Monday, November 5, 2018

Remembering our friend Pepe

Our ICBO family is missing one of our members, friend and ally... Jose Pepe Marcos-Iga. Pepe passed away September 18, 2018.

To you, Pepe, we dedicate our work!

 Pepe Marcos-Iga
January 5, 1974-September 18, 2018

Pepe leaves an important legacy in the field of environmental education, conservation, equity and inclusion; his inspiration and contribution to this work has been invaluable. We’ll miss your sense of humor, your brilliance and your passion to build a more equitable society. We are honored to have you as one of the ICBOs. Forever, we thank you, Pepe.

And one day
As I'm sitting here nostalgic of things to come
Remembering fondly what's still to be
The laughs will stop
The smiles will be no more
I will be distant from the warmth of hope
And I may be only left with memories
If I fail to see
The moments I have between you and me
Are these
Right now

 I've come to see
That to me
You'll still be there
Like a star from afar
Even if distant and gone
Your light will reach me
From the past
It's luminosity will last
As I hope to be
A star for others
Like you've been for me

Written by José González after hearing the news —Thank you José.


Pepe leaves behind his wife Tania and two amazing children. 
For those who wish to help Pepe's children's education, you can contribute to

Monday, October 29, 2018

The "Dear Researchers: Some Unsolicited Advice from the Community" workshop presented at Consmark 2018!

Bobby Wilson, John Annoni, Karen Purcell and Marilú López Fretts presented the workshop "Dear Researchers: Some Unsolicited Advice from the Community" at the Conservation Marketing & Engagement Conference (Consmark) in Arlington, Virginia on October 27, 2018.

Community researcher John Annoni, of Camp Compass Academy,
dialogs with workshop participants.

Karen and Marilu check the technical aspects before the workshop.

Community researcher Bobby Wilson, of Metro Atlanta Urban Farm,
takes on the research results during the workshop.

Workshop participants discuss the activities based on the ICBO workbook.

Karen and John discuss details about the workshop at George Mason University's Founder's Hall.

Bobby and Karen review notes before the workshop.

The ICBOs present at the North American Association for Environmental Education Annual Conference

On October 9 and 10, 2018, José González, Marilú López Fretts and Karen Purcell presented at the NAAEE Research Symposium and did a workshop at NAAEE annual conference, in Spokane, Washington. We were excited to share our "20 ICBO Rules" with environmental education researchers. We had great conversations with our participants and piloted interactive activities with our workbook for Informal Science Educators.

We didn't just work at the conference! We rode on scooters and enjoyed beautiful carousel.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Our Latest Presentation at the ASTC Annual Conference

The ICBOs presented at the ASTC annual conference on September 30 in Hartford, Connecticut. Bobby Wilson, Karen Kitchen, and Marilú López Fretts engaged in deep conversations during the poster presentation. Our newest ICBO poster features original art and reflects the evolution of the research framework.

Later that afternoon, they participated in a group discussion on the two strands of research during the session Examining Contextual Factors of Partnerships to Improve Cultural Diversity in Informal STEM Programming.

Bobby and Karen shared some of the ICBO results - mainly focused around ACCESS and Co-creation.

At the end of the session, the ICBOs piloted our newest version of the Informal Science Institution workbook filled with quotes from our research, artwork, and reflective questions. Make sure you get your copy. A pdf version of the ISE workbook is available for download here!

Finalizing our Community Framework

We continue to analyze our data and dig more and more deeply into our results.  As we have done so, we have discovered that our Community Framework continues to evolve and grow as we further understand our findings.

In the latest iteration of our Community Framework we find the same themes: Power and Privilege, Trust and Transparency, Realities and Relevance, and Commitment and Collaboration. But, we've found that Power and Privilege and Realties and Relevance represent challenges while Trust and Transparency and Commitment and Collaboration represent tools.

We've found that to represent the interplay among all the themes and the relationship between the tools and challenges, we needed to: 

1) Ensure that all the themes were clearly connecting with all the other themes -- thus all the colors  in the framework touch. 

2) Power and Privilege, represented in the blue is the category that most influences collaborations and all the other categories. It is the foundation of equitable collaborations and thus, appears on the outer edge as the base of the framework (looking at it from above). Realities and Relevance, represented in yellow indicate that even when following best practices and exhibiting the best of intentions, these break down when implementing programming and these challenges may prevent successful collaborations.

