Dr. Jane Lubchenco speaking at an event for the 2003 Capitol Hill Ocean Week. Source: The U.S. National Archives.

CHOW 2019: We’ve Come a Long Way

By Lori Arguelles

May 28, 2019

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At the dawn of the 21st century, I had the privilege of serving as the Founding President of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. It was clear to me then that ocean issues weren’t getting the attention they needed or deserved, but I truly never imagined that the inaugural event—then known as Congressional Ocean Day (COD)—would resonate so strongly in the community, or have such a long and useful life span. Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) offers a rare chance for scientists, policy makers, elected officials, and community, nonprofit, and industry leaders to come together to share common concerns, discuss ideas, and seek solutions to pressing problems facing our ocean. A wide range of communities now convene, both at this annual event and beyond, to make oceans a priority. Kudos to my successors, including current Foundation President Kris Sarri, for ensuring that CHOW continues to raise relevant ocean issues and encourage solutions.

The 2019 CHOW helps set the stage for a period of international focus on reversing the cycle of decline in ocean health, as the United Nations declares the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development from 2021-2030. As I attend CHOW 2019 in my new role as Director of Policy Engagement for COMPASS, I am excited about the progress the ocean community has made in many arenas, yet cognizant of how far we still have to go. This is a great opportunity for science and research to play an ever more prominent role in the policy making process.This year at CHOW, COMPASS and our partners at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership are presenting a workshop on Wednesday, June 5 entitled Giving Voice to the Ocean: How Policy and Effective Communication Intersect on Capitol Hill. The session will examine ocean science priorities in the 116th Congress, explore messaging and communication tools, and feature staff from congressional offices. It’s a fabulous chance to hear what policy makers are thinking about and learn how best to connect with them around ocean topics. Registration was capped at 60, but if you’re interested, do join the waitlist or stop by just in case there’s some additional room.

Another opportunity to connect with COMPASS during CHOW is our June 6th workshop Laying the Foundation for Effective Science Communication. Grounded in the latest research on science communication, this in-depth, interactive, and personalized workshop will help those who attend find the relevance of their work for the audiences they most want to reach. If you’re in town for CHOW, this is a great opportunity to gain some practical science communication skills and the confidence to use them. The workshop will wrap up just in time to head over to the CHOW closing reception and put your new skills to work. There are a few spaces left, so now’s the time to register!

Cheers to CHOW and all its supporters, planners, and participants, looking forward to seeing you in D.C. June 4th-6th!

Image of conch at dawn by Quang Nguyen Vinh

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