Science Writers &

Communicators of Canada

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  • 22 Oct 2018 2:26 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Yes, we’re hiring!

    Do you believe you’re the one to help guide the organization in the next phase of its evolution? Or, do you know someone who is passionate about science and storytelling in Canada who would be a perfect fit? 

    Either way, we at Science Writers and Communicators of Canada are hiring a new General Manager, starting in January 2019. Please take a look at the attached posting, share with your networks and get in touch with any questions.


    Summary of the position:

    Science communication and science journalism are changing. As the Canadian professional membership organization for science journalists and communicators, we are also changing. We need someone who can help guide us into the future.

    Science Writers & Communicators of Canada (SWCC) is hiring someone who is passionate about the world of science communication, is an idea builder, a knowledge-steward and thrives on change.

    This position will keep you connected to Canada's science community and expose you to an endless array of ideas. You will have time for your other passion projects as this is not a full-time position. We encourage and expect flexibility. If this excites you, we hope to hear from you.

    Position Title: General Manager

    Contract Details: Services are required from January to June, with a strong potential of an extension upon successful completion of the initial contract.

    Start Date: January 15, 2019

    Posting Closing Date: November 12, 2018

    Hours:This is a contract position with flexible hours. Hours increase leading up to the annual conference, and decrease during the summer. You will be working with people across the country and office hours need to accommodate their time zones.

    Location:Canada. For the most part, this is a job that works wherever you are. You will be able to work on your own computer from your own preferred location.

    Who we are

    Science Writers & Communicators of Canada (SWCC) is a national alliance of professional science communicators in all media. Founded in 1971, the organization links science and technology communicators from coast to coast to coast. The mission of the SWCC is to cultivate excellence in science communication and our goal is to increase public awareness and accessibility of science in Canadian society.

    The new General Manager of the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada is:

    ● Engaged in the science community. You understand Canada’s science ecosystem and its stakeholders. 

    ● Effective in building partnerships and securing funding. You have sponsorship and fundraising experience, and will be able to represent the organization confidently as you seek, and find, new sources of support in a changing communications landscape. You will work with the president and board in approaching potential partners, and will at times be the organization’s sole representative.

    ● Organized and productive. You are a guru in multitasking and setting priorities. You will be working with a very busy group of volunteers. You are skilled at giving gentle yet firm reminders of tasks to be completed and doing regular check-ins. Think: General Manager Extraordinaire.

    ● Detail-oriented. You will be responsible for coordinating programs on behalf of the organization, renewing memberships, managing the website, scheduling social media posts, administering a book awards program, setting up event registration, managing member services, taking and sharing board meeting minutes, as well as generally keeping projects and people on track.

    ● An expert in customer service. As the primary point of contact to the organization, internally and externally, you will work effectively with a wide variety of members and stakeholders.

    ● Skilled at event management. The annual conference is currently the main sponsorship opportunity and a chance for members to connect in person. Each year, a new team of SWCC members organize the conference in a different location across the country. To ensure its success, you will be the consistent voice and knowledge-holder during the planning phases of this critical event.

    ● Tech and social media savvy. The website and social media are primary points of contact for our members and others. You will be responsible for updating web content, as well troubleshooting on the site’s back-end. You will also facilitate an overhaul of the site's front end. You will use your social media expertise to promote the SWCC, raise its profile, and build new relationships.

    ● Experienced in managing financial resources, including proper record-keeping and adhering to principles of accountability and transparency.

    Education and experience required

    ● University degree or college diploma in a relevant discipline (e.g., management, science, communications, marketing, journalism) or the equivalent combination of education and experience.

    ● A minimum of five years of experience in business or communications, preferably with a focus on executing strategies and coordinating operational requirements.

    Asset qualifications

    ● Experience working in a non-profit or association environment.

    ● Experience working with a board of directors or senior officials.

    ● Experience working with an organization in transition.

    ● Knowledge of social media tools, such as Hootsuite.


