Telling stories

Telling stories

Writing science simply

We designed and now manage the website SustainPacFish, a one-stop shop for the latest information about commercial tuna fishing in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean. The website is funded by the Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP2). Its aim is to help the small island developing states of the Pacific to implement and effectively enforce fishing rules that protect populations of tuna and local livelihoods.

We wrote and edited a description of a four-step process for accounting for climate risk in regional water strategies in NSW. We worked with Alluvium Consulting. The description and an accompanying fact sheet were for the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment.

In another project with Alluvium Consulting, we worked together to write stories for the third issue of their online newsletter. For two, ‘Re(connecting) urban rivers with nature‘ and ‘Modelling environmental water with climate change‘, we wrote stories after interviewing people involved in the projects. For the third, ‘The economic value of open space and urban waterways‘, we also wrote a longer piece of LinkedIn.

screen shot of Alluvium newsletter issue 3, of 3 stories

We also work with Alluvium Consulting to write, edit and lay out stories about their work to publish on LinkedIn. We’ve produced ‘The economic value of open space and urban waterways’, and ‘India’s pandemic lockdown provides hope for rejuvenating rivers’. (You need to be logged into LinkedIn to read the documents.)

We worked with Seqwater scientists in 2018–19 to help them summarise the outcomes of 30 past research projects into engaging plain English for policymakers, water industry representatives, catchment managers and the interested public.

In 2018–19, we worked with fisheries officers in Samoa and Tonga to tease out how communities manage coastal fisheries. In this FAO-funded project, we workshopped templates for manuals, and collected stories from fisheries officers and community leaders to include. This is a continuing project.

Our brief from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage in 2018 was to take their draft text about Sydney’s nature, and create inspiring and engaging copy. The result was 24 web pages explaining the diversity of benefits of Sydney’s nature, and engaging people in actions to conserve it.

On behalf of the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, in 2018 we synthesised and summarised hundreds of pages of official reports and academic papers on eight recent research projects on koala physiology and behaviour, and wrote a summary in plain English on each project. The subject matter varied from creating a database to support accurate research and treatment to understanding how some diseases are transmitted between koalas, which are largely solitary animals. What the researchers learned can help us better protect koalas so they can thrive. The summaries were aimed at policymakers, vets, researchers, breeders and rescuers, and we pre-tested drafts of each fact sheet with a sample of intended readers.

Interpreting natural environments

BCC Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre

We produced concepts, stories, text and images for the new Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre, which opened in late 2019. We worked with our partners, Brandi Projects, to consult with Brisbane City Council staff and stakeholders to research and interpret this iconic natural wetlands, a special place saved from development by people power.

FBA Flow Centre

We worked with our partners, Brandi Projects, to design an exhibition in Rockhampton that explores the Fitzroy Basin Association’s natural resource management. The Flow Centre showcases the catchment’s unique natural assets, industries and communities from the mountains in the west of the region to the Great Barrier Reef and coastal islands.

SCC Coastal Discovery Van

In 2019, the Sunshine City Council wanted to refurbish its Coastal Discovery Van. We worked with our partners, Brandi Projects, to interpret the natural wonders of this coastline and to challenge visitors to take care of it. We worked with Raeleen Draper, the Environmental Operations Senior Project Officer, who says:

Brandi Projects and Econnect were fantastic to work with, in the retrofitting of an old caravan that has become the Coastal Discovery Van.  Jenni and her team were innovative in their thinking in the designs of the coastal processes displays and were a pleasure to deal with. The work they produced was outstanding and the final product is a credit to all involved. Thanks for everything.”

Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre

The Les Wilson Barramundi Discovery Centre opened early in 2018 in Karumba in north Queensland. Our brief, working with Brandi Projects, was to engage visitors in the natural, commercial fishing and recreational stories surrounding the barramundi fish, an icon of this region. We consulted with local people and fisheries experts so we could write the stories and script the films to help people understand this part of the world.

Editing for clarity

In April 2020, we worked with Alluvium, and its partners NCEconomics and Mosaic Insights, to produce a story on the their research on the value urban people place on open space. As well as copyediting the document, our work entailed interviewing people involved, writing the article, designing and laying out the final text, and proofreading it before Alluvium posted it on LinkedIn. We also wrote and copyedited a shorter version for Alluvium’s newsletter

Since late 2016, we have worked with journalists in the Pacific Islands to edit and publish news stories on the website TunaPacific. We manage the website and help contributors improve their journalism skills. The website is hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), and is funded by the Global Environment Facility as part of a development project to help the small nations of the Pacific Islands manage tuna fishing sustainably.

In 2017–18, we edited and copyedited all the major publications and documents that were developed for the Queensland Government’s Reef2020 Water Quality Improvement Plan, Reef 2050 Science Communication Implementation Plan, Reef Scientific Consensus Statement, catchment profiles, and Great Barrier Reef report card. This work totals many hundreds of thousands of words and most is published online.

We developed, edited and copyedited a booklet for a Crawford Fund training program. The booklet, describing the Master Class Program, showcases how the training aims to improve agricultural skills and knowledge in developing countries and Australia. The booklet is approximately 10,000 words.

Making stories visual

We have specialist skills in scripting, interviewing, filming and producing low-cost videos for use on websites and at events. We have also worked with high-end video-production companies to produce higher-cost videos.

Econnect produces high-quality video using a professional Nikon camera and microphones. We use Adobe Premier Pro and iMovie to edit videos.

Below are recent examples of videos we have produced for clients.

Oceanic Fisheries Management Project (OFMP2)

We run a YouTube channel for SustainPacFish and have produced and uploaded 35 videos and interviews since 2018. Some of our popular videos are:

Valerie Allain – life on board
Neville Smith – Benefits of electronic reporting
Graham Pillings – harvest strategy
Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) fights IUU in the world’s largest tuna fishery

Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) fights IUU in the world’s largest tuna fishery contributed to FFA’s top prize win in the 2019 Stop Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) Fishing competition.

Queensland Fresh Science Competition

New drug to fight fatal but neglected tropical disease
New diabetes app to provide faster, more accurate and cheaper care
Speaking ‘pedometer’ to help stroke victims
Superbug’s complete genome mapped in bid to fight antibiotic resistance

Entomology and pathology volunteers in Laos, for the Crawford Fund

Best experience happens on a daily basis
My work’s really important here
It’s been amazing to interact with farmers

Pacific Adaptation Strategy Assistance Program, Australian Government Department of Climate Change

Planning for climate change in the Cook Islands

Remote communities in Solomon Islands tackle climate change
Securing groundwater in Timor-Leste

Profiles of Climate Champion participants, for the Managing Climate Variability program

Browse the full Climate Kelpie Youtube Channel.

What is the Climate Champion program?
Climate Champion – Lynne Strong
Climate Champion – Colin Dunne

Bioenergy case studies, for the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

As part of developing the bioenergy knowledge portal, Biomass Producer, we developed five case studies, which include multiple short video clips: