Words Matter in #SciComm

I had a great time talking with Ashley Piccone from Wyoming Public Radio about the importance of word choice in science communication. Meaning is shaped at multiple levels within the communication process, even in the definitions of single commonly-used words. Being more attentive to word choice helps us think more deeply about how we can prevent misunderstandings, build trust, and meaningfully connect with people.

Listen to the WPR story here and then check out the original article that I co-authored with Bethann Merkle in the Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America.

Publication: Meaning‐Making in Science Communication: A Case for Precision in Word Choice

“To be effective communicators we must have a deeper appreciation for how language and ideas are reshaped in context”

Read the full article on the importance of word choice in science communication in Issue 102 of Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America.

New Publication: What Happened on December 21st, 2019: A Retrospective

New words up today on Essay Daily!

…I had been working on an essay about fragments: fragments of bone, fragments of light, and what the space between these fragments can embody. I’m learning to pay attention to these spaces. A lot can happen in the subtext, in the distance between things, in the space of what is left out, in the time between December 21st and March 16th…

Read the full essay

New Publications: Lunar Eclipse off Exit 88 & What Gould’s Magpie Has Stolen

Two poems up now in the latest issue of Minding Naturea publication from the Center for Humans & Nature.

Cover Art by Courtney Mattison


Somewhere in Oklahoma,
speeding through scrubby darkness,
we pulled off the highway on Exit 88…

Read the full poem


For its feathers, the prism of light
that broke its blacks into iridescence…

Read the full poem

New Publication: Tidal Desert

Published this week in the lovely Winter issue of Hawk & Whippoorwill


…Because I could descend
in the chasm of dissolution
between the layers of sandstone
to where life is pressed like petals,

I began to sense the land’ s lungs
beneath the soil, see the hardness of the desert
and understand that here,
life is not to be presumed…

Read the full poem

New Publication: Grafting

Published in the Spring/Summer issue of the Aurorean



Among high ponderosas in Arizona,

I remember Maine’s white pines—

how after climbing them,

their clear sap drew pieces of that homeland

straight into my hands….


Read the full poem by subscribing/ordering from the Aurorean.