Workshop: Marine conservation success through synthesis and story
Success means very different things to different people. How are management goals defined in different cultural, political, and ecological contexts? What does success look like in particular coastal and marine ecosystems, and to the diverse human communitieis that are part of these places?
To explore these issues, COMPASS hosted a retreat for 10 scholars and practitioners from academia, government, and non-governmental organizations at the Helen R. Whiteley Center at Friday Harbor Laboratories, University of Washington. Led by Karen McLeod (COMPASS Director of Science) and Heather Leslie (Brown University), the group discussed the diversity of ways that scholars, practitioners, and stakeholders define success, and what that means for documenting and sharing stories of success in conservation and management.
While the primary focus was on scientific synthesis and preparation of a peer-reviewed paper, this workshop also incorporated story-telling through a new module led by Erica Goldman (COMPASS Assistant Director of Policy Outreach). The group discussed elements of a compelling story and honed their story-telling skills, generating prospects for a number of popular articles and use of the narrative arc in writing for popular and scientific audiences.
Given the strong interest among donors, nations around the world, and society at large in ensuring that investments in conservation and management yield tangible outcomes, understanding the diversity of ways we define success, acknowledging that we have success stories to tell, and learning how to better tell them, is vital.