Metcalf Institute Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Addressing Environmental Issues at Annual Public Lecture Series

NARRAGANSETT, RI – What does a former U.S. EPA administrator have to say about the current state of environmental protection? How can we effectively weigh the credibility of scientific information in the age of “fake news?” What impact is extreme weather having on our water quality? These topics and more will take center stage at Metcalf’s 20th Anniversary Annual Public Lecture Series, Scientists and Journalists: Getting the Point Across, June 5 – 9, at the University of Rhode Island Graduate School of Oceanography.

The public is invited to a reception following the lecture on Monday, June 5, as Metcalf celebrates 20 years of bringing science to the conversation.

Nationally recognized leaders in science, policy, and journalism explore the latest research on global environmental change, regulatory issues, and how communities are responding at the weeklong lecture series. You’ll also get a sneak preview of a new book in which the author explores a scientific event that elevated the U.S. as a global scientific power.

The lectures are free and open to the public and will be held in Corless Auditorium at URI’s Graduate School of Oceanography on the Narragansett Bay Campus, 215 South Ferry Road in Narragansett.

Monday, June 5, 3:30 p.m.
Assessing the Health of Our Oceans
Johanna Polsenberg, Conservation International

How can we protect the health of our oceans? Large-scale ocean datasets provide critical information for sustaining marine resources. Polsenberg will discuss the Ocean Health Index that uses data to inform science-based policy and identify research relevant for marine and coastal conservation. Celebrate 20 years with Metcalf at a reception following the lecture!

Tuesday, June 6, 3:30 p.m.
Science Communication in the Age of Fake News and Public Distrust of the Press
Dan Kahan, Yale University

How do we effectively weigh the credibility of scientific information? Some would argue that greater public science literacy is the key, but this is not necessarily borne out by research. Kahan will describe how cultural barriers affect views of scientific evidence and how we can use this knowledge to improve science communication.

Wednesday, June 7, 3:30 p.m.
Extreme Weather at the Watershed Scale: How to Protect Water Quality
Shreeram Inamdar, University of Delaware

Climate forecasts show that many regions will experience increased frequency of intensity of large storms, which could have serious consequences for water quality and aquatic ecosystems. Inamdar will explain how these storms affect watershed health, management and policy, and how new research can identify ways to adapt.

Thursday, June 8, 3:30 p.m.
Environmental Enforcement: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Cynthia Giles, former U.S. EPA Assistant Administrator

Delivering on the promise of environmental laws requires tough enforcement and innovative thinking about protecting the environment, including using cutting-edge monitoring and information technologies. Giles will talk about the past and future of these essential protections for communities across the country.

Friday, June 9, 11 a.m.
The Great Eclipse of 1878 and the Dawn of American Science
David Baron, author, former editor, PRI’s The World

On August 21, 2017, a total solar eclipse will cross the U.S. for the first time in 99 years, offering a rare opportunity for Americans to rally around a scientific event. Baron’s new book describes the role of the 1878 eclipse in spurring America’s rise as a global scientific power. [Book sales and author signing to follow.]

About Metcalf Institute
Metcalf Institute is an internationally recognized leader in providing environmental science training for journalists. The Institute also offers communication workshops for scientists, science resources for journalists and free public lectures on environmental topics. Metcalf Institute was established at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in 1997 with funding from three media foundations: the Belo Corporation, the Providence Journal Charitable Foundation and the Philip L. Graham Fund, with additional support from the Telaka Foundation. Metcalf programming is underwritten by federal and foundation grants, as well as private donations managed by the University of Rhode Island Foundation.