BES hosts Congressional staffers and agency personnel on ESA field trip

Network News Fall 2010, Vol. 23 No. 2
Site News

The Public Policy Office of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) organized a field trip to Baltimore for congressional staff members, mission agency leaders, and professional scientific organizations headquartered in Washington, DC. BES researchers, educators, and community and governmental partners assembled at three sites in Baltimore to introduce the visitors to activities and outcomes of the LTER project.

During a visit to the stream sampling site near the mouth of the Gwynns Falls stream in Carroll Park, the visitors learned about the overall structure of the project, which uses the watershed concept as a major conceptual framework and empirical integrator. BES researchers described the concept and research strategy of LTER, as well as important research findings and their relevance to local governmental decision making.

During lunch at the US Geological Survey building on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the visitors were further introduced to important partners from USGS and senior administrators of the University, which hosts the BES LTER program. While on campus, the group toured the wet and dry labs and the Geographical Information Systems and visualization facilities at UMBC’s Center for Urban Environmental Research and Education.

The group’s final stop was Franklin Square Elementary School in the Harlem Park neighborhood of west Baltimore, where the visitors learned about community engagement and after-school education activities facilitated by the Parks & People Foundation. The researchers demonstrated how they monitor small catchment areas and measure interventions aimed at stormwater management across the watershed . They also highlighted the interactions among formal and non-formal education, community revitalization, best practices for stormwater management, and municipal policy.

The visitors left Baltimore with a sense of the novel science and the practical outcomes of LTER research in an urban setting. BES acknowledges the expertise and thanks the ESA Public Policy Office for initiating and facilitating this important opportunity to engage an important audience for the products of research and science education.