    All qualified applicants are welcomed to submit a current résumé and any relevant portfolio materials to We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only those candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

  • 17 Oct 2018 8:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Science Writers and Communicators of Canada offer two annual book awards to honour outstanding contributions to science writing 1) intended for and available to children/middle grades ages 8-12 years, and 2) intended for and available to the general public. Competitors must be Canadian citizens or residents of Canada, but need not be members of the SWCC. Entries, in either French or English, must have been published in Canada during the 2018 calendar year. 

    Judging Criteria

    Entries may deal with aspects of basic or applied science or technology, historical or current, in any area including health, social or environmental issues, regulatory trends etc.

    Books will be judged on literary excellence and scientific content and accuracy. Specific judging criteria will include initiative, originality, clarity of interpretation and value in promoting greater understanding of science by the general reader.

    Books must be understandable to the layperson or children, with appropriate clarification of medical and scientific terminology, and an orderly marshalling of facts.

    Also the subject matter should be significant and relevant for the majority of the public or children, and so presented that it increases public awareness. 

    Rules for Submissions

    Include a fully completed entry form with each submission, entry forms  are available on our website in English and French

    Submit a brief  biography of the author(s)

     Submit 6 copies for judging purposes

    Entry must have been published in Canada during the 2018 calendar year and must be received by Dec 6, 2018

    Entries failing to comply with these rules will be rejected. For more information please phone the SWCC office at 1-800-796-8595, or email

    All entries become the property of the SWCC

  • 10 Oct 2018 6:48 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Who did you vote for in the 2018 People’s Choice Award for your Favourite Canadian Science Site? If you voted for The Marine Detective, you voted for the Winner! 

    Congrats to The Marine Detective, Jackie Hildering!

    Watch the Winner Announcement video and catch a glimpse of some of Jackie Hildering’s awe inspiring work. 

    The Runners-Up are: 


    Inside the Perimeter

    Congratulations to all our nominees. In our eyes, you’re all winners! See you next year.   

  • 01 Oct 2018 8:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Voting is now closed for Canada’s Favourite Science Online. We asked you to vote for your fave science site and you did! Did your choice become a Finalist? And who won? The winner will be announced via video on Wednesday, October 10th on social media and on this page. Be sure to check back and cheer for the winner!

    In the meantime, here are your Finalists, three science sites we’re all proud to call our own!

    Finalists for Favourite Canadian Science Site:

    Inside the Perimeter

    Twitter: @Perimeter

    Who doesn’t want to understand the universe? Inside the Perimeter you’ll find mindbending ideas in theoretical physics. Combined with research, training, and outreach the PI aims to stimulate the breakthroughs that could transform our future. To explore bold new ideas Inside the Perimeter, visit their website or check it out on Twitter.



     Twitter: @r2rnow

    Does quantum physics answer unanswerable questions? Can farmed algae replace fossil fuels? Why is the bread wheat’s genome more than five times larger than a human’s? So many fascinating topics in the world today, so much iffy information on the internet. But don’t worry, real science is just one click away. Get the facts from world class scientists at Canadian universities who share their leading edge research online on this site.


    The Marine Detective

     Twitter: @OceanDetective

    Jackie Hildering is an educator, conservationist, diver, underwater photographer, and Humpback Whale researcher in BC. Her mission is to raise awareness about life in the ocean and to illuminate the fragility, beauty, and mystery of the deeps.  Her underwater images expose the vital importance of conservation and illustrate that the merging of science and art is breathtaking.

    Science Borealis will announce the Winner for Favourite Blog on Wednesday October 3rd on social media, and is announcing the runners-up starting on Monday October 1, 2018. @ScienceBorealis

  • 28 Sep 2018 10:26 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author Brett D. Huson (Hetxw’ms Gyetxw) won the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada Youth Book Award 2018 for his book The Sockeye Mother. SWCC board member Jay Whetter presented the award at the Millennium Library in Winnipeg during Science Literacy Week. (

    Huson is from the Gitxsan Nation, an Indigenous people from the northwest Interior of British Columbia. He now lives in Winnipeg.

