Looking Forward, Looking Back

 JUN 26, 2015    by TONI KLEMM

The 2012 Northwest Climate Boot Camp, birthplace of ECCF.
Photo credit: Mark Schulze, Oregon State University

The Early Career Climate Forum (ECCF) was started about two and a half years ago, in December 2012. After a small group of students and post-docs attended a great early career training hosted by the Northwest Climate Science Center. ECCF was a means to stay connected, to expand our network, and to share research ideas and experiences in graduate school or in our professional careers. Soon we learned that there was an actual need for an online forum like ECCF and won support from USGS and the Climate Science Center (CSC) network. With all the support came no shortage of pressure to succeed, though. It seemed everyone was waiting for our great vision to become reality. We had plenty of ideas, but no clue what to start with.

So we asked our readers, followers, and subscribers: “What do you want?” and “Who are you, anyway?” We conducted a survey to find out what they wanted to see on ECCF. The answers included just about everything, from advertising job openings and upcoming conferences, to hosting webinars and actual workshops. We ranked the survey responses based on consensus among survey responders and what we thought we could realistically achieve. The new ECCF website, the discussion forum, and listserv reflect this ongoing process. We are now one of eight priorities identified by the National Education and Training Work Group for the CSCs. In January 2015, we received funding to support the development of the revamped ECCF website, manage content and additional initiatives, and in May 2015 we teamed up with the Northwest Knowledge Network who hosts our new website.

Most of us found ECCF because we knew someone who knew someone. We learned to build an organization, coordinate efforts, set agendas, and determine priorities. Building a platform like ECCF from scratch was a lot of  fun and a tremendous learning experience for all of us. It’s been a lot of work, and we are looking forward to many more discussions and projects.

Are you interested in getting involved with ECCF? If you want to become part of the Early Career Climate Forum, please email us at info@eccforum.org and tell us about your background, what you do, where you work, and the ways you would like to contribute to ECCF. We look forward to hearing from you!

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