There’s little point in working to protect wildlife without a galvanized and informed public that places high value on wild creatures and the landscapes we share with them. We support and conduct wildlife science and conservation outreach in several ways, including through our grants program.
The Alongside Wildlife Foundation Outreach Award
This cash-prize award recognizes effective and innovative science communicators that go above and beyond to engage and educate non-scientists about wildlife and conservation. We created this award because although everyone agrees this kind of outreach is important, there are few mechanisms to recognize and reward the people actually doing the work. The winner of The Alongside Wildlife Foundation Outreach Award in 2019 was Jason Ward.
Wildlife Science and Conservation Outreach
The Foundation contributes to its outreach goals through the award-winning science communication efforts of its Executive Director David Steen, who has been called The Best Biologist on Twitter, a genius of hashtag herpetology, and a Twitter sensation. He writes,
- A recent survey suggested 83% of Americans could not name a living scientist (those that could typically named Stephen Hawking) and do not know what a scientist does. I joined Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to pass on wildlife-related news, answer wildlife questions, and introduce people to a wildlife scientist; I am now followed by over 33,000 people. I also make myself available to the media and appear frequently in interviews, podcasts, and videos to help communicate science to the general public.
- My primary outreach contribution is my award-winning science blog, where I write about natural history, ecology, and research; my blog gets over 3,000 views each day and has been viewed over seven million times overall. You can visit the Facebook page associated with the blog here. Also check out Wildlife Return, a twitter account dedicated to highlighting wildlife reclaiming landscapes around the world.
- My writing about wildlife ecology and conservation also appears in other online outlets, like Slate, Motherboard, Earth Touch, and Live Science and my book, Secrets of Snakes: the Science Beyond The Myths (Texas A&M University Press) to be published in 2019!
The Alongside Wildlife Foundation is always looking to form new collaborations to communicate science in novel ways. For example, check out this post on Buzz Hoot Roar communicating the ecosystem services provided by snakes, artwork by Brooke Hatfield. We also supported the creation of a comic by Rosemary Mosco of Bird and Moon Comics to illustrate the many myths and misunderstandings surrounding Cottonmouths and another to help people figure out what to do if they find a turtle on the road.
Finally, we work closely with Blue Aster Studio on a variety of projects, including graphics to accompany conversations with the general public about the snakes around them. You can purchase merchandise based on these graphics here.