    The Sockeye Mother explores the intricate connection between the sockeye salmon, the Gitxsan people, and British Columbia’s Skeena River valley. The book presents the life cycle of the sockeye salmon, introduces readers to basic Gitxsan words and is beautifully illustrated with traditional formline art. After the award presentation, Huson read from his book and took questions.

    Science Writers and Communicators of Canada offer two annual book awards to honour outstanding contributions to science writing. One is for books intended for and available to children/middle grades ages 8-12 years. The other is for the general public.

    Books are judged on literary excellence and scientific content and accuracy. In addition the two book juries look for initiative, originality, clarity of interpretation, relevance and value in promoting greater understanding of science by the general reader. 

    Winners receive a certificate and cash prize of $1,000. 

  • 17 Sep 2018 8:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s time to show your favourite Science Sites and Blogs some love. Yes, it’s the 2018 People’s Choice Awardsfor your Fave Canadian Science Online … and you choose who wins!

    We’re proud to call these outstanding Canadian sites and blogs our own. Some of them may already be your favourites, or maybe you’ve never heard of them. If you check them out, you might just find more online science to love.

    To award your favourites the bragging rights they so richly deserve, all you have to do is vote for your three favourite sites and your three favourite blogs. Once you’ve voted, join us on social media to cheer for your faves using the hashtag #CdnSciFav


    Voting closes Sept. 29 Winners TBA in early October across SWCC and SciBor social media channels and websites.

    Top 10 for Canada’s Favourite Science Site

    Earth Rangers

     Twitter: @EarthRangers

    Earth Rangers is all about knowledge of the environment and the confidence to take action. Participation in home experiments and missions give kids & families the tools to help our environment at a grass roots level.

    Hey Science – Science Sam

    Twitter: @heysciencesam

    Sam is passionate about communicating science in fun but informative ways. Speaking engagements, Instagram, Twitter, and educational videos – see Sam do it all on her site. Why? Because she wants you to understand, and love science as much as she does. 

    Inside the Perimeter Institute


    Who doesn’t want to understand the universe? Inside the Perimeter Institute you’ll find mindbending ideas in theoretical physics. Combined with research, training, and outreach the PI aims to stimulate the breakthroughs that could transform our future. 

    Québec Science

    Twitter: @QuebecScience 

    This award-winning French language science magazine has been a magnet for science fans since 1962. It’s knowledge-based features include the latest in science and technology breakthroughs, research, news, and commentary, and there’s a fun page for youth as well! 


     Twitter: @r2rnow

    Does quantum physics answer unanswerable questions? Can farmed algae replace fossil fuels? Why is the bread wheat’s genome more than five times larger than a human’s? World-class scientists at Canadian universities share their innovative, leading edge research on this site.

    Science Alive

     Twitter: @SciTechMuseum

    Did you know that Canada’s first automobilehad a horse and buggy design with a boiler and steam engine? What’s the dirt on dirt? Would teleportation work in real life as well as it does on Star Trek? How fast is ‘warp speed’ exactly? Curious about the answers? Who isn’t. 

    Science for the People 

     Twitter: @sci4thepeople

    Out of Edmonton, AB, this long-format podcast/radio show hits North America’s airwaves weekly. Exploring the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy, it aims to help listeners understand the evidence and arguments behind what's in the news and on the shelves. Listener supported and ad free.

    The Marine Detective 

     Twitter: @OceanDetective

    Jackie Hildering is a biology teacher, diver, underwater photographer, and Humpback Whale researcher in BC. Her mission is to raise awareness about life in the ocean and to illuminate the fragility, beauty, and mystery of the deeps. Her underwater images illustrates that the merging of science and art is breathtaking. 

    The Weather Network – Out of This World 

     Twitter: @weathernetwork

    Dedicated to Canada’s favourite topic, Scott Sutherland brings together all kinds of science news about weather, climate change, astronomy, space exploration, and space weather. Wondering about the weather in space, or even on Earth? Aren’t we all.


    Tomatosphere – Let’s Talk Science 


    Space tomatoes! Tomatosphere uses the excitement of space exploration as a way to teach the skills and processes of scientific inquiry. In the Seed Investigation, students examine the effects of the space environment on the germination of tomato seeds. 

