BRIDGING THE GAP: SCIENCE COMMUNICATIONS WORK AT LAVA BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
The largest field project involved refining and implementing an inventory and monitoring (I&M) protocol for a sample set of thirty-one of the Monument’s 700+ lava tube caves. These caves represent a valuable and highly sensitive resource. They are home to fourteen species of bats as well as hosts to cool, moist microclimates which support vegetation, invertebrates, and other fauna otherwise incompatible with the desert highland climate of the California interior. The I&M program is designed to record the status of life in these caves for the next fifty years, in order to track the impacts of human usage and the effects of climate change on factors such as ice levels, humidity, and species present.
The goal of communication materials was to translate the technical and highly detailed data in the scientific literature into concise concepts accessible to staff and visitors who may or may not have significant scientific training. These materials were aimed at increasing knowledge of the active work (including the I&M protocol) being done to protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources of the Monument, ensuring the most up-to-date information is available and used by the park’s Interpretive staff, and bringing the landscape alive for all staff and visitors at the Monument. Improving communication between the Resource Management and other departments is integral to the realization of the Park Service mission in the most comprehensive and far-reaching way as possible.