Northern California Science Writers Association


Upcoming events

    • Sunday, March 04, 2018
    • 12:00 PM - 2:30 PM
    • Oro Loma Sanitary District, 2655 Grant Ave. in San Lorenzo (located between San Leandro to the north and Hayward to the south.) We will assemble in the Oro Loma Sanitary District board room, near the flagpole.

    Rising sea levels and climate change threaten to swamp not only bayshore communities, but also 50 years of efforts to restore San Francisco Bay. But instead of throwing up their hands, scientists and engineers have designed a promising fix for threatened shorelines: the ecotone slope.

    Also known as a horizontal levee, this wide wedge of gravel, mud, and native plants could help protect many vulnerable bayshore communities from rising sea levels. Placed between the Bay and a flood control levee, it absorbs wave action, helps prevent threatened species from drowning, and polishes wastewater to an impressive degree of purity.

    In 2015, the Oro Loma Sanitary District constructed an experimental ecotone slope along the bayshore of San Lorenzo/Hayward. The slope has been divided into experimental zones and planted with different palettes of native plants. Pipes threaded through the heart of the slope provide irrigation with wastewater from the adjacent Oro Loma Sanitary District sewage treatment plant. If built alongside only a quarter of the Bay Area’s 570 miles of existing levees, ecotone slopes could increase upland bayshore habitat by more than 5,000 acres.

    Tour this revolutionary new approach to flood protection, wastewater processing, and habitat restoration with our expert guides, who will include

    Peter Baye, coastal ecologist, botanist, and wetland restoration expert

    Aidan Cecchetti, PhD candidate, civil and environmental engineering, UC Berkeley

    Jason Warner, General Manager, Oro Loma Sanitary District

    Additional links:

    Project brochure, “Oro Loma and Castro Valley Sanitary districts to test experimental levee

    “Nudging natural magic,” Dec. 2017, Estuary News

    • Saturday, March 17, 2018
    • 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM
    • U.C. Berkeley MLK Student Union - Tilden Room, 2495 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA 94704
    • 0
    Unlike some professions, science writing doesn’t have an obvious, established career path. Whether you’re a freelancer, staffer or something in between this workshop will help you find a fulfilling path forward. You'll learn how to identify what you want professionally, and how to develop a plan for managing your career.

    Before the workshop, you’ll receive materials for assessing where you are now and where you want to go from here.

    During the morning part of the workshop, you’ll learn the “tasty buckets” method of career planning, which will help you zero in on what you want, assess where you are now, and decide how to get to where you want to be. You’ll also learn how to make a business plan for your career, set achievable goals, and do periodic self-evaluations to keep yourself on track.

    In the afternoon part of the workshop, you’ll do hands-on work in a small group to apply these principles to your own unique situation.

    By the end of the day, you’ll have a vision and a plan for your future. You'll come away with a new way of thinking about your career, strategies for deciding what you want, and specific steps you can take to realize your dreams.

    INSTRUCTOR: Christie Aschwanden is the lead science writer at FiveThirtyEight. She has spent most of her career as a full-time freelancer, and she is the creator of the Courage Camp workshops for freelancers. Christie has written for more than 50 publications, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Discover, Popular Science, Smithsonian, Mother Jones,, Runner’s World, Outside Online and O, the Oprah magazine. She has received journalism fellowships from the Santa Fe Institute, the Carter Center, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. She was a National Magazine Award finalist in 2011, and her work has been honored by AAAS/Kavli, the Society of Professional Journalists, National Institute for Health Care Management, NASW, and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. She tweets @CragCrest.

    PREPARATION: We will send participants a career planning worksheet to do before the workshop.

    LOCATION: The workshop will be in the UC Berkeley School MLK Student Union at 2495 Bancroft Way, which is at the intersection of Bancroft Way and Telegraph Avenue. We will meet in the Tilden Room, which is on the 5th floor. Parking is tight so we encourage you to arrive via BART — it's only a half-mile walk from the Downtown Berkeley BART Station to the MLK Student Union. If you drive, we recommend parking at the North Berkeley BART station (which is free on Saturdays), taking BART to the Downtown Berkeley BART Station, and walking to the MLK Student Union. If you would like to park closer to the MLK Student Union, we recommend the City of Berkeley's Telegraph Channing Garage at 2450 Durant Ave.


    8:30 am - 9:00 am: Registration 

    9:00 am - 4 pm: Workshop


    Light breakfast (coffee & bagels) during registration. 

    Lunch will be catered on-site.

    COST: $50 (This workshop is made affordable by a generous NCSWA subsidy and an even more generous NASW Idea Grant.)

    REGISTRATION: Spots are limited to 25 and will be by application to provide a representative balance of NCSWA members as well as a diversity of experience and viewpoints. Under the terms of our NASW grant, preference will be given to members who are professional science writers and have not previously attended Christie's Courage Camp.