    Vote for your faves now! 


    Short-List for Canada’s Favourite Science Blog

    Palaeocast –Dave Marshall, Joe Keating, Laura Soul, Liz Martin-Silverstone, Caitlin Colleary, Tom Merrick-Fletcher

    Twitter: @Palaeocast

    The Palaeocast blog is where we let palaeontologists around the world tell their own stories in their own voice. Paleocast is a free web series exploring the fossil record and the evolution of life on earth.

    Scientist Sees Squirrel– Stephen B. Heard


    I’m an evolutionary ecologist and entomologist at the University of New Brunswick. Most of my current research has to do with plant-insect interactions and with the evolution of new biodiversity.  But when I’m not doing research, I think about a lot of quasirandom things.  I blog about some of them here.

    Birds In Mud– Lisa Buckley

    Twitter: @LisaVipes

    I am a vertebrate paleontologist who specializes in the study of the tracks and traces of Mesozoic animals, specifically Cretaceous-age (145 million years ago to 66 million years ago) dinosaurs and birds!

    Agile Scientific– Matt Hall, Evan Bianco, Diego Castañeda, Robert Leckenby, Kara Turner, Tracey Lothian

    Twitter: @agilegeo

    A bioscience and technology blog with a string focus on geophysics and geosciences, Agile also organizes hackathons, teaches coding for geoscientists and engineers, and promotes open discussion about pressing topics in science and industry.

    Canadian Mountain Network Various authors


    CMN was established to collaboratively address the diverse challenges facing mountain regions by harnessing existing capacities and seeking new research relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and communities. Our aim is for CMN to become a national and global leader in inclusive, co-designed, interdisciplinary mountain-research that recognizes the interconnectedness in mountain systems between the environment, economy, and society, and encourages an integrated approach for long-term sustainability that serves the needs of mountain communities. CMN and its administrative centre is hosted at the University of Alberta.

    Obesity Panacea Peter Janiszewski and Travis Saunders

    Twitter:@TravisSaundersand @Dr_Janis

    Obesity Panacea educates people about the science (or lack thereof) behind popular weight loss products, and has grown to include discussions of the latest news and research regarding obesity, nutrition and physical activity.

    The Boreal Beetle– Dezene Huber

    Twitter: @docdez

    Insect Ecology Lab @UNBC blogging about ecology, entomology, and life.

    Spiderbytes – Catherine Scott

    Twitter: @Cataranea

    This is a blog about spiders (and probably occasionally some other stuff, too)! The idea is that each post will feature accumulations of cool bits of information (‘bytes’) about spiders: spiderbytes. By the way, spiders (usually) do NOT bite, and one of my dreams (for this blog, and in life) is to shift perceptions about spiders from fearsome, aggressive, disgusting etc., to amazing, beautiful, sophisticated, charming, fascinating, elegant, resourceful, mysterious, and many more adjectives that could be used to describe these awesome arthropods!

    Jasmine Janes Jamsine Janes


    I am an Assistant Professor in Plant Ecology/Genetics at Vancouver Island University. I teach units including Plant Ecology, Conservation Biology, Terrestrial Ecosystems and Computing for Biologists. I currently work and collaborate on projects ranging from genomics of eucalypts and mountain pine beetle, to speciation mechanisms in Stellaria, to dietary metagenomics in Vancouver Island Marmot

    Vote for your faves now! 


  • 12 Sep 2018 3:16 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Stay Tuned! 

    Shortlist will be announced on

     Monday, September 17

  • 11 Sep 2018 2:32 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Stephen Strauss

    It has been globally instructive watching Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield turn space flight into a performance art form and in so doing reconfigure what it means to be a successful astronaut.             

    To appreciate this you had to begin by knowing two things. One is what motivated Hadfield to himself go up in space.  He told the Globe and Maillast summer that as a nine-year-old farmers’ son in southern Ontario he saw Neal Armstrong on television landing on the moon, and “I just found it absolutely inspiring; fundamentally inspiring. And I resolved that night, July 20, 1969, to be an astronaut when I grew up.”

