In an ideal world, I would write every day. Novels and short stories, mostly. But there'd be time for other writing pursuits too. Last year, while I was working for Natural Resources Canada, I had the opportunity to combine my love of writing with my job in Communications. They hired me as a Writer-Editor, and many of the projects used my creativity in ways most of my jobs never have.
I'm proud of some of the products I wrote content for -- the usual communications brochrues and posters -- but I'm thrilled that they also gave me the opportunity to write articles explaining some of the work of the scientists at NRCan.
Three of those articles are available online. The first was published in February 2012 on the corporate newsletter Science@NRCan. New Methodology Improves Disaster Planning recognized the work of a risk assessment team to help municipal and emergency response planners prepare for potential disasters. I learned a lot about disaster planning while researching the article, and I really enjoyed listening to the scientists explain their work and its importance for municipalities.
The second article also appeared in Science@NRCan. This one looked at a new online system to help fire management leaders determine how best to distribute their manpower and resources. Again, I learned a lot about fire modelling and forecasting. And the scientist involved spent hours explaining the process to me.
Just before my year was up, I had the chance to co-write an article with one of Canada's leading scientists on plant health standards. Fighting Alien Invasions with Phytosanitary Standards was recently published in Silviculture Magazine. Dr. Allen enthusiastically shared his research with me and helped me to understand its implications so I could craft an article that would help educate silviculturists, who are at the front-lines of protecting Canada's tree species.
Alas, my year at NRCan has ended. I miss my co-workers and the job, but I am grateful that I had the chance to learn so much in so many different scientific domains (earthquake science, ocean floor mapping, geology, and the list goes on). As my memories percolate, I am sure a short story featuring a research scientist is sure to emerge.