3) Trust and Transparency and Commitment and Collaboration depicted as two figures, one brown and and one cream, are connecting with each other, perhaps hugging, perhaps dancing. These are tools utilized to overcome the challenges. 

It is important to see the tools in the context of the power dynamics and the realities of the collaboration!

We can't promise that our Community Framework won't continue to evolve, because it is a living, breathing framework that changes with our communities and adapts to our collective understanding of our work.

The Partnerships for Impact Workbook is here!


To download the workbook, please click on the link below:
This workbook is a product of research conducted by the ICBOs and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology over three years, focused on how to create equitable partnerships between informal science institutions and community-based organizations in underrepresented communities.

The objective is to improve equity, diversity, and inclusion in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The research comes from questions asked by community researchers to more than 30 other community organizations. It represents the community perspective.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Our Workshop at the American Community Gardening Association - So What?

This week’s presentation at the ACGA pre conference was exciting and powerful. We shared our results and latest drafts of our workbooks. The ICBOs used the arts (song and cultural traditions) to present difficult and hard-to-hear results. We are a strong and wild group of individuals!

We had lots of wonderful responses to the four-hour workshop. One of our audience members who runs a community-based organization told us that she had experienced everything in our presentation first-hand - and she wondered how our work was going to change anything. 

The power of our work comes in using  community-based participatory research - to document what communities have known forever: the sciences are not equitable. Our work not only documents the problems, but we also share tools on how to create more equitable collaborations between STEM institutions and community-based organizations.

 - Photos by Marilú López-Fretts. 

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Our framework keeps evolving

When we started our journey as community researchers, the framework that we developed contained four main themes for creating long-standing partnerships and meaningful collaborations: Trust and Transparency; Power and Privilege; Realities and Relevance; and Commitment and Collaboration.

Originally, we believed that each one was distinct.

Below is the original framework:

Today, as our framework keeps evolving and becoming stronger, we understand that all of the themes are interconnected and all must be considered when developing and achieving more equitable long-standing partnerships and meaningful collaborations. The new image includes many of the recommendations that have emerged from our research.

Here is the new framework as it continues to evolve:

Our next stop is Atlanta, GA for the ACGA Conference

If you work within a community-based organization or with a large informal education institution and you are interested in “Building Meaningful Collaborations” this workshop is for you!

Join us at the American Community Gardening Association Bi-Annual Conference in College Park, Georgia from September 13-16, 2018.

Our pre-conference workshop will be held on September 13 from noon to 4:00 pm at Georgia International Convention Center.

Through humor, the arts, and storytelling we will explore the role of partnerships in the implementation of equitable environmental education projects in underserved communities.

Based on participatory research by communities historically excluded from the sciences, this workshop will uncover barriers and opportunities for achieving real impact in practice. 

Presenters: Bobby Wilson of Metro Atlanta Urban Farm, and fellow community researchers leading this work with The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Walking on Eggshells with Jose Miguel Hernandez Hurtado

Our research shows that community-based organizations don’t feel like they can be honest with partners when they see institutional racism. They feel like they are “walking on eggshells,” because addressing inequity might harm their organization or community.

In this video, Jose Miguel Hernandez, an artist and one of our community researchers, interprets one of the results of our research using body expressions.

Capturing Codes

Last summer we began our research coding process. Between picnic retreats and phone meetings, we discussed the patterns that emerged from the surveys. Based on the patterns found, we developed the four categories that we named Power and Privilege, Trust and Transparency, Realities and Relevance, and Commitment and Collaboration. Sister Sharon Horace, Jose Miguel Hernandez and Fanny Villarreal joined us in person on separate occasions to work on the codes, while other participated over the phone. Thank you all!

 Brigid, Karen and Marilu discuss the codes and share the information with the ICBOs over emails.

 Another time one of the community researchers, Fanny Villarreal, joined us in person to a picnic retreat.

 Bobby Wilson discusses with Karen the Robin Hood approach during the American Community Gardening Association's conference.

 Our regular meeting schedule with all the ICBOs.

 Karen and her son working in tandem.

 Marilu (not in the picture) in the company of Sunny.

 The four categories that emerged.

 Working it through...

 Coding process...

 Brigid Lucey diligently capturing codes.

 Our setting for our coding picnic retreats.

Our office for that day...

Working late into the night... during a power outage...

Remembering our friend Pepe

Our ICBO family is missing one of our members, friend and ally... Jose Pepe Marcos-Iga. Pepe passed away September 18, 2018. To you, Pepe,...