Children and parents gather at the Science Storytellers booth at the Family Science Days public fair hosted in Seattle by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, February 16, 2020. The photo shows scientists of diverse ethnicities and genders seated and being interviewed one-on-one by kids with pen and paper in hand. (Photo by Ben Young Landis for Science Storytellers)

The Storytellers | February 2020 News and Things

News and Things for February 2020
Curated by Ben Young Landis

  • Collaborations open!
  • Growing a brand family with Mandy Mandarin
  • Science Storytellers lets kids wield the power of the interview
  • Science comics for smartphone screens
  • Smithsonian unleashes open access image trove
  • “Ghost River” returns Indigenous voices to Conestoga Massacre
  • Recent and upcoming events

Our Good Work

Collaborations Open: Do You Need a Jolt of Creative Strategy for Your Team, Content, or Project?

I am taking on new clients and projects through Q2 of 2020 — and I would love to work with you. If your organization focuses on science, environment, or social impact missions, and you’re seeking advice and help to jump-start your communications strategy, launch an online presence, or prepare for a project rollout, I can help. From strategic planning facilitation to membership newsletter designs to content writing, let’s talk about how we can design lasting impact for your good work for the world. (Get in touch with me by emailBrowse past projectsFollow me on Twitter)

“Mandy Mandarin” Character Continues Sustainability Storyline for Organic Farm

Any brand redesign for a working fruit farm must accommodate the full range of its products in a unified visual identity and central message. I am proud share the latest iteration of the packaging rebrand for Wild River, a third-generation family farm in Northern California dedicated to organic cultivation and responsible agriculture. “Mandy Mandarin” realizes the original vision by myself and Guy Rogers of Spark Creative Design to create a family of #OurOwlFriends — a tribute to the many barn owl boxes on-site at the farm encouraging natural pest control. (Discover the design story for Mandy Mandarin | Revisit the Our Owl Friends kiwifruit origin story)

Science Storytellers Gives Kids the Power to Discover What Scientists Really Do — and Look Like

Congratulations to my friend Jennifer Cutraro on launching another edition of her Science Storytellers project at the AAAS Annual Meeting this February — as well as her induction as an elected Fellow of AAAS. In preparation for the Seattle event, I provided Jenny with creative content support and strategic planning for event operations. On-site, I observed and provided run-of-show assessments and produced social media live feeds. If you’re a program officer or institutional leader looking to bring a vibrant public outreach and broader impacts experience to your conference or campus, get to know Science Storytellers today! (Follow Science Storytellers on Instagram | On Twitter | Read coverage in the Nieman Storyboard | Learn how to partner with Science Storytellers)

The Good Work of Others

Scrolling Science Comics on Smartphone Screens Get a Thumbs Up

Translating comic book formats to a smartphone reading experience has been tricky, but the new Tinyview app for iOS and Android has embraced the challenge — with an initial focus on science history content, no less. Created by California-based entrepreneur Rajesh Lalwani, Tinyview’s debut series “In Science We Trust” features mini-biographies of Alan Turing, Ada Lovelace, Mary Anning, and other scientists in Western history. A rotating cast of writers and artists pen and ink the stories, including science journalist Sarah Zielinski and Lalwani’s 12 year-old son Rishi. (Visit the Tinyview Comics website | Read the Forbes Contributors blogpost by Eva Amsen)

Smithsonian Institution Unleashes 2.8 Million 2D and 3D Images for Open Access Downloads and Remixes

This month, the Smithsonian unveiled an unprecedented effort to image and digitize its extensive scientific and cultural collections, releasing them into public domain as Creative Commons Zero license. Along with 3D content repositories, search platforms, and other custom tools developed by Smithsonian team, Smithsonian Open Access aims to increase the diffusion of knowledge and give power back to communities and peoples. “The values center on stewardship and trust, diversity and inclusion, and dignity and respect. And today we ask that you uphold these responsibilities of trust, inclusion, and respect for communities as you build on these resources,” says Effie Kapsalis, head of the #SmithsonianOpenAccess project. (Read the announcement by Kapsalis | Visit the Smithsonian Open Access portal | Read the Smithsonian Open Access Initiative ValuesEcologist Clare Fieseler provides context)

Indigenous Writer and Artist Give Voice to Visual History of “Ghost River”

A new graphic novel written by Lee Francis IV (Laguna Pueblo), illustrated by Weshoyot Alvitre (Tongva), and conceived by Will Fenton reclaims the Native voices of a day of death blurred by history. Ghost River: The Fall and Rise of the Conestoga retells the murder of 20 Conestoga Indians in December 1763 by a mob of Pennsylvania colonists. The creative effort relied on historic documents and a diverse advisory board of American Indian cultural leaders to painstakingly reinterpret and represent the events of the Conestoga Massacre — and its ripples centuries later. An appendix of equal length curates many of these preserved pamphlets and letters of the day; footnotes by the project leaders regarding their creative decisions; and a set of Common Core lesson plans for use with the book. (Download the Ghost River digital volume | Buy the print edition | Read the NPR Code Switch story by Jess Kung)

Events and Appearances Calendar

February 11th Reception: NorCal SETAC Winter Social. Ben Young Landis in attendance. (Davis, California)

February 13th-16th Conference: 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Association of the Advancement of Science. Ben Young Landis in attendance. (Seattle, Washington)

May 6th Workshop: “Helping Science Inform Policy 101: Understanding the California State Legislature” with Ben Young Landis and special guest. Presented by the 29th NorCal SETAC Annual Meeting. (Sacramento, California)

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

— Ben Young Landis