Today I was reviewing the big flip chart paper notes from our recent COSEE NOW Storytelling workshop. It seems like a good idea at the time, to use these giant pieces of paper to record the great ideas that are generated in brainstorming sessions. As I spread the paper out like a giant map over my small office floor, I realized there is so much to do to build our community of scientists and educators involved in ocean observing systems. Most of us, by the nature of our jobs are asked to be Jacks of all Trades getting involved in professional development for educators, exhibit design and development, evaluation, data visualization, web interface development, facilitation, marketing, video production, communications, partnership building to name a few. How do we develop this expertise in the small sometimes non existent budgets for OOS education and outreach? How do we connect with others that in the same boat but a different region of the country?
So we asked the participants of the storytelling workshop, besides time and money, what are the obstacles to IOOS collaboration? How can we overcome these obstacles?
One recommendation was to form a Regional Association (RA) coordinating committee that uses conference calls and other forms of communication to build collaboration and partnerships. We need to just get to know one another better and identify some spokes people who can help raise our visibility. Another was to have at least one face-to-face meeting a year and use the coordinating committee to prepare some potential proposals that could be jointly developed and submitted by IOOS/OOI educators and scientists. A suggestion was made to build this as pre work to an annual face-to-face meeting so we can come prepared to move forward on joint activities. Lastly, the group discussed the need to focus our priorities.
What do the scientists think who are engaged in OOS? Do they support education and public outreach efforts around OOS? Many and maybe most do and I suspect some don’t if it means draining money from already stretched budgets. Leaders in IOOS and NSF want nothing more than for these collaborations to happen and high quality products to develop.
COSEE NOW is dedicated to helping bridge these collaborations. It starts by getting to know each other. I encourage you to check out our inaugural podcast with John Delaney, a leader and visionary for OOS. COSEE NOW will be focusing on building a database of stories from scientists, OOS data users and professionals over the spring log into the resources section to browse the stories and think about adding one of your own.