SCDNR digital public outreach projects recognized by S.C. State LibraryMarch 22, 2017
SCDNR staff receiving "Notable State Document" awards for 2016 pose for a photograph, March 17, 2017 at the State Library in Columbia. From left to right: SCDNR Director Alvin Taylor, State Climatologist Hope Mizzell, GIS manager Tanner Arrington, Marine Division Science Writer Erin Weeks and Public Information Coordinator David Lucas. SCDNR photo by Greg Lucas
Three innovative digital public outreach projects created by staff at the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources were recently honored as "Notable State Documents for 2016" during a ceremony at the S.C. State Library in Columbia.
The annual awards, conferred by the State Library since 1991, recognize state governmental publications of outstanding merit and usefulness to the citizens of South Carolina.
The South Carolina Natural Resources and South Carolina Coastal Resources blogs are digital publications launched by the agency in 2016 that feature articles and discussions on topics related to natural resources conservation, coastal ecology and marine science, hunting and fishing, outdoor recreation and tourism, SCDNR projects and initiatives, and other news and information of interest to outdoor enthusiasts and conservation-minded citizens.
"The blogs are just one more way in which the SCDNR is working to fulfill its mission as the primary steward of, and advocate for, our state's amazing natural resources," said SCDNR Office of Media and Outreach staffer David Lucas, editor of the Natural Resources blog (and a former editor of the SCDNR-published South Carolina Wildlife magazine). "People increasingly look to online sources for large amount of their information and, so the idea was for us to basically go and put stories, photos and other content where that audience is."
The Coastal Resources blog is managed by science writer Erin Weeks, who works with the SCDNR's Marine Resources Division. "It's exciting to be able to go to work every day and focus on telling the stories of the amazing work being done by our Division," said Weeks, "and to have that recognized by the state's librarians is just fantastic."
Also honored by the State Library for its innovative use of digital storytelling was the SCDNR's State Climatology Office for their Interactive Journal of the October 2015 Historic Rain and Flooding. The project was a true group effort, according to State Climatologist Hope Mizzell.
"An important part of our mission includes archiving and distributing weather and climate data," said Mizzell, "but rather than a traditional paper report, we really felt like an event of this magnitude required something more – an interactive document that would not only serve as a record for future climate researchers, but one that would also truly help the average citizen connect the dots between the scientific data and the reality of what we all saw unfolding on television."
The Climatology team, including Mizzell, Assistant State Climatologist Wes Tyler, Severe Weather Liaison Mark Malsick and Research Intern Jennifer Simmons, spent hours compiling the relevant statistical and climatological data, for the interactive report. Tanner Arrington, a GIS manager with the S.C. Geologic Survey (part of the SCDNR's Land, Water & Conservation Division) was able to take the information provided by the climatology team and use it to create a web page with interactive maps and infographics that made the story of the 2015 floods come to life.
The Notable Documents awards program was begun in 1991 to recognize exemplary documents published during the previous calendar year and received in the State Library Librarians representing selected depository collections around the state serve as judges for the awards, which are announced in honor of Freedom of Information Day.
"The Notable Documents awards are presented every year to focus on the important value of information compiled and produced by state governmental agencies and to emphasize the importance of open and equal public access to this information," said State Library Director Lisa. M. Aiken.
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