     He is far from being alone in making in seeing moon walking as a good career choice. Julie Payette, another Canadian astronaut, watched subsequent moon take offs and landings and bouncy, bounce moon buggy rides and thought. “This is so cool. I’d love to do that. This is what I want to do.”

    The second thing to appreciate is what astronaut Chris Hadfield actually didwhile in space on 31stof January 2013.  I chose this date at random but think it is representative of most days aboard the International Space Station.  In terms of formal work Hadfield spent the bulk of his time setting up a new version of Robonaut. What’s a Robonaut, you might well say? I quote from the NASA webpage describing it. “The first humanoid robot in space was sent to the space station with the intention of eventually taking over tasks too dangerous or mundane for astronauts, and the first such task identified for it was monitoring air velocity....

    It’s not exactly a job that requires a rocket scientist – or astronaut – to accomplish...”

    Specifically what Hadfield and a fellow astronaut did is take Robonaut2 out of its “sleeping compartment”, assemble it, turn it on, and set up a “task board for the upcoming remote commanding of it” and then turn it off. That was however almost fascinating when compared to what he did later in the day, which was to install ultrasound equipment to measure noise in the ISS. And don’t think other astronauts’ work was more engrossing.  Their tasksincluded jobs like cleaning air filters, cleaning water filters, and copying data from the Kulonovskiy Kristall experiment onto a hard drive. This Russian experiment aims at a – I again quote from the websitewhich describes it – “Study of dynamic and structural characteristics of the coulomb systems formed by the charged dispersed diamagnetic macroparticles in the magnetic trap.”

    I recount all of this to point out the obvious. No child, adult or sentient ape ever said to themselves: “I long to become an astronaut because I so, so want to be a weightless robot assembler, or a floating lab technician, or a twisting in space maintenance person.”  Let me repeat: No starry headed human ever dreamed of going into space to do what astronauts are actually supposed to be doing in space today. 

    And that brings me to what Chris Hadfield did in his spare time on January 31, 2013. He sent 11 tweets on that day to the 392,107 people who were at that moment following him. It should be pointed out that Hadfield didn’t do what he had done on many other days, that is release a video podcast explaining something about being in space – how you wash your hands without water for example – or have a question/answer sessions with people on earth, particularly with school children. Or sing while playing his guitar and tumbling.

     Some tweet exchanges sounded mundane but in retrospect weren’t. 

    Jimi Walsh, who describes himself as a “Musician Guitarist/Composer ... Connoisseur, Lothario and part-time Rock'n Roll Rebel” tweeted he was having bacon and eggs for breakfast and wondered what Hadfield had had and if there was anything  he missed. 

    Hadfield replied he had had “oatmeal, dehydrated scrambled eggs, instant cider, instant Kona coffee and dried apricots.”            

     Which caused Jenny Woods to tweet that Hadfield should remind followers in the U.K. that American cider is non-alcoholic. And others to say he must miss the smell of breakfast and did one know what spending time in space did to taste buds? And this led the Canadian Space Agency to weigh in pointing out that Hadfield had answered this question in an open discussionwith the Governor General the day before.

    That is to say how it “feels” to be in space, the sensations which we experience in a milieu that hardly anyone has ever been in continues to excite humans’ imagination. Not to mention actually talk/texting with someone there.

    But a very different version of space as an experience was seen via what Hadfield did in between all his less-than-fascinating “real” work on the ISS. That is alerted people via tweets to the imageshe had photographed out of the windows of the International Space Station.  A full moon rising and looking as it always does like a biologically mute earth.  The oddly cross shaped patterns the lights of Reno, Nevada – “the biggest little town on earth” Hadfield called it, cast. The muscular, intestinal twists of the Amazon River; the perfect circle a meteor craterin Africa forms. “The earth has a belly button,” Hadfield poetically chimed in about it. 

    The most interesting responses by far came from an almost off-hand tweet Hadfield sent out. