Season 5 of the Engineering With Nature® Podcast launches on November 30. Host Sarah Thorne recently talked about highlights from Season 4 and what’s ahead for Season 5 with Todd Bridges, Senior Research Scientist for Environmental Science with the US Army Corps of Engineers and the National Lead of the Engineering With Nature Program, and Jeff King, Deputy National Lead of the Engineering With Nature Program.
The EWN Podcast launched in July of 2020 and, as shown by the nearly 25,000 total downloads that it has received since, there is a lot of interest in the topic. As Todd notes, “I get tremendous feedback from folks from all around the country. I was in California and Nevada recently, and people came up to me that I’d never met before, telling me that they’re fans and they listen to the podcast. There is clearly a desire and appetite for information about nature-based solutions and what we’re doing in Engineering With Nature.” Season 4 podcast episodes averaged about 218 downloads in the first 7 days of availability (a standard podcast industry statistic), which puts the podcast in about the top 14% of ALL podcasts worldwide. As Todd says, “That’s saying something for a government operation.”
Season 4 featured a broad range of EWN practitioners—scientists, engineers, landscape architects, and others—within USACE, other US federal agencies, and international organizations. All focused on innovative approaches to incorporating nature-based solutions into their work and encouraging others to do so. Two episodes featured USACE senior leaders: Episode 6 with Brigadier General Antoinette Gant, Commander of the South Pacific Division, and Episode 7 with Brigadier General Jason Kelly, Commander of the South Atlantic Division. Both spoke passionately about EWN innovation and the leadership required to expand the practice across USACE.
As Todd notes, “The podcast is illustrating and seeding very important conversations across the Corps of Engineers; among leaders; among practitioners; and importantly, with our stakeholders and partners. These conversations are important for moving us forward conceptually, intellectually, and in terms of how we are implementing projects across the country and all around the world.” Jeff concurs: “I really feel so honored to be part of the EWN Program and to have this front seat. We’re able to work with so many interesting people and so many different organizations across sectors and being able to deliver these innovations.”
Season 5 will expand these conversations under the theme of Realizing the Value of Nature. Featured guests include brilliant scientists, engineers, policy makers, leaders, authors, landscape architects, and others who are making a difference in realizing the benefits of nature.
As we discuss, President Biden’s recent Executive Order 14072, Strengthening the Nation’s Forests, Communities and Local Economies, is accelerating implementation of nature-based solutions. We’ll focus on commitments that are being made with respect to the Executive Order and how they will be rolled out in the months and years to come. As Todd frames it, “Engineering With Nature, for the last 12 years, has been convergent with this movement that’s epitomized in the Executive Order.”
Season 5 will feature some big-name guests, cool science, and lots of innovation. According to Jeff, “We continue to see a lot of growth within the Network for Engineering With Nature (NEWN), so we’ll have an opportunity to talk about that. All the wonderful new relationships that are now starting to coalesce within the Network are really exciting. We’ll spend some time doing a deep dive into more of the technical work that’s happening out there.”
Measuring What Matters
Towards a more comprehensive and equitable evaluation of benefits
Todd invites listeners to attend an important national summit “Measuring What Matters” being hosted by the EWN Program at the National Academies in Washington, DC, on November 30. Participants from USACE plus other federal, state, and local agencies, as well as private and nonprofit organizations, will explore nature’s role and value, and how best to formulate, evaluate, and deliver integrated water resources projects. Follow the link to register to attend in person or virtually.