This post was originally published on BioDiverse Perspectives – a research blog aimed at fostering communication about biodiversity.
A few months ago, Sharon Baruch-Mordo posted a provocative challenge. She called it the biodiversity challenge and offered it as an opportunity to engage the public – an opportunity to speak to non-scientists about our work and to convince them that they should care about it. Her thesis was that if we’re interested in generating knowledge – any knowledge really – it’s our responsibility to disseminate that knowledge as thoroughly as possible. The biodiversity challenge is a tough one. Not many graduate students are given training in science communication, and when we are, it’s usually targeted towards generating concise scientific prose that can be published in peer-reviewed journals. But the challenge is an important one. If we want to disseminate our knowledge, we have to be able to communicate it effectively.
Here’s the challenge:
Write a 500-word essay for a newspaper or magazine about the importance of your research in the context of biodiversity and conservation. Your target audience is the general public and your goal is to be educational and convincing.
Well, we took the biodiversity challenge. Over the past two weeks we’ve been toiling away at writing about our research interests. Next week we’ll be posting them for everyone to see and we challenge you to join in. You can upload it here or email it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will publish them all next week, in full, as we receive them, unedited, in all their glory.
Jon Lefcheck has already taken the challenge. Won’t you?
UPDATE: The Biodiversity Challenges are coming in. Check them out here!