Opening Plenary: Inspiring Hope and Action: Storytelling in Conservation Science

Organized by: COMPASS

Date: Monday, June 24, 2024, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm PDT (1.5 hours)


Stories have the power to connect us, to inspire us, and to change beliefs. Conservation scientists bear witness to scenes of change and discovery that most people will never experience. Yet the impact of these experiences is often left out when scientists talk and write about their work. Sharing stories that transport and immerse people into a narrative world can help them understand new perspectives, build trust and motivate them to take action.

During this plenary session, we’ll talk about how to find and share a compelling conservation science story. A panel of journalists and science communicators will share their insights on the role of building trust and the importance of ethical storytelling. Our hope is that you’ll leave this session motivated  to tell your own stories; to bring people to a place of hope and action.


Steph Kwetásel’wet Wood

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Journalist at The Narwhal

Steph Kwetásel’wet Wood is a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh journalist living and writing in North Vancouver. In 2022 she won the Canadian Association of Journalists’ Emerging Indigenous Journalist award. She writes stories about Indigenous Rights, the arts, sustainability and social justice. She has worked with The Tyee, Media Indigena, CBC, CiTR 101.9 FM, and National Observer. She earned her Master of Journalism degree at the University of British Columbia. Her best days are spent wandering through the North Shore mountains.

Kunu Bearchum

Multimedia Artist

Of the Northern Cheyenne and Ho-chunk Nations, Kunu Bearchum is a multimedia artist based in Portland, Oregon. As a creative who identifies as a modern day storyteller, he uses technology and critical thinking to maintain the ancient craft of telling stories. Using classic forms of narrative and contemporary practices he strives to tell authentic parables. Bearchum dreams of creating an entirely Native-focused multimedia broadcast and distribution company like Vice or Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. In the meantime, he’s working hard to launch a STEM summer camp for middle school-aged Native students that marries biomedical and nutrition science with traditional ecological knowledge. “Where I’m at now is an evolution of what I feel like I should be putting into the world,” he says. “[Native Americans have] always had our oral history and storytelling ability. I want to make music that shows that.”

Ed Jahn

Executive Editor for Oregon Public Radio

Ed Jahn is a 22-time Emmy-Award-winning television producer, writer and reporter with over 20 years of experience. His coverage of science, the environment, recreation, wildlife and rural issues has earned him the prestigious Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Award for Journalism, the Edward R. Murrow Award for Broadcast Excellence, and awards from the Society of Environmental Journalists, among others. His work, including fifteen documentaries and long-form specials, appears on national and local television, radio and online media outlets.

Ed is a fellow with the Institutes of Journalism and Natural Resources (IJNR), PBS/ CPB Producer’s Academy and the Society of Environmental Journalists.

He is a public speaker who regularly presents for COMPASS, Rotary International, the American Red Cross, Portland Business Alliance, Road Scholar, INPUT (International Public Television Conference), the Japanese-American Society of Portland and many other civic, business and media organizations.

Lesley Evans Ogden

Freelance Journalist

Lesley is a freelance science journalist based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where she is a settler on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nations.

Captivated by the natural world and its stories, Lesley writes mainly about living things but also non-living ones like dinosaurs, energy, and climate. She especially likes writing about quirky animal behaviour, wildlife conservation, and environmental health. She’s also written extensively about the challenges of freelancing, and is fascinated by the intersection of science, human rights, Indigenous knowledge, and policy. When reporting from the field, Lesley produces photography and videography to accompany her work, and enjoys collaborating and enthusiastically engaging in all media — print, web, audio, video, TV.

Her writing appears internationally in outlets like the New York Times, BBC Future, Natural History, BioScience, Nature, Science, Knowable, Science News, Scientific American, National Geographic, and many more.

Dannielle Piper

Journalist at CBC/Radio-Canada

Dannielle A. Piper is a graduate of the UBC School of Journalism and a 2021 CJF-CBC Black Women’s Journalism Fellow. Born and raised in Jamaica and now living in Vancouver, Dannielle covers entertainment, identity politics and social justice. Twitter handle: @dannielleapiper.


More info coming soon!