and necessary data that will guide resource management in the years to come. The reports from this session showed a variety of ecosystem science and social science needs, many of which the NC CSC management-focused research teams plan to address through ongoing projects. More broadly, conference attendees cited the importance of understanding the connections between social and ecological factors in environmental management and the importance of cross-cultural interactions in achieving sustainable practices.

In addition to the conference report, the NC CSC has produced a five-minute video that captures the themes of the conference and provides behind-the-scene interviews with conference attendees and participants. The report and video are available for download on the Conference Outcomes website.