patty valentine darbyScience Communicator: Patty Valentine-Darby

Research Associate: Patty Valentine-Darby

 Project title: Effective Communication of Natural Resource Conditions and Monitoring Results in Parks

Project overview: Patty develops science communication products to share results of condition assessments in parks across the country and inventory and monitoring efforts within the Chihuahuan Desert Network parks in Texas and New Mexico.

Backstory: Through NRCC, Patty works with the National Park Service Natural Resource Condition Assessment (NRCA) Program and the Inventory and Monitoring Program (Chihuahuan Desert I&M Network). The NRCA Program provides funding and oversight to evaluate the condition of natural resources in parks. A report is produced for each park condition assessment, and Patty develops, in coordination with other members of the team, web articles, briefs, and/or other products to communicate assessment results to park staff and managers and the public. Communication topics depend on the focal resources selected for each park (such as scenic views, amphibians, wetlands and their restoration, and springs and seeps).

The Inventory and Monitoring Program collects and analyzes information on the animals, plants, and ecosystems found in national park units. The more than 280 parks are organized into 32 networks, with one network being the Chihuahuan Desert Network in west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. Network staff collect and analyze ecological data in the seven network parks, and Patty helps with communicating results to park managers, researchers, and the public through the production of reports and short communication pieces such as briefs and fact sheets.  

Current Status: My most recent work includes writing a series of web articles based on a Natural Resource Condition Assessment for Valles Caldera National Preserve (in New Mexico). The web articles include an overview article and individual articles on seven focal resources (such as landscape connectivity, scenic views, and the Jemez Mountains salamander). I have also just finished putting together a draft report for the Chihuahuan Desert Network landbird monitoring program. It is a synthesis report using annual monitoring data from 2010-2017. I was the editor for the report, as well as one of five authors.

Project Partners: National Park Service, the Natural Resource Condition Assessment Program and the Inventory and Monitoring Program—Chihuahuan Desert Network

Project start year: 2021

Location: Patty works remotely with the Natural Resource Condition Assessment Program, in Fort Collins, CO, and the Chihuahuan Desert Inventory & Monitoring Network, in Las Cruces, NM.