    To apply, please submit the following to the contacts listed below:

    1. a paragraph saying why you want to come and what you'd like to get out of the workshop (300 words or less),

    2. your resume, and

    3. your lunch preference: meat or vegetarian (if you are vegan, please let us know — we can't make any promises because campus catering does not formally offer a vegan option but we will try!).

    Please submit your application by Monday January 22, 2018. We will notify you by Monday February 5, 2018 and participants must pay for the workshop by Monday February 12, 2018 to keep their spots. We will also have a waiting list.

    CONTACTS: Please send your application to all three of us:

    REFUND POLICY: If you cancel your workshop registration and NCSWA can fill your spot, you will be credited toward future NCSWA events. Otherwise this workshop is not refundable.

Past events

Tuesday, December 05, 2017 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Ancient DNA--A Path Toward De-Extinction?
Wednesday, June 21, 2017 Little darlin’ ... There goes the sun: August's total solar eclipse
Saturday, April 29, 2017 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Saturday, April 22, 2017 NCSWA March for Science Meetup
Tuesday, March 14, 2017 When itch becomes a pain: the biology of touch
Saturday, March 04, 2017 Show and Tell: How to build stories with scenes and voice
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 California's redwoods in a changing climate
Sunday, October 30, 2016 Tour of Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve
Saturday, October 08, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Smartphone Photography
Tuesday, October 04, 2016 A Giant Step for Robots
Saturday, August 27, 2016 Walking Tour: Berkeley Rocks!
Thursday, August 04, 2016 The see-through brain
Saturday, April 23, 2016 NCSWA Workshop: Narrative Structure: Choosing the best way to tell your story
Tuesday, April 19, 2016 Open Board Meeting
Tuesday, April 12, 2016 Stiff, Spook, Bonk and More: Science Meets Humor
Saturday, February 27, 2016 Marine Mammal Center & Point Bonita Lighthouse
Saturday, February 20, 2016 NCSWA WORKSHOP: The Art of the Science Essay
Wednesday, December 16, 2015 Pluto’s “Spinning Top” Moons and other Discoveries
Thursday, October 08, 2015 NCSWA Movie Night: The Martian
Thursday, October 01, 2015 Your Aging Cells: The Fast Track to Disease?
Saturday, September 19, 2015 NCSWA Data Scraping and Visualization Workshop
Tuesday, July 07, 2015 How CRISPR gene editing is changing our world
Friday, June 26, 2015 NCSWA weekend at Hastings Reserve, June 26-28
Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Proof: the Science of Booze
Tuesday, October 07, 2014 How scary is Ebola?
Saturday, May 24, 2014 Underground tour of Black Diamond Mines
Thursday, April 03, 2014 Daniela Kaufer - Stress & the Brain
Wednesday, December 11, 2013 Holiday dinner: Chasing volcanoes
Thursday, September 26, 2013 NCSWA Night at the Exploratorium
Friday, August 16, 2013 Camping trip to Sagehen reserve in the Sierra Nevada
Friday, May 03, 2013 How to Be a Science Writer
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 Spring Dinner: Hydraulic Fracturing, with Stanford's Mark Zoback
Saturday, January 12, 2013 NCSWA Data Journalism Workshop
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 NCSWA Holiday Dinner: Nerds on Wall Street (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Thursday, October 11, 2012 NCSWA Fall Event: Cyber Crime (REGISTRATION CLOSED)
Tuesday, August 28, 2012 NCSWA Movie Night
Friday, August 24, 2012 Overnight trip to North Coast’s Angelo Reserve (FULL)
Saturday, July 14, 2012 Special tour of Buckminster Fuller exhibit (SOLD OUT)
Thursday, May 17, 2012 Spring dinner with Atul Butte
Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Resetting the Aging Clock
Wednesday, December 07, 2011 Intimate Aerials: Photography using Kite-Lofted Cameras
Tuesday, October 04, 2011 GAMING SCIENCE: Video Games and Scientific Research – Who’s in the Lead?
Monday, July 11, 2011 SETI: If We're Not Alone, How Will We Find Out?
Thursday, March 10, 2011 Building the brain in silicon
Saturday, February 26, 2011 Hike the "minor peaks" of San Francisco
Saturday, January 22, 2011 Hike the Pinnacles with a ranger
Wednesday, December 15, 2010 Math whiz and Las Vegas card counting veteran Paul Stepahin
Saturday, November 20, 2010 Digital Photography Workshop
Thursday, October 07, 2010 Oil Spills and Microbes: Can Mother Nature Take a Punch?
Saturday, August 21, 2010 NCSWA Point Reyes Kayak Camping
Tuesday, May 18, 2010 David Relman & the Micro World of Endo-Ecology
Thursday, April 01, 2010 Dinner with Stephen Palumbi
Wednesday, December 16, 2009 Holiday Dinner with Science Comedian Brian Malow
Wednesday, October 07, 2009 Let’s Get Really Small: A Report on Nanotechnology from Someone Ahead of the Forefront
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 The Hunt for Planets Like Earth
Saturday, April 25, 2009 WORKSHOP: New Directions in Science Writing
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