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I am interested in the integration of the arts and humanities into science education, research, and communication efforts. I am particularly fascinated by the role stories play in shaping public perspectives of science and ecology topics. I am currently conducting research on: 1) efficacy of drawing as a science learning and teaching tool, 2) mechanisms of effective training to enhance scientists’ communications skills, and 3) assessment and evaluation of broader impacts and outreach programs. This work is conducted with an express goal of enhancing public engagement with science and expanding access to and participation in science through the application of best practices in the science of science communication and efforts to enhance and ensure diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in science communication and academia.
Teaching and Professional Development Programs:
Communication skills are central to how students and scientists contribute to and share biological science, and I work to cultivate and enhance these skills. In several capacities, I lead efforts to enhance science communication skills among scientists at all career strategies and to enhance broader impacts projects. I also teach courses and workshops for students in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Through courses and other trainings, I advocate for a diverse, inclusive view of who belongs in science, who has access to science, who represents science, and how science is shared. I am committed to curriculum design and instructional practices which ensure coursework and trainings are relevant and that participants gain (and are able to articulate and apply) transferable skills which build on their existing knowledge, identities, and self-efficacy. I develop curriculum with the recognition that foundational and advanced skills in writing and other modes of communication (e.g., graphic design, facilitation, etc.) are fundamental to people's abilities to share science with peers and beyond academia. Building these skills is a critical way we can support students' and professionals' growth as engaged citizens, regardless of their career paths. Furthermore, science writing and communication skills are essential for expanding access to science and enhancing the relevance of the science we do. I am both enthusiastic about, and deeply committed to, supporting scientists at all career levels as they explore how science communication and engagement fit into the spectrum of science-allied careers.
Science Communication and Engagement:
In 2017, I co-founded the UWyo Science Communication Initiative, a grassroots, campus-wide initiative which envisions a campus community that values, supports, and creates effective science communication and engagement. We provide trainings and collaborate to help build a community of science communication practitioners and scientists doing science communication at all career levels. In addition to my work at the University of Wyoming, I co-founded the Communication and Engagement Section of the Ecological Society of America. I am also the founding editor of the Communicating Science department of The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America, ESA's oldest journal. Both of these ESA-related endeavors provide excellent science communication resources for scientists and practitioners working on public engagement and broader impacts efforts. Furthermore, I am active in relevant professional organizations and have served multiple terms in editorial roles for peer-reviewed journals including Natural Sciences Education, The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems & Community Development, and FACETS (flagship journal of the Canadian British Society).
* student co-author, ¨co-lead author
Invited. Merkle, B.G., S. Bayer, P. Shukla*, and E. Valdez-Ward*. 2022. Sharing science through shared values, goals, and stories: An evidence-based approach to making science matter. Human-Wildlife Interactions 15(3).
Invited. Deanna, R., B.G. Merkle, I. Baxter, K.P. Chun, R. Zuo, L.M. Diele-Viegas, P. Geesink, V. Aschero, D. Navarro-Rosenblatt, A. Bortolus, P.A. Ribone, E. Welchen, M.J. de Leone, S. Oliferuk, N.H. Oleas, M. Grossi, A. Cosacov, S. Knapp, A. López-Mendez, G.A. Auge. 2022. It takes a village: The importance of diverse networks in academic mentorship. Nature Communication 13, 1681: 1-7.
Merkle, B.G. 2022. Writing Science: Leveraging the Annotated Bibliography as a Writing Tool. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 103(1): e01936.
Rust, N.A., L. Rehackova, F. Naab, A. Abrams, C. Hughes, B.G. Merkle, B. Clark, and S. Tindale. 2021. What does the UK public want farmland to look like? Visualizing a publicly informed landscape management policy via arts-based, mixed-methods approaches to public consultation and the future of British agricultural lands policy. Land Use Policy 106: 105445.
Invited editor and co-lead author. Strickland, J.•, B.G. Merkle•, P. Deibert, H. Nikonow, D. Edmunds, S. Soileau, T. Messmer, C. Rose, B. Kenna, and M. McFadzen. 2021. Communication and Public Engagement, Chapter T. in T.E. Remington, P.A. Deibert, S.E. Hanser, D.M. Davis, L.A. Robb, and J.L. Welty, J.L. 2021. Sagebrush conservation strategy—Challenges to sagebrush conservation: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2020–1125. Pp 239-246. Reston, VA: U.S. Geological Survey.
Mahler, R.L., M. Krzic, B.G. Merkle, C. Moorberg, and E. Brevik. 2021. Natural sciences education in a COVID-19 world. Natural Sciences Education 50:e20067.
Smith, N.* and B.G. Merkle. 2021. Writing Science: Meaning-Making in Science Communication: A Case for Precision in Word Choice. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 102(1): e01794.
Invited. Merkle, B.G., B. Barber, and M. Carling. 2020. Drawn to natural history: enhancing field courses with drawing and field journal instruction. Natural Sciences Education 49(1): e200019, 1-14.
Kenney, M., F., Davis, A., Sutton-Grier, S., Anderson, E. Cloyd, B.G. Merkle, K. Schwarz, and T. Watkins. 2020. Increasing the Impact of Public Engagement Within and Beyond the Ecological Society of America. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 101(4): e01773.
