Live Storytelling: An Old Tool for New Conservation

Scientific outreach is no longer an extracurricular activity for scientists. But disseminating scientific results in a responsible, educational, and entertaining way in the fast-paced and sometimes fickle public fora isn’t an easy task. Storytelling is a craft and takes training practice—but with the right guidance, is accessible to everyone. In particular, live storytelling events are an increasingly popular way for conservationists to communicate their work to a general audience. Programmes like The Moth, Story Collider, and others offer a novel way for the public to access science—and to enjoy it while they do. For conservation scientists, practitioners and advocates, live storytelling provides a powerful tool to spread messages, galvanize support, and effect change.

This one-hour workshop, delivered by Melissa Cronin from the University of California Santa Cruz, is designed to share the best practices of effective storytelling with scientists and conservationists who want to practice creative and engaging live storytelling to communicate their work. The session will begin with a short description of the role of storytelling in scientific and environmental communication and will follow with a description of how live storytelling events work, and what people need to know if they plan to host their own. In the second half of this workshop, participants will break into small groups to share a short two-minute story from their own work, and receive feedback from their partners. Lastly, the group will come together to share our short stories, insights that came of the exercise, and thoughts about how to improve our storytelling efforts. This workshop is a collaborative experience that offers the best (and only) training to improve storytelling skills: telling stories!