Humans + Environment + NMU

NMU is the only university formally affiliated with HDgov, a clearinghouse for social science information about interactions between people and the environment, located in the United States Geographical Service office in Fort Collins, Colo. Communication and Media Studies Department Head Jim Cantrill sits on its executive board, and Instructor Rebecca Budesky '14 BA serves as the website’s content manager. Along with Northern, the site’s partners include the Environmental Protection Agency, National Park Service, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Fish & Wildlife Service and Forest Service.  The online portal provides easy access to publications, tools, data and methods to help ensure that both the environmental and social sides are considered when making natural resource management decisions. It also posts event and conference notices, job opportunities and hosts Teams Pages that allow groups with similar research interests to share expertise. Special focus areas feature Nature and Human Health, Collaborative Landscape Conservation Design, Environmental Justice, Indigenous Peoples and Climate Change.

In addition to the podcasts “Persuasive Communication for Behavior Change” and “Strategic Communication for Strategic Conservation,”

NMU has annually contributed funding to support the hiring of students and staff to work on content management and funded the development of a mobile app for the site.

As an interdisciplinary scholar, Budesky said it is a pleasure to serve in a role that incorporates her love of human communication and science. She spends her free time poring through industry-relevant journals, articles, and media postings to add to the site. Cantrill has been with HDgov since its inception in 2007, serving as the only non-agency member of the initiative’s board, and helping guide site development and outreach efforts, such as giving presentations at annual Human Dimensions of Wildlife Conferences. He noted that, “NMU has played a pivotal role in expanding HDgov’s reach into academia and alerting resource managers and the general public to the value of incorporating social science insights into our collective efforts to restore and protect ecosystems in the United States.”

Budesky added, "There is nothing more relevant in the modern era than the accurate communication and dissemination of scientific materials. Science has never been more germane to human life than it is currently."

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