Manager Climate Corps
Pacific Islands Climate Science Center

Products: Knowledge Coproduction in Motion

Kualii and Steve
Photo: Native ecosystem manager and cultural practitioner Kualii Camara and hydrologist Steve Colbert in Kaʻū discuss the path and long-term cultural utilization of freshwater from Haʻāu Spring to its arrival at the kai (ocean) over 2000 feet below. Photo Credit: Ryan McClymont, USGS

Collaborative Products from MCC Professional Networks, 2015-2017 (listed in chronological order)

  • Manager Interviews - In 2015, we interviewed 29 local natural resource managers and policy implementers on Hawaiʻi Island to begin to understand their needs, challenges, goals, information sources, etc. related to climate change. Knowledge gained served as a foundation for our new Manager Climate Corps (MCC) program. We interviewed a wide range of managers who had close relationships and responsibilities for landscapes and waterscapes on the island and who are accountable to the communities that utilize these areas. Practitioners interviewed include ranchers, farmers, traditional native Hawaiian managers of natural and cultural resources, fire managers, port officers, harbor masters, managers of remnant native marine and terrestrial ecosystems, county planners, and invasive species managers.

  • UH Hilo Postdoctoral Fellowship - PICSC supported a half-time postdoc position for Dr. Noelani Puniwai to work on research and publication relating to Hawaiian Seascapes and Their Management Implications. Noe and her students interviewed ocean experts (people recommended for the ocean knowledge) around Hilo, and surfers of all ages and experience at Honoliʻi, regarding their ocean observations.She also collected physical environmental data for Hilo Bay and ocean user presence counts for beaches within this county.The interviews show us a pattern of seascape delineation, scales of interactions, and personal connections with the ocean.By integrating local knowledge with physical data we can better understand and manage seascapes holistically. Learn more about Noelani Puniwai's project on the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center website.

  • UH Hilo Knowledge Coproduction Faculty Meeting - In January 2016 a meeting was convened at which MCC program staff presented the ideas of knowledge coproduction, and four resource management groups from our interviews talked about their programs and research needs related to climate change and adaptation. The second half of the meeting was dedicated to round table discussions exploring possible collaborative manager-led research projects, workshops, and coursework development at UH Hilo. The meeting was well attended with diverse representation of fields from sociology, Hawaiian studies, anthropology, geography, environmental engineering, environmental economics, marine sciences, and ecology. Numerous ideas were generated that would guide the MCC in the future. Our professional networks grew with significant addition of interdisciplinary faculty. Meeting attendees commented that this type of gathering was unique, that despite working at the same institution, they rarely got together with colleagues in settings that stimulate collaborative, multidisciplinary research.

  • Initiated 5 UH Hilo Masters Projects – In Spring 2016 a UHH-wide formal call went out for research project proposals that were relevant to the Science Agenda and engaged resource managers in knowledge coproduction. This led to funding four manager-driven research projects covering a wide range of interests expressed during our interview phase and further developed during faculty-manager discussions. Because managers are co-leading each research project from inception to completion, the products and questions answered by the research are linked to their management needs and shared with their broader professional networks.

  • Climate Change Boot Camp - Members of the MCC’s growing collaborative network worked with the staff to organize a three-night, four-day intensive climate change camp in August 2016. This event brought together a wide array of managers, scientists, traditional Hawaiian cultural practitioners, graduate students, and policy professionals. The group collaboratively discussed current and near-future needs for adapting to local climate change impacts. Knowledge coproduction, multiple ways of knowing, and place-based/community-based management were themes of the event. The camp took place outdoors amid rare, endemic forest species and showcased the four manager-guided graduate projects as collaborative examples to other attending manager networks. Post event surveys indicated strong interest in further developing transdisciplinary professional networks (academic, policy, and manager networks) as mechanisms to build local capacities of resiliency, adaptation, and sustainability in the face of change.

  • UH Hilo Interdisciplinary Coursework Development - Staff are working closely with faculty across UH Hilo departments, including marine sciences, biology, anthropology, and sociology to support the development of new interdisciplinary coursework within the TCBES program that broadens graduate student learning opportunities in support of sustainable, adaptive, and resilient communities through socio-ecological change. Faculty involved in MCC networks and events continue to develop coursework ideas, including opportunities to directly involve the experience of local resource managers within MCC networks. One example is the restoration and reshaping of a Fall 2017 graduate class that outlines social science methods in support of natural resource management, climate change impacts, economic development, policy, and social justice.

  • UH Hilo Adaptation, Climate, and Sustainability Coursework Survey – The Sustainability Committee and the Pacific Islands CSC jointly completed a survey across all disciplines, departments, and colleges at UH Hilo of existing and planned coursework relevant to sustainability, adaptation, and climate change. Surveyresults were compiled to help guide students interested in these studies, as well as to facilitate interdisciplinary conversations, coursework development, and collaborations across the campus to increase student learning opportunities by linking faculty, departments, and students across UH Hilo.

  • Development of National Training Sessions and Forums – On November 2nd and 3rd, 2016, a National Climate Science Center Student and Early Career Training was held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Our team chaired the development of two knowledge coproduction training sessions and facilitated them at the event, which included panel presentations and small group break out discussion that linked to Alison Meadow’s keynote talk on knowledge coproduction. Our MCC program was highlighted as an on the ground example of a knowledge coproduction program and an effective method for increasingly connecting interdisciplinary university research with local communities and natural resource manager networks toward actionable science products. We are also building a variety of related forums at local (Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference, Honolulu, HI), regional (University of Guam Island Sustainability Conference, Tumon, Guam), and national (National Adaptation Forum, St. Paul, MN) conferences that will be collaboratively led in the spring and summer of 2017. 

  • Manuscripts – We have 2 manuscripts currently in review within peer-reviewed journals. The first manuscript outlines the process through which we developed the MCC program. The second investigates online stakeholder definitions for multiple national organizations at the climate science/stakeholder interface.

  • Website – We developed this MCC website to house the collaborative products off MCC networks which expand local adaptive capacities through the impacts of climate change. This website is linked to the PI-CSC consortium website and numerous UH Hilo websites to increasingly connect academic disciplines while supporting the needs of management, policy, and community networks participating within our partnerships.

  • Communication Efforts – Two videographers, Ryan McClymont (USGS Communications Specialist) and Jamie Kawai, documented the Climate Change Boot Camp and performed in-depth interviews with attendees and planners during the experience. Ryan and Scott Laursen (MCC Technical Project Specialist) have produced a short film to share the foundations of the experience with a diverse audience. View the 10-minute documentary film, Resilient Voices: Adaptation Across Worldviews, below, or download from the USGS website . The video is also linked to the PI-CSC consortium website .

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Partner Agencies

Pacific Islands Climate Science CenterUH ManoaUniversity of GuamDepartment of the Interior


Contact MCC Staff

  • Sharon Ziegler-Chong: Project Coordinator
  • Phone: (808) 933-0759
  • Email: ziegler@hawaii.edu

  • Scott Laursen: Technical Projects Specialist
  • Phone: (307) 699-0123
  • Email: slaursen@hawaii.edu

The MCC partners with the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Graduate Program at UH Hilo and is a part of the larger tri-university consortium of the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PI-CSC).