A Non-Scientist’s #SparkofScience

This was originally written in in 2016 for Nautilus Magazine’s Spark of Science Issue. It has been updated for 2018.

I am not a scientist, but I am a science communicator.

As a web and social media producer for Climate Central, I’m surrounded in science daily. I tweet about rising CO2 levels. I write stories about the issues our country faces in a world with climate change. I create interactives showing what sea level rise projections could do to major cities around the world. I write social media video scripts about declining Arctic sea ice.

I always thought my spark of science came through my Earth 100 class at Penn State with Dr. Laura Guertin, a kick-ass marine geologist and professor who introduced me to the connection between educational technology and Earth science. Who better to teach me about our changing planet than an American Geophysical Union blogger AND #SparkofScience blogger?

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But after a bit of introspective thought, I found that Dr. G’s class was just a continuation of my love for the Earth.

When I was 3, I channelled Julia Butterfly Hill and hung out in a Redwood tree. My elementary, middle and high school years were spent RVing to federal lands all across the U.S. and Canada. I have spent countless hours hiking through our National Forests, and many more driving to National Parks. Grad school in Montana brought me to the dwindling glaciers of Glacier National Park , and curiosity has taken me from the White Rim Trail in Utah to Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. I’ve blogged about my dedication of wilderness protection for the Wilderness Society, and been featured on National Parks Traveler.

My intrigue with wild places hasn’t peaked yet, but has turned into a fierce dedication to educating the public on what climate change will do to the natural world. And even though I’m not a scientist, I’m using my spark of science to tell everyone about it.

Top 10 Climate Stories of 2017 — my first Climate Central byline

I wrote my first story for Climate Central!

Yeah yeah, I know I’m a little slow. Despite being there for 2.5 years writing copy for thousands of tweets and Facebook posts, and now for our newly-launched social videos, I’ve never written a bylined piece. But now I have!

I polled our social followers about what they thought the top stories of 2017 in the climate realm were, and they picked the following — the blockbuster hurricane season, new, terrifying sea level rise projections , the government (and its denial, among other things), Tesla and Elon Musk’s innovative projects across the world, the West’s terrifying wildfire season (which is never-ending, it seems), global heat records continually being broken, the social injustice of climate change, solar energy shining, the shift to transportation pollution being the biggest carbon emitter, and deadly heatwaves.

Read about it right over here. 

The Great Outdoors: My Nautilus #SparkofScience

It should be no surprise to anyone that my spark of science, a term coined by Nautilus Magazine, came from the great outdoors.

Nautilus was kind enough to accept my submission, wherein I talked about how my love for science, even though I’m not a scientist, came from spending time in wild places with my family.

I always thought my spark of science came from my Earth 100 class at Penn State with Dr. Laura Guertin, a kick-ass marine geologist and professor who introduced me to the connection between educational technology and Earth science. Who better to teach me about our changing planet than an American Geophysical Union blogger (and #SparkofScience blogger)?

But after a bit of introspective thought, I found that Dr. G’s class was just different path on my love for the Earth.

Read the whole post here. Thanks, Nautilus!

Abbey 2.0

As you may have noticed, I took a quick hiatus from my blog. “Why?,” you may ask?

Well, I finished up my thesis last month and have graduated from the University of Montana with my Master of Arts degree in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism. After my thesis defense of “The Unforgiving Teacher: the struggle to reduce backcountry avalanche deaths,” I was hooded in my graduation ceremony in front of my family and friends!

For a synopsis of my thesis and defense, please click through to this Atavist presentation. In the coming months, I will try to sell my story and infographic to a magazine.

But wait, there’s more!

Last year, I wrote this in my bio: “After graduation, I hope to work on the digital side of an environmentally-focused publication.”

And I’ll be doing just that.

I’ve accepted a position with Climate Central – a non-profit climate change news website based in Princeton, NJ focused on spreading accessible climate science facts and figures to the public and decision makers around the country, as well as provide graphics and information to TV station broadcasters in the US.

I’ll be working on all things digital, from web production to social media. Stay tuned on my progress there!

So thanks, everyone, for supporting me along the way. If you’re reading this, you’ve helped me get where I am! So thanks again. And check out ClimateCentral.org!