Merkle, B.G. 2020. Writing Science: Leveraging a Few Techniques from Creative Writing Towards Writing More Effectively. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 101(2): e01650.
Invited. Merkle, B.G., M. Downs, and A. Hettinger. 2019. In the space between: Public information officers in science. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 17(8): 474-475.
Hettinger, A., A. Kumar, T. Eaves, S. Anderson, B.G. Merkle, and S. Bayer. 2019. Extending the Vision: Highlighting the Human Dimensions of the Ecological Society of America. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 100(3): e01595. doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1595.
Merkle, B.G. 2019. Writing Science: Best Practices for the Images that Accompany Your Writing. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 100(2): e01536. doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1536.
Byerley, P., B.G. Merkle, and M. Hepner. 2019. Renewed Hope for Coastal Marshes in Louisiana. American Scientist 107(2): 98-105. doi.org/10.1511/2019.107.2.98
Merkle, B.G. 2019. Writing Science: Transforming Students’ Science Writing by Tapping into Writing Instruction Scholarship and Best Practices. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 100(1): e01487. doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1487.
Merkle, B.G. 2019. Writing Science: Transforming Students’ Science Writing by Tapping into Writing Instruction Scholarship and Best Practices. The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 100(1): e01487.
Jakopak, J.P.*, K.L. Monteith, and Merkle, B.G. 2019. Writing Science: Improving Understanding and Communication Skills with the “Unessay.” The Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 100(4): e01610.
Invited. Merkle, B.G. 2018. Perspective: Drawn to Science. Outlook: Science and Technology Education. Nature 562: S8-S9. doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-06832-0.
Januchowski-Hartley, S.R., N. Sopinka, N., B.G. Merkle, C. Lux, A. Zivian, P. Goff, and S. Oester. 2018. Poetry as a creative practice to enhance engagement and learning in conservation science. BioScience. Vol 68(10): biy105. doi.org/10.1093/biosci/biy105.
Kauffman, Matthew J., James E. Meacham, Hall Sawyer, Alethea Y. Steingisser, William J. Rudd and Emilene Ostlind. Illustrated by B.G. Merkle and E. Rahel. 2018. Wild Migrations: Atlas of Wyoming's Ungulates. Oregon State University Press.
Christensen, K., B.G. Merkle, and B. Marsicek. 2018. Integrating Art, Science, and Community Engagement: The University of Wyoming Art Museum’s Ballengée Project. Invited case study in Informal Learning Review 148(1): 21-27.
Ellison, A., C. LeRoy, K. Landesbergen, E. Bosanquet, D. B. Borden, P. CaraDonna, K. Cheney, R. Crystal-Ornelas, A. DeFreece, L. Goralnik, E. Irons, B.G. Merkle, K. O'Connell, C. Penick, L. Rustad, M. Schulze, N. Waser, and L. 2018. Art/Science Collaborations: new Explorations of Ecological Systems, Values, and their Feedbacks. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America. 99(2): 180-191. doi.org/10.1002/bes2.1384.
Polfus, J.L., D. Simmons, M. Neyelle, W. Bayha, F. Andrew, L. Andrew, B.G. Merkle, K. Rice, and M. Manseau. 2017. Creative Convergence: Exploring Bicultural Diversity through Art. Ecology and Society 22(2): 4. doi.org/10.5751/ES-08711-220204.
Krausman, Paul. Illustrated by B.G. Merkle. 2017. And Then There Were None: The Demise of Desert Bighorn Sheep in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness. New Mexico State University Press: Albuquerque, NM.
Kinney, K., B.G. Merkle, and S.C. Vélez, eds. 2016. Writing @ 7200 Feet: First-Year College Composition and Rhetoric—Or a Beginner’s Guide to Composing Academic, Civic, and Multimodal Genres. Hayden McNeil: Plymouth, MI.
Selected Exhibitions and Major Commissions:
Merkle, B.G. 2019. Thunder comin’ in; Hayfield Rosé; Wild Rose(hipsters). Juried selection of artwork for Lander public art project (beautifying electrical boxes). AT Lander Arts and Sciences, Lander, WY.
Merkle, B.G. 11/2017-1/2018. An Ecologically True Story: Rethinking the Tale of the Tortoise and the Hare. Solo multimedia exhibition featuring graphite drawings, watercolors, monotype prints, new media sculptures, installations, and creative writing interpretive text and audios. Biodiversity Institute, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.
Merkle, B.G. 5/2018. “Antelope Reservoir” – handmade light-box/artist book about pronghorn ecology, hunting and mystique. In the exhibition: 2018 Book Arts Juried Exhibition, University of Wyoming Art Department, Laramie, WY. Refereed.
Merkle, B.G. 2017-2018. “School of the High Plains.” Laramie, WY (off campus). I was one of 13 artists commissioned by the Laramie Mural Project to design and paint a component of the expansion of the downtown Laramie “Gill Street” mural, which features fish designed to evoke Wyoming icons.
Merkle, B.G. 2007. Visceral Biogeography. Solo photography exhibit of photographs printed on linen, using traditional, wet darkroom techniques. Liquid Planet, Missoula, MT.