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  • Changing the Narrative: Doom & Gloom Yields to Creativity & Possibility

    When: Friday, June 24, 3 p.m. ET
    Where: Folklife Studio, National Mall
    Category: Narrative Session
    Real-time captioning available

    Watch and comment on YouTube

    With so much fear and negativity in our daily news about climate, nature, and our communities, how do we stay focused on what we can do? Watch Smithsonian Undersecretary for Science and Research Ellen Stofan and head of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios Sean B. Carroll discuss how we can change the narrative across science, communications, storytelling, and science education.

    What is the role of storytelling in science education? How can we inspire and engage the next generation to see themselves as part of the solution? What is the role of media in shifting perceptions? How can scientists, educators, and storytellers help? This future-focused dialogue was followed by a conversation about what’s happening on the ground now with the next generation: Ellen Stofan and Sean Carroll were joined by Irene Amoke, Eisenhower Fellow and executive director of the Kenya Wildlife Trust, who discussed her programs that are changing the narrative for the next generation of African conservation leaders.


    This session is presented in partnership with Re:wild.

    About the Participants

    Ellen Stofan is the under secretary for science and research at the Smithsonian Institution. She oversees the science museums and science research centers as well as the Smithsonian Libraries and Archives, Office of International Relations, Smithsonian Scholarly Press, and Scientific Diving Program. Stofan previously was the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She came to the museum with more than twenty-five years of experience in space administration and planetary science.

    Sean Carroll, an internationally recognized scientist, award-winning author, and Emmy-winning executive producer, is the head of HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, whose mission is to bring great stories about science and scientists to broad audiences. Carroll has served as executive producer on a wide variety of feature documentaries, IMAX, and short films. As leader of HHMI’s Department of Science Education, Carroll also oversees the largest portfolio of privately supported science education activities in the United States. Carroll is also the author of several books including Remarkable Creatures, which was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award, and The Serengeti Rules, which was the basis for the Emmy-winning feature documentary.

    Irene Amokeis the executive director of the Kenya Wildlife Trust. A landscape ecologist with over fifteen years of experience in field ecology, GIS, and project management, Amoke worked with the Kenya Wildlife Service on human-wildlife coexistence projects, conducted elephant surveys and managed a national elephant mortality database. She led field surveys in private game reserves in South Africa and managed several environmental and sustainability projects under the Department of Environment Food & Rural Affairs, Oxford Brookes University, both in the United Kingdom.

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