Thriving Earth Exchange

Together, the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), and American Geophysical Union (AGU)'s Thriving Earth Exchange offer an important service opportunity to their membership to do meaningful work and be recognized as Community Science Fellows. After application, acceptance, and training, Community Science Fellows are matched with a community leader to develop and complete science-based projects driven directly by local community needs. These projects will not only create significant local impacts, but will also use science to advance community priorities and contribute to a growing movement toward engaged, community-driven science.

Who’s Involved

AMS Logo

AMS is a global community committed to advancing weather, water, and climate science in service to society. Through this partnership AMS will provide professional development value to their members while helping them to contribute their scientific and professional expertise to community-based projects.

ASTC supports science and technology centers and museums as they engage their communities. The AGU Thriving Earth Exchange and AMS partnership is a component of ASTC’s Community Science Initiative that will enable ASTC member institutions to fulfill their missions to connect science and society by partnering on solutions for local and global challenges.

AGU Thriving Earth Exchange helps connect local communities with scientists to co-design and execute projects that advance local priorities related to natural resources, climate change, environmental justice, and natural hazards.

About the Program

While always driven by local needs and prioritizing community science, for Community Science Fellows the Thriving Earth Exchange is both a volunteer service and professional development opportunity. Selected Community Science Fellows will be trained by AMS, ASTC and AGU Thriving Earth Exchange staff, assigned to a staff mentor, and then matched to a community interested in working with a scientist to advance a local priority. If Community Science Fellows are already working with, or are interested in working with a specific community, the Community Science Fellow and community leader may apply jointly. Projects will cover a range of themes related to climate change, meteorology, hydrology, resilience, sustainability, and health. 

There are limited opportunities for project funding, so the Community Science Fellows and scientists will help to design projects that can have an impact on the community priority with creativity, in-kind support, and resources at hand. Examples of past projects include Assessing Flood Risks for Community-Led Action in Gulfport, MississippiUpdating a Climate Vulnerability Assessment in Santa Cruz, California, and Monitoring Plastic Pollution in Staunton, Virginia, among many others! 

Community Science Fellows will be accepted as a member of a cohort of approximately eight Community Science Fellows, with opportunities to engage with past and present Community Science Fellows from several cohorts. This unique collaboration between AMS, ASTC, and AGU's Thriving Earth Exchange allow Community Science Fellows to increase their professional networks, learn from diverse scientific and community engagement approaches, and strengthen their project management and problem solving skills. 

We invite AMS, ASTC, and AGU members to share this call for applications with their communities* and apply for participation in this cohort together with a local leader. (To do so, apply separately as a Community Science Fellow and as a community, and reference one another where asked in the applications.) If you do not have a pre-existing relationship with local community leaders, this is a great opportunity to build one. Alternatively, you may apply without a community partner and we will try to match you with a local community. (Guidance and recommendations for reaching out available here.)

Who Are Community Science Fellows?

Meet our 2021 Community Science Fellows

Preferred qualities for Community Science Fellows include: 

  • Enthusiasm for engaging with AMS, ASTC, and AGU Thriving Earth Exchange, including a willingness and ability to be reflective about the role and the program; and enthusiasm for the Community Science Fellow role, including a commitment to and experience in (or strong intent to pursue) community science. Examples of this might be:
    • experience working with diverse stakeholders and projects (this may include low-income/disadvantaged communities and those that have not had an opportunity to engage with science)
    • a passion for elevating community-led action and local priorities
    • a strong desire to support community-led engagement with a variety of audiences, including policy makers and the media
    • evidence of consistent and long-term volunteer work or community engagement
  • Humility, an ability to listen, and strong communication skills. Examples of this might be:
    • aptitude for science communication
    • desire to speak out about the value of connecting community priorities with science and the importance of science in local communities, and to help others do the same
    • experience or willingness to engage diverse individuals, organizations, and communities in communication and ongoing conversations
    • leadership experience in multidisciplinary/culturally sensitive environments
  • Qualifications:
    • undergraduate degree or a minimum of 3 years experience working in a science-related or informal STEM-learning field;
    • project management and facilitation skills
    • at any career stage
    • a formal science background is not required but some interest/familiarity is necessary
  • Ability to attend the Community Science Fellow training workshop in person on January 28-29 in Washington, D.C. (travel and lodging provided). Note: this training will be online if COVID-19 restrictions do not allow for an in-person meeting

While it is often beneficial for Community Science Fellows to be located near the communities they support, it is not required. Currently Community Science Fellows must reside within the United States or a U.S. Territory. 

For more information on the program, please address your questions to Tiernan Doyle. More information on current Community Science Fellows and their projects are available here. Applications for the 2022 AMS-ASTC-AGU Thriving Earth Exchange program will be available in late fall of 2021. 

Volunteer As A Project Scientist

Each Thriving Earth Exchange project has three key roles: the Community Science Fellow, the Community Leader(s), and the Project Scientist(s). The Community Science Fellow will manage and guide the overall project; the Community Leaders define priorities and scope; and the Community/Project Scientist will provide the necessary expertise and knowledge to help create and implement solutions for the project. Together, the Community Science Fellow and Community Leader will recruit, interview, and choose a scientist. If you are interested in applying your skills to help community members meet their needs and strengthen community science, apply to be part of a Thriving Earth Exchange project! 

The full description of current projects are available through the links below. This includes the skills needed for the volunteer scientist on the project.  AMS is directly supporting three projects this year, and each project will be added as a live link (below) as recruitment for scientists opens.  This is a chance to apply your scientific skills on a real-world project and help a community address a local environmental problem. If none of the projects below match your skills or interests, you can also add your name to the Thriving Earth Exchange database if you’d like to volunteer for a future project. 

2021 AMS Thriving Earth Exchange Projects - Currently Recruiting Scientists

Greenwich, CT Sea Level Rise and Flooding Project

  • The team is seeking an expert in sea level rise or coastal flooding events to develop a citizen-focused data collection program. Learn more

Otsego County, NY Greenhouse Gas Emission Inventory

  • The team is looking for a scientist/engineer(s) that can help develop the revised GHG inventory and help engage the community in this project. Learn more

Sandy Springs, GA Flooding Project

  • This project is seeking at least one expert scientist/engineer who can model the risks of flooding and the potential for green infrastructure to improve water quality. Learn more

Interested in volunteering as a scientist? Apply now!