Twin Cities WRS Seminar

Tips for Effective Communication with the Public About Water


Lark Weller
National Parks Service

March 29, 2019


Determining how best to communicate with the public about our work is an ongoing topic of conversation of many scientific and technical gatherings, especially at a time when scientific literacy rates are so depressing. Water resources face enormous challenges that will require significant public investment and buy-in, and making sure we are connecting meaningfully to the public is imperative to our future work.

Lark Weller is not a formal scientist, but she plays in her job, and she appreciates her many amazing and passionate scientist colleagues and partners. She does not have a formal communications background but has started to notice the importance that effective communication plays in human life and interactions. She is a co-author of The State of The River Report, an award-winning publication (in partnership with Friends of the Mississippi River) which led to several policy changes, including nation’s first statewide ban on the sale of triclosan for household use. She will share some of the underlying principles that she suspects have helped The State of the River be so well-received by (at least some segments of) the public.

Bio: Lark Weller currently holds two positions within NPS. As a Community Planner for the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area (Minneapolis/St. Paul), she works to effectively engage communities around environmental issues and special places and connects the scientific community to the public for non-technical learning and discussion. She developed and is Co-PI on a grant to identify barriers to institutional equity and inclusion and is the co-author of the award-winning State of the River Report. As Employee Engagement Coordinator for WASO’s Office of Relevancy, Diversity and Inclusion, Lark will support Employee Resource Groups and advocate strategies to re-center NPS on building a healthy, humane, respectful workplace. 

Lark is co-founder and Chair of the Women’s Employee Resource Group, which represents over 500 employees nationally. She is also a facilitator for the NPS Voices Tour and a Workforce Ambassador. Lark has a bachelor’s of science degree in agriculture, sociology, and anthropology, as well as a master’s degree in urban and regional planning, both from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis.