Last month, we reviewed some of the research and education-related activities of the principal investigators (PIs) at the Annis Water Resources Institute. This month, we focus on outreach and service activities, which also compose critical components of our workload. The PIs and staff at AWRI gave over 80 presentations to the general public last year. At these events we translate complex scientific information generated both by our own research programs, as well as by other leading universities, into understandable concepts that are relevant and engaging. Examples of these outreach activities include presentations at city council meetings, zoning and planning commissions, water festivals, watershed councils, K-12 schools, and senior citizen centers. We believe it is critical that the public be as well-informed about natural resource decisions as possible, given the implications to our quality of life.
We take community and professional service seriously at AWRI, as evidenced by the following examples, which are by no means exhaustive. Bopi Biddanda's community service includes helping organize the Science Olympiad and providing job shadow opportunities for local students interested in marine biology, while his professional service includes Associate Editor of Journal of Plankton Research and Aquatic Microbial Ecology. John Koches is the co-organizer of the Muskegon Area Sustainability Coalition and co-authored the Prosperity Index for Muskegon County. Rick Rediske has worked closely with the Muskegon Lake and White Lake Watershed Partnerships, providing these community-based groups with critical scientific expertise. His professional service includes membership on the Federal Advisory Committee for Detection and Quantification Limits and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Advisory Committee. Carl Ruetz has also volunteered his services to the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership, while serving in various capacities for the Michigan chapter of the American Fisheries Society, including President during 2008. Ryan Thum has provided genetic identifications for almost 100 putative invasive populations of aquatic plants to agencies throughout the U.S. Janet Vail's community service is extensive, including being a member of the 1) Muskegon County Environmental Coordinating Council; 2) Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership; and 3) Youth Environmental Summit Committee. Her professional service activities include co-Chair of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Lake Michigan Forum; State Coordinator of Michigan Project WET (Water Education for Teachers); Steering Committee Member of Great Lakes Association of Science Ships; and Member of Board of Directors for the Michigan Alliance for Outdoor and Environmental Education. Al Steinman's community service ranges from serving on the Board of Directors of Muskegon Rotary to co-organizer of the Muskegon Café Scientifique. His professional service includes Associate Editor of two scientific journals, membership on the International Joint Commission's Upper Great Lakes Water Lever Study Public Interest Advisory Group, and review panels for US EPA and Minnesota Sea Grant. The service and outreach activities of AWRI PIs and staff are essential elements of our workload; our involvement helps ensure that our science does not sit on shelves, and helps validate our work through its application to real-world situations.