The Adirondack Watershed Institute at Paul Smith’s College and the Lake Champlain Sea Grant welcome Stephanie Tyski as the Watershed Science Communication Fellow. Earlier this year, Lake Champlain Sea Grant awarded the AWI a two-year, competitive fellowship that provides $25,000 a year toward the hire of an early career professional.
Tyski is contributing to AWI’s communication strategy for protecting clean water and healthy watersheds. AWI will support and mentor Tyski as she implements a communication project that engages the public and fosters stewardship. Lake Champlain Sea Grant will offer learning opportunities and additional training for Tyski to enhance her efforts in the Adirondack region.
“I’m excited to have this opportunity with the AWI and Lake Champlain Sea Grant to further my knowledge of science communication in a way that’s different from my previous positions,” said Ms. Tyski. “My goal is to create engaging technology-assisted programs that will help foster stewardship of our waters in younger generations.”
Tyski is using social media, digital storytelling, blogging, virtual programming, interactive web experiences, and smart phone-based apps/games to increase public engagement with science, inspire public stewardship and adoption of conservation practices, and measure success of communication tools. She immediately dove into her role by working with science, education and outreach, and communication teams to plan and deliver activities at this past summer’s Adirondack Water Week, an annual community event that celebrates the region’s water resources.
“Stephanie brings a unique set of skills to the AWI team, and we are so excited for the opportunity to foster these talents and support her career goals,” said Zoë Smith, deputy director of the Adirondack Watershed Institute. “Stephanie’s understanding of using complex technologies to deliver authentic environmental programs opens up endless opportunities to engage the public in science awareness and stewardship action.”
Growing up in the Capital Region of New York, Tyski had a deep love for the environment that stemmed from camping and paddling trips. This passion led her to continue her education at Paul Smith’s College, where she earned a B.S. in Parks and Conservation Management and a M.S. in Natural Resources Conservation with a focus in Sustainable Communities.
While earning her degrees, she worked at Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center as a naturalist. Stephanie developed a strong interest in how people interact and learn about the environment through technology, especially through video games.
“Lake Champlain Sea Grant is pleased to partner with the AWI to support Stephanie’s fellowship,” said Kris Stepenuck, Associate Director for Lake Champlain Sea Grant. “Her efforts to incorporate gaming into science communications within the Lake Champlain basin are unique. It’s a pleasure to see an early career scientist put their passions into action to benefit basin communities.”
The mission of the Adirondack Watershed Institute is to protect clean water, conserve habitat, and support the health and well-being of the people in the Adirondacks through scientific inquiry, stewardship, and real world experiences, adkwatershed.org.
Lake Champlain Sea Grant develops and shares science-based knowledge to benefit the environment and economies of the Lake Champlain basin. uvm.edu/seagrant/