Letter from the Executive Director

It’s a pleasure to welcome you to Metcalf Institute’s 2023 Annual Report. The report and the work highlighted within are a testament to the dedication and stewardship of Dr. Sunshine Menezes, the outgoing executive director, and the amazing work of the Institute’s team.   

As I take the lead at the institute, I’m learning alongside you about the breadth and depth of Metcalf’s work over the past quarter century. A great place to start is with Sarah Heavren’s piece chronicling the institute’s first 25 years. Sarah is one of our interns and we could not bring our programs to life without the hard work of University of Rhode Island students. In her article, you’ll learn about the Institute’s founding and how seeing and filling a critical need–helping scientists and journalists to better understand each other–has resulted in advancing the public’s understanding of climate and environment science for more than two dozen years. 

The impact of this work can be seen in the section on our 3,600-member strong network of journalists, scientists and communicators. Through our training, lectures, and conferences, we have helped journalists and scientists advance their careers, publish books, and create award-winning work that positively impacts communities around the world. 

In June, the Institute celebrated the 25th anniversary of journalism training with some of our talented alumni joining us for field trips and a roundtable where they shared valuable feedback on Metcalf’s impacts and their visions for our future. This year, we also welcomed back the inclusive science communication community to the URI campus (and virtually) with the first cohort of SciComm Identities Project (SCIP) and the fourth Inclusive SciComm Symposium. To learn about these two programs and more about our work in this important area, take a look at the note from our new team member, Dr. Emily Cribas, who has joined us as our first inclusive science communication program specialist in November. 

As we transition into 2024, it is my pleasure to build on Metcalf’s impressive foundation with a team committed to creating impactful programming. Our theme for the 2024 Annual Science Immersion Workshop is water systems under pressure. In June, we will welcome journalists to train with scientists on the climate challenges(think oceans, rivers, drinking water, wastewater) and inclusive, equitable solutions for our water systems. That theme will anchor our Annual Lecture Series as well. Through generous funding from van Beuren Charitable Foundation and private donors, we also will launch a new training for journalists, the Climate and Environment Fellowship for Local Journalism. In 2024, this fellowship will support up to 20 journalists covering the northeastern U.S. to better understand and communicate the impacts of climate change to their communities. This new fellowship will bring our signature science training to newsrooms that often lack the support and skills to cover climate and environment stories. We look forward to opening this program to journalists in other parts of the U.S. and globally in the years to come. 

To hear more from me on how we will continue to serve our mission, support equity and inclusion, and expand and nurture our network, please click here for a video outlining my strategic vision for the Institute. 

Thank you to our donors, our ever-expanding network, and to you for supporting Metcalf’s mission, which is increasingly critical as we meet the challenges of a changing world with knowledge, hope and compassion. 

Warmest regards, 

Fara Warner