Exterior shot of the California State Capitol, focusing on the dome and cupola. (Photo by Ben Young Landis)

Helping Science Inform Policy | October 2019

News and Things for October 2019
Curated by Ben Young Landis

  • Register for the October 11th #SciPolComm workshop
  • Our Owl Friends return with sustainability message
  • #CWYAscicomm wraps for 2019
  • Miscarriage, matrescence, and “The Fierce Unfolding”
  • Gerrymandering in letters
  • Upcoming workshops and events

Seats Available for “Helping Science Inform Policy” Workshop, October 11th in Sacramento

Why is fall the best time to proposal bill ideas to California state legislators and staffers? We’ll explore this and other insights at the first independent offering of “Helping Science Inform Policy: Tools for Engaging State-Level Leaders” — an introductory workshop designed for scientists and other professionals in research, agriculture, and education. Learn about relevant committees, deadlines, and briefing formats, along with pitfalls to avoid and keys to success. Focus is placed on understanding the difference between advice versus advocacy — a nuance critical to successful policy engagement. (Register for the October 11th workshop | Share the #SciPolComm workshop on Twitter)

Our Owl Friends Return with California’s Kiwifruit Season

The onset of autumn weather in Northern California means kiwifruit season is here! It also means “Our Owl Friends” — the adorable barn owl mascot of Wild River organic farm — will once again fly to Whole Foods and other specialty grocers and co-ops around the United States. Look for the organic gold kiwifruit and organic green kiwifruit in your store as the season progresses — and learn the sustainability connection behind the owl branding in our project portfolio. (Read the design story behind Our Owl Friends | Follow Wild River and #OurOwlFriends on Instagram)

Final “Connecting with Your Audience” Workshop Blends Improv Practice and Team Time

At the final independent offering of the “Connecting with Your Audience: Tools for Effective Science Communication” workshop for 2019, participants from state agencies and tech startups came up with clever ways to explain technical topics from no-till farming to medical education. If you were unable to attend this session, ask your institution or organization to book a #CWYAscicomm workshop for early 2020. (Share photos from the September 20th workshop in Sacramento | About the workshop)

Miscarriage, Matrescence, and “The Fierce Unfolding”

Our good friend Kelly Rathburn Conroy recently unveiled a new creative project expressing her journey of matrescence: The Fierce Unfolding. As Kelly writes: “Matrescence is the process of becoming a mother. It encompasses the changes in a woman’s physiology, psychology, and neurology as well as her social, economic, spiritual, and political self. It’s likened in duration and intensity to adolescence — and it’s a lot to navigate.” In addition to publishing her own poetry and essays, Kelly invites mothers and women from around the world to share their experiences, resources, and support via the project. (Visit The Fierce Unfolding website | Share your story of motherhood)

“Ugly Gerry” — A Gerrymandered Font

Those up in arms about gerrymandering — the maligned practice prevalent in the United States of drawing extremely favorable voter districts — can now voice their complaints in alphabets drawn from actual gerrymandered districts. “Ugly Gerry” is the brainchild of Ben Doessel and James Lee, two Chicago-based agency creatives with the global firm Leo Burnett. The indie project’s website encourages visitors to compose messages using the font — and then tweet the image at their congressional representatives. (Read the interview in Roll Call | More in Hyperallergic | Download Ugly Gerry)

Upcoming Events

October 11th Workshop: “Helping Science Inform Policy: Tools for Engaging State-Leaders” with Ben Young Landis and special guests (Sacramento, California)

October 25th Meeting: Second Congress of Regional Science Writers Groups, hosted by Marla Vacek Broadfoot and Ben Young Landis (State College, Pennsylvania)

October 26th Plenary: “How Can We Solve the Diversity Dearth in U.S. Science Writing?” produced by Clinton Parks, Kelly Tyrrell, and Ben Young Landis (State College, Pennsylvania)

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“Have fun. Do no harm. Leave the world a better place.”

— Ben Young Landis