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AWRA 2018 Annual Water Resources Conference 
November 4-8, 2018
Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, Baltimore, MD

CONFERENCE OPENING PLENARY SESSION: 
Navigating New Waters – Communicating Science in Today’s World
8:30 AM – 12:00 Noon  /  
West DEF

Welcome and Opening Remarks:

Brenda O. Bateman
President, American Water Resources Association
Oregon Water Resources Department, Salem, OR

Martha C. Narvaez
Conference General Chair

Water Resources Center, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Kathy Hale
Technical Program Co-Chair

New Jersey Water Supply Authority, Clinton, NJ

Kelly Mott LaCroix
Technical Program Co-Chair

Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC

Keynote Speaker:
Benjamin H. Grumbles, Secretary of the Environment

Office of the Secretary, Department of the Environment, Baltimore, MD

Information overload, misleading, jargon, technical terms, fake news, misinformation—terms we have all heard related to communicating information in the water and environmental fields. How do we, as professionals and students in these fields of study, convey the scientific information through the most effective and efficient channels without failing to get the necessary information across or losing our audience. In the opening plenary session you will hear from communication and journalism professionals on their experiences, the current challenges, and recommendations for navigating today’s complex interplay between science and communications. 

The session will kick off with a keynote. Following the keynote presentation a panel discussion with representatives from a variety of communication expertise will provide perspective from their vantage point on communications in this day and age and bridging the worlds of science and the public. This discussion will take place from a variety of perspectives from representatives including: 

  • Steven Sobieszczyk (Moderator) (United States Geological Survey (USGS)), Portland, OR
  • Erik Eckl (Water Words that Work), Frederick, MD
  • John Mussoni (WHYY), Wilmington, DE
  • Annie Snider (Politico), Washington, DC
  • Tim Wheeler (Bay Journal/Baltimore Sun), Seven Valleys, PA
  • Ariel Wittenberg (E&E News), Washington, DC

Panelists will touch on discussion points such as messaging scientific information, navigating the issue of trust, using multiple media platforms and other relevant topics. This panel discussion will incorporate audience discussion and Q&A.

Plenary Session Outline
Session 1: 8:30-10
                  8:30-9:00 – Conference logistics/conference committee introduction, etc. 
                  9:00-10:00 Keynote Speaker (Benjamin H. Grumbles)
Break:        10:15-10:30
Session 2: 10:30-12 Panel discussion led by moderator (including 5 panelists and one moderator)