This Month’s Science Café to Explore Rainforest Canopies and Communication to Public Audiences

This month’s Science Café topic is “From ivory towers to prison watch towers: Research on rainforest canopies and its communication to non-traditional public audiences.”

When: 7:00 pm, Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Where: Batdorf & Bronson Coffee House, 516 Capitol Way S. Olympia, WA
Batdorf & Bronson has three locations in Olympia. Science Café meets in the downtown coffee house on Capitol Way.

On-street parking is available on Legion, Capitol Way, Columbia Street, and Water Street.

After 6 p.m., there is parking available at Heritage Bank on Columbia Street between 5th and Legion.

Our speaker is Dr. Nalini M. Nadkarni. She is a member of the faculty at The Evergreen State College and President of International Canopy Network.

Rainforest canopies foster tremendous diversity and complexity, but remain one of the most poorly understood communities on Earth. Using mountain-climbing techniques, construction cranes, and hot-air balloons, canopy researchers have documented the rich flora and fauna that live their entire lives in the canopy. My research in the cloud forests of Costa Rica and the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula has shown that canopy communities contribute substantially to maintenance of biodiversity, nutrient cycling, and enhancement of wildlife habitat for the whole ecosystem. However, human disturbances such as forest fragmentation, air pollution, and global climate change, can have strong negative effects on canopy biota. To raise awareness of the fragility of forest canopy biota and encourage their protection, I have developed pathways to communicate results of my canopy studies to the public by creating partnerships with artists, faith-based communities, and incarcerated men and women. I describe this work as a potential model for other scientists to bring their research to the public and thereby become open to new perspectives on their studies.

Coming in April:
Amphibians in Western Washington
Presented by local Griffin-area resident Joanne Schuett-Hames, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

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