Olivia LeDee is the deputy director of the Northeast Climate Science Center, part of a network of eight federal climate science centers managed by the U.S. Geological Survey. The center works with natural resource managers and others, and is focused on, among other things, providing them with the best available science and strategies to help ecosystems, wildlife and fish adapt to climate change. LeDee works in St. Paul.
I have read the New Yorker for close to 20 years. From stories about eradicating polio to hurricane recovery, it covers the range of national and global issues. To communicate science effectively, it is important to know about issues that concern people. With empathy and understanding, we can then make connections and open conversations about the protection and management of natural resources. I also read a lot of mythology and folklore. Not only are the stories entertaining, they are a window into past relationships between humans and nature. The story of Arachne, the first spider, is one of my favorites.
To stay informed, I have feeds from E&E News (energy and environment), national media outlets, and local outdoor news. I also monitor 20 research journals for new, high-quality science (e.g., Journal of Wildlife Management, Global Change Biology, Human Dimensions of Wildlife). I also pay attention to Paul Huttner (Minnesota Public Radio) for weather and climate stories, and Jason DeRusha (WCCO) for local restaurants.
YouTube. Not only can I catch up on the best of late night, but laugh at incredible dog and cat videos. In this line of work, it’s important to get in some good laughs. I recently watched “A Year in Space” and “Beyond a Year in Space” on PBS. The passion, courage and dedication of NASA astronauts is not only an inspiration for future explorers, but for many of us, as humans on an incredible planet.
Wildlife, learning, and public service were the fabrics of my youth, spent largely outdoors in rural Louisiana. I have been fortunate to combine all three in my professional life. Through partnerships, research, and training, I work to provide high-quality science for high-priority fish wildlife, and habitat management challenges.
I am working with colleagues in Wisconsin and Michigan to review more than 1,300 research articles to identify options to reduce the negative impacts of climate change on wildlife. In the last decade, there has been an explosion of research, but it’s too much for an individual resource manager to track and assess. Our goal is to put the best science, as a menu of population and habitat management options, in the hands of resource managers. Climate change has and will continue to affect wildlife. Although some species may do well, researchers anticipate more negative changes.
My home research is family genealogy. My family has been in south Louisiana for many generations (seven or eight). Thanks to the work of others, I have learned more about my family name, the local history, and close community bonds. We carry on many of the traditions: food (étouffée, jambalaya, wild game), celebrations (Mardi Gras), and music (Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, and Trombone Shorty). For life in Minnesota, I’ve adopted some new traditions, too: sauna, trips to the Iron Range, enjoying the performing arts, and even more Prince.