Comment on “Developing and Implementing an Effective Public Outreach Program”



We commend and thank J. A. Harrison et al. for the feature article “Developing and implementing an effective public outreach program” (see Eos, 90(38), 333–334, 22 September 2009), which brought attention to a critical component of knowledge development, namely, effective outreach. We strongly support their recommendations. Here we offer additional suggestions and sources of programming resources that may assist young scientists interested in involving stakeholders in research and extension-outreach programs.

Since 2001 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), in partnership with land grant universities, has developed and implemented a national network of regionally integrated water quality research and outreach programs through the National Integrated Water Quality Program (NIWQP). Engaging young, research-oriented faculty into these outreach programs has been a challenge and a priority of NIFA programs. Through its regional network, the NIWQP has developed standing teams of extension-outreach professionals and researchers who can provide logistical support and leveraging funds for young faculty to identify and connect with stakeholders. Standing teams assist young investigators in planning/assessment methods to ensure that outreach activities address stakeholder needs and progress toward a set of defined outcomes or impacts.