The Baltimore Ecosystem Study is a collaborative that aims to improve the understanding of how Baltimore works as a social-ecological place. This is a big job that requires the cooperation of different people who know about all aspects of the city.
Why is it important to people’s lives?
Understanding ecological processes in Baltimore is important because urban places contain organisms that influence the flows of energy and materials. Some of these organisms are obvious while others are invisible. Yet they all contribute to urban ecosystem health.
Collaborating to understand the ecology of the city is important because people depend on the health of the urban ecosystem, and ecological health is supported by the biological processes within the city. People derive many benefits from the work of organisms in the city. They can relax in green spaces, benefit from the improvement of the local climate by trees, experience better quality of the water flowing through the city, and profit from the enhancements to their properties by ecological features.
How does this research improve people’s lives?
Understanding this ecological work helps people make better decisions about the environment in Baltimore. Organisms and ecological work help the city do many of the things people need or desire. The more of this work that is done by ecology, the less has to be done by engineering and infrastructure.
How do we do it?
BES nurtures a collaborative network that maintains a vibrant culture for sharing concerns, ideas, and information by conducting three kinds of meeting:
- Monthly meetings of representatives of the consortium keep information flowing within the network, alert researchers and educators about new opportunities, and make core project management decisions.
- Quarterly meetings involve researchers, educators, decision makers, and community leaders to plan new research, to discover what research results mean, and to determine how the results can help policy and management.
- An annual research conference, open to all, shares new insights from research and application, but also celebrates the network.
These complementary meetings ensure that all voices and perspectives are included in and benefit from understanding of the health of the Baltimore urban ecosystem.