2000 Workshop Agenda
URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Narragansett, Rhode Island
June 25-30, 2000
Measuring Change in the Coastal Environment:
Fisheries, Beach Erosion, Water and Air Pollution
The second Metcalf Institute workshop for journalists focused on measuring and analyzing change in the coastal environment. Metcalf fellows studied water pollution, fish populations, and beach erosion, working closely with scientists and public policy experts in the field and laboratory. The workshop emphasized the basic methods of scientific research, the principles and ethics that guide scientific inquiry, and how to analyze and interpret data. The program examined the connection between public policy and scientific research, fostered communication between scientists and journalists, and described the process of scientific inquiry. There were opportunities to discuss disagreement within the scientific community, how to approach scientific uncertainty, how to interpret statistics, and how to decipher good science from bad.
The Metcalf fellows worked in the field and lab gathering and analyzing water samples for pollutants and bacteria; used computers to access and plot fisheries, erosion, and water pollution data; observed natural geologic formations on the southern coast of Rhode Island; did beach transects to measure coastal change; participated in a fisheries trawl on Narragansett Bay; surveyed the Woonasquatucket River, a recently designated Superfund site in Rhode Island; and worked with Geographic Information Systems.
In addition to lab and field work, there were four public lectures, one panel discussion, and evening lectures for the journalists.
Public lecturers and panelists included:
Dr. Sallie Chisholm, Professor, MIT
Blaine Harden, Reporter for the New York Times Magazine
Dr. Margaret Leinen, Assistant Director for the Geosciences Directorate, NSF
William K. Stevens, Science Writer, New York Times
Cory Dean, Science Editor, New York Times (moderated a panel on Private Rights and the Collective Good)
Scott Allen, Environmental Reporter, Boston Globe
Dr. James McCarthy, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Biological Oceanography, Harvard University
Dennis Nixon, Professor of Marine Affairs, University of Rhode Island
Dr. Rutherford Platt, Professor of Geography and Planning Law, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Andy Revkin, Environmental Writer, the New York Times
Other lecturers included:
Robert Braile, Correspondent, The Boston Globe
Andrew Dickerman, Photojournalist, The Providence Journal
Dr. Steven D’Hondt, Oceanography Professor, GSO
Dr. Kenneth Hinga, Assistant Dean, GSO
METCALF INSTITUTE WORKSHOP AGENDA
June 25-30, 2000
Measuring Change in the Coastal Environment: Fisheries, Beach Erosion, Water and Air Pollution
Measuring Water Pollution in an Estuary: Kayak Field Trip on Narrow River
Paddle the Narrow River in kayaks; take water samples; test and analyze samples in the lab using standard EPA guidelines. Learn how numerical data are analyzed and interpreted; discuss how public policy is shaped by science, economics, and politics.
Public Lecture: Iron Fertilization of the Ocean, Dr. Sallie Chisholm, Professor, MIT
Evening Lecture: The Deep Biosphere, Dr. Steven D’Hondt, Professor of Oceanography, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Assessing Fish Stocks: Fisheries Trawl on Narragansett Bay
Conduct a fish trawl aboard the research vessel Cap’n Bert; access a long-term data set by computer; analyze and plot data, draw conclusions. Conduct original research, draw conclusions, present original findings and hypothesis.
Public Lecture: A Change in the Weather, William K. Stevens, Science Writer, New York Times
Evening Lecture: Ethics and Principles that Guide Science Research, Dr. Kenneth Hinga, Assistant Dean, URI Graduate School of Oceanography
Covering an Environmental Emergency: The Woonasquatucket River
Walk the Woonasquatucket River, a recently designated Superfund site; discuss risk analysis; the responsibility of federal agencies to local neighborhoods; toxins and American rivers.
Lunch at the Providence Journal. How to Sell an Environmental Story to Your Editor.
Public Lecture: The Columbia River: A River Lost, Blaine Harden, Metro and Foreign Correspondent, New York Times Magazine
Evening Lecture: Covering the Environment with Words and Photos, Bob Braile, Correspondent, The Boston Globe and Andrew Dickerman, Photojournalist, The Providence Journal
The Shifting Coast: Measuring Coastal Erosion
Conduct a beach profile on a south-facing beach on Rhode Island Sound; learn how beaches move, change shape and how coastal change is measured; look at managed barrier beaches; learn about coastal zone regulations. Analyze beach profile data; input numerical data into a long-term data set.
Public Panel Discussion: Private Property, the Public: Fair Share of Marine Resources
Moderator: Cory Dean, Science Editor, New York Times
Panelists: Scott Allen, Environmental Writer, Boston Globe, Dr. James McCarthy, Professor, Harvard University, Dennis Nixon, Professor, University of Rhode Island, Dr. Rutherford Platt, Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Andy Revkin, Environmental Writer, New York Times
Tall Ships, Newport Harbor
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
An introduction to the latest in GIS applications, new developments (wetlands restoration, hazards mapping, global positioning systems).
Public Lecture: The Environmental Climate in American Science Funding, Dr. Margaret Leinen, assistant director of Geosciences Directorate, National Science Foundation