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!

Wilderness Society Blogger

As of Jan. 2015, I am a digital volunteer with the Wilderness Society, an organization founded to preserve wild places through outreach and education, as well as have a policy presence in Washington DC.

They reached out to me after seeing my millennials post (thank you, #wearethewild!) and asked if I would provide a series of blog posts expanding on my experience as an outdoor explorer.

My first post centers on getting kids outside. When the four of us kids we were younger, we would clamber into the motor home and drive across the country. When it was just me, my parents would take me out in the hiking carrier.

My mom and me on the Oregon Coast in the fall of 1991.
My mom and me on the Oregon Coast in the fall of 1991.

I’m happy to share my experiences with the Wilderness Society in the hopes that more parents will foster the love I have for the wild places! We are the wild, and we love it!

#AGU14 – Friday (What I Learned)

There is way to much to even say after this fantastic conference, so I have to boil it down to three points. This is just a snippit of what I learned from AGU 2014:

1. Scientists want to share their science (whether or not they know how): After attending sessions all week and presenting on Monday, I have encountered a lot of scientists who want to share their research, whether it be through public outreach, journalistic stories or blogging their own ideas.

From my poster, I encouraged scientists to use what’s going on in popular culture as a springboard for spreading ideas. The holiday season is coming up, so how can you relate your science to that? What will be going on in space that day? How can you cut down on fossil fuel emissions during holiday travel? What will the weather be like? This method can be applied to any event. Think of what the public is thinking about – then relate to it.

2. PLUTO IS AWESOME: I say, a lot, that I don’t understand science. I really want to but my brain just doesn’t work that way! I attended a pre-screening of a movie about Pluto on Thursday, and I have been thinking about it ever since. How do scientists know what’s out there when they’ve never been that far? How did they navigate the spacecraft 3 billion miles away and know its exact path! More importantly, how do they navigate the thing at all! For a refresher, NASA sent the “New Horizons” spacecraft to Pluto in 2006. It will finally make it’s way to Pluto for data-collection in July 2015. Next year has been dubbed the “Year of Pluto.”

Takeaway from this lesson: I am amazed at what planetary scientists can do. And I still do not get it.

Photo by Nicky Ouellet
Dr. G and I! Photo by Nicky Ouellet

3. The AGU is even more awesome: Networking, networking and more networking. I was able to meet my science writing idol, Liz Neeley, and even take a selfie with her. Meeting Kara Rodean and Ali Branscombe of AGU face-to-face helped me realize what cool jobs they have and how much work they put into the fall meeting! Presenting in the Outstanding Student Paper Award makes me proud of all the student scientists at AGU.

Helping Kimmie Bowen (Dr. G‘s student) get through the meeting reminded me how far I have come as a presenter and student. Tweeting with the student volunteers all week gave me a new appreciation for Twitter (mostly that I’m obsessed with it, still). Meeting up with Dr. G (for the first time since AGU last year!) has engrained in me the important impact she has had on my life from the first time I took her class in 2010 at Penn State Brandywine.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the people at AGU who help convene sessions, especially the keynote talks! Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is by far the most inspiring cabinet member I have ever encountered (okay, she’s the only one), and I’m happy AGU was able to make that happen. Stay tuned for my AGU blog post on that one later!

Overall, I am thankful to have made so many amazing connections at AGU, both new and old. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to come to AGU for the last three years in a row, and that San Francisco is the greatest city on the west coast! Until next time, AGU!

#AGU14 Thursday

Today, I made my usual rounds, wandering between poster boards in the poster hall.

For the keynote, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (former CEO of REI, and all-around TOUGH CHICK) talked about the importance scientific research has on shaping public policy (and the world). I’ll be blogging about her lecture on the AGU Blog “The Bridge,” so I’ll link to that when it’s published!

This afternoon, I watched a rough-cut of the upcoming program “The Year of Pluto,” which documents the 9 year 3 billion mile journey that NASA spacecraft New Horizons has taken out to the body (former planet). The mission, which launched in Jan. 2006, will do a fly-by during July 2015.

The scientists who worked on the mission since grad school, including Alan Stern (principal investigator of the mission and planetary scientist), are more than excited for the project’s success. This mission is significant because it’s an exploration mission – since no country has yet been to Pluto. While the fly-by is happening, communications to the space station will go momentarily dark because the spacecraft need’s to spend all it’s energy taking photos and collecting data.

Around dinner time, we headed over to the Penn State reception, where I got to get my Penn State fix, since I haven’t been back since I graduated in May 2013. The AGU retweeted me twice today, but below is the most popular one. Follow me on Twitter if you haven’t already! My last day of live-tweeting is tomorrow!