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Ultimate Team Building: How Boundary Spanning Organizations Fill the Gap Between Science & Solutions

Dr. Amber Pairis led an interactive panel at the 2019 National Adaptation Forum in Madison, Wisconsin on the importance of boundary spanning organizations to connect science to solutions.

“Boundary spanning is risky and requires brave people.”

- Dr. Kathy Jacobs,

Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions

Boundary-spanning organizations can help translate science in real time, build trust among partners, and have enough influence to garner support for action. Creating these kind of collaborative partnerships is continually being highlighted as a foundation for advancing climate adaptation strategies yet creating, maintaining, and funding these kinds of unique organizations can be difficult if not impossible.

Dr. Amber Pairis, Director of the Climate Science Alliance and lead at the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, brought together a diverse set of individuals to speak at the 2019 National Adaptation Forum on their experience and led a group conversation about the unique attributes that make boundary organizations succeed or fail and why these kinds of endeavors are so difficult to create, fund, and maintain over time. The panel included Dr. Tamara Wall from the Desert Research Institute, Dr. Megan Jennings from San Diego State University, Nicolette Cooley from the Institute of Tribal Environmental Professionals, Dr. Shasta Gaughen from the Pala Band of Mission Indians, and Dr. Kathy Jacobs from the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions at the University of Arizona.

The panel concluded with an interactive activity called “Troika Consulting” where attendees were able to connect with others in the session and discuss problems and struggles they were having in their work and get helpful feedback from others in the field. This demonstration illustrated the major take home of this session, we are all in this together.

About the National Adaptation Forum: The National Adaptation Forum convenes adaptation practitioners from around the country that are focused on moving beyond adaptation awareness and planning to adaptation action. The Forum includes opportunities for professional development through formal trainings, facilitated practitioner presentations, and community building. This event affords attendees the opportunity to learn more about how to make their work climate smart, share what they have learned with others, and develop a stronger network to be climate savvy in all that they do.

To learn more about the National Adaptation Forum, please visit:

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