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Our communities, lands, waters, and wildlife are facing threats, including drought, hurricanes, flooding, extreme weather, and catastrophic wildfires. To mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change, it’s essential to manage natural resources based on scientific evidence.

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Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service hosted a seminar on “Leading as a Climate-Smart STEM Professional” at a Career Communications Group event. The panelists aimed to raise awareness of best practices and career opportunities in the management of ecosystems currently threatened by climate change.

The event featured USDA Forest Service employees such as Grizelle Gonzalez, director of the International Institute of Tropical Forestry at the USDA Forest Service, Shaneka Lawson, a plant physiologist in the Special Emphasis Programs-African-American Programs, Conception Flores, a natural resource specialist in the Office of Sustainability and Climate, Consuelo Brandeis, a research forester, and Cassandra Johnson Gaither, a research social scientist.

The discussion focused on the role of STEM professionals in managing climate-smart forests, communities, and economies with the help of outstanding leaders and scientists from the USDA Forest Service.

The panel members described the impact of climate-smart management decisions. Their research provides a holistic understanding of carbon and ecological dynamics across diverse landscapes, which helps guide science-informed decision-making in response to climate change and extreme climate events.

They also helped people build a personal roadmap as Climate-smart STEM professionals and connected with USDA Forest Service science and scientists providing leading scientific knowledge of carbon and climate change for climate-smart management decisions on the nation’s forests and grasslands.

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