Forging a New Model of Public Engagement with Science

October 28–29, 2014
Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest
North Woodstock, NH

Define and explore the overlap between stakeholder interests/concerns and scientific research at Hubbard Brook:

  • How can scientists and citizens interact to the benefit of all people in our communities?
  • In this rapidly changing world, what forest-related and environmental topics are most pressing to residents of the rural communities and small cities in and around the region?
  • How might citizens provide input into the research agenda for environmental scientists to better serve the people of the Northern Forest?

In October 2014, the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation organized and facilitated a Hubbard Brook Roundtable entitled “Forging a New Model of Public Engagement with Science” as part of its Forest Science Dialogues initiative. The group was charged with the goal of identifying areas of overlapping interest and concern between ecosystem scientists and public audiences in the Northern Forest region of the northeastern US. Among the outcomes of the roundtable was agreement that social science should be embedded in the Forest Science Dialogues project and process. The first step in doing so was conducted by graduate students in an environmental ethics class as part of Plymouth State University’s Masters in Environmental Science & Policy program, who reviewed existing resources and data on “what people care about” in the Hubbard Brook Valley, Pemigewasset Watershed, and more broadly, the Northern Forest region. The report, Informing Community-Relevant Research in the Northern Forest (download below), which was authored by the PSU Environmental Science and Policy students, presents the results of this first step and offers recommendations for future work.