For the first time, the American Geophysical Union’s Thriving Earth Exchange program is bringing together a cohort of Wisconsin community science projects that will move forward locally-identified priorities.
AGU is a national Earth and space science nonprofit association that oversees Thriving Earth Exchange–a free program that matches communities with a volunteer project manager, or Community Science Fellow, and technical experts.
For the April 2022 cohort, UniverCity Alliance (UCA) is partnering with Thriving Earth Exchange to bring together Wisconsin communities. UCA is a program on UW-Madison’s campus that connects local governments across the state with university resources to solve community problems.
The April 2022 cohort represents communities from as far north as the City of Ashland, to the state’s southern border in the City of Beloit. It touches the western edge in La Crosse and includes Wisconsin’s capital city and county seat in the City of Madison and Dane County.
Communities in the Wisconsin cohort will pursue a range of project topics, including tree canopies, greenhouse gas emissions, heat waves, biodiversity and flood prevention. Several projects address PFAS contamination concerns and issues of water quality.
Thriving Earth Exchange will now take these projects to a network of national experts who can help formulate solutions to the identified problems. Each community is also paired with a Community Science Fellow who volunteers as a project manager to advance the work.
Community science and research happens when communities and experts work together to advance the community’s priorities. That includes defining questions, designing protocols, collecting and analyzing data, communicating learnings, and using scientific knowledge in decision-making. Projects begin with community voice, are guided by community knowledge, and end in community impact. Check out Thriving Earth Exchange past projects.
About Thriving Earth Exchange
Since 2013, Thriving Earth Exchange has worked with nearly 200 communities in 39 states and 10 countries. They work with a variety of partners, including scientific organizations, academia, federal institutions and community-facing organizations. Thriving Earth Exchange also supports organizations outside of the United States seeking to adapt Thriving Earth’s approach to community science for their region or country.
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La Follette School of Public Affairs graduate students studied the heat island effect in the city of La Crosse, which partnered with Thriving Earth Exchange through UniverCity Alliance.
Localities in Wisconsin and across the United States are benefitting from the skills and passion of two Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies graduates and one current PhD student.