Science Cheerleaders help lead effort to create 21st century science policy making. Seriously.

These are the remarkable people (from all walks of life) who dedicated 8 hours on Saturday, 9/15, to learn about and share their views on biodiversity and its policy implications. We were in Washington, DC, at the National Academies Marian Koshland Museum. This also took place in Boston, Denver and Tempe…and in 30 sites around the world. Outcomes will be shared with United Nations, with federal agencies on 12/6 at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and on Capitol Hill. Believe it or not, Science Cheerleader is a founding partner of the group (ECAST: Expert and Citizen Assessment of Science and Technology) that organized the U.S. arm of this international initiative known as World Wide Views on Biodiversity…and I am totally stoked about it. Why?

Science Cheerleader began as an effort to create mechanisms for public participation in science and federal science policy making. Originally, I launched a campaign to reopen the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment with a twist: the inclusion of regular people (us) in discussions with scientists and policy makers before important policies are crafted. After all, the perfect recipe for good science and technology policies includes a mix of ingredients like science, economics, and societal values. Who better to represent those values (and risk assessments) than we, the people? You can read more about this topic here:
Harnessing the power of citizen scientists
Score Three for the Public
How citizen scientists, cheerleaders and science policy came together
Newt, Science, and the OTA
Science’s Rah Rah Gal
Time for participatory policy making

Somewhere along the way, I had the good fortune of discovering actual Science Cheerleaders: current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders who are also scientists and engineers…and we’ve been associated with these awesome ladies every since. When they’re not cheering or in the lab, they perform science-themed routines, lead science activities, inspire children to consider science careers, and playfully challenge stereotypes.

In addition to being a founding partner of ECAST–along with the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Boston Museum of Science, Arizona State University and the Loka Institute–Science Cheerleader invited the Science Cheerleaders to lead a 7th-inning type of warm up to support and inspire the hundreds of dedicated World Wide Views participants spending the better part of eight hours learning and sharing information on Biodiversity…while seated around tables. They got the participants on their feet cheering for science and biodiversity!

Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders, Jo (environmental scientist) and Dana (industrial engineer) led science cheers at the National Academies Koshland Museum

Former Atlanta Falcons cheerleader, Jennifer (physician assistant), got participants at the Museum of Science/Boston cheering head to toe, to make the blood flow!

Science Cheerleader Lorin led the cheers at the Colorado School of Mines. Because their photographer was participating in the cheer, we don’t have pix. BUT, here’s a lovely description of Lorin’s activity from Sandy Woodson, Teaching Professor & Undergraduate Advisor at the School of Mines:

Lorin was awesome! It was early afternoon, post-lunch, low energy, and she charmed and cajoled everyone to their feet. I heard someone say they needed a Lorin around all the time. Two middle school teachers approached her about coming to their school to talk to female students about getting into science. It was great: she got everyone’s blood flowing AND made contacts with people who want more Science Cheerleading. A win-win, all the way around.

We will post the outcomes of these international discussions here and on the ECAST blog in the coming weeks and keep you posted on the related policy report we will distribute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars and present on Capitol Hill. In the interim, we want to hear from YOU. It’s your turn to join thousands of people around the world in a conversation about World Wide Views on Biodiversity. What would you do to conserve biodiversity? Take a simple survey, here: World Wide Views on Biodiversity National Question Your response will be included in final reports.

If YOU need some cheering on, here’s a little encouragement from the D.C. participants:

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