Original Papers

What is at stake for scientists when communicating ecology? Insight from the informal communication initiative “Cammini LTER”


Abstract


What is at stake for scientists when communicating ecology? This is the basic question tackled in this paper, that we explored through reflections about an initiative of informal communication of ecological research called “Cammini LTER”: itineraries connecting a number of sites belonging to the Italian Long-Term Ecological Research network (LTER-Italy). LTER-Italy ecologists walked and cycled together with citizens creating a physical and visible movement of researchers ‘towards’ and ‘with’ citizens, aiming at providing the public with the opportunity to get familiar with Italian ecosystems, from the sea to alpine tundra. We address here the debates and the critical considerations among researchers themselves, stimulated by the overall experience, with focus on some relevant issues pertaining science communication, and even research production, evidencing the need for a cultural shift, which go far beyond the national context and the LTER – Italy network. Using a participant observations approach, through researchers’ words used to describe - formally and informally - the experience, we report and comment here the main narratives emerged, showing different attitudes of LTER researchers in Cammini towards the society and the role of ecology in it. Relationship and knowledge exchange appear crucial for communicating ecology, which can thus become an opportunity for building new qualities of knowledge and for creating a shared civic culture, able to make all players feel mutual responsible and contribute to the solution of particular socio-ecological challenges.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13135/2384-8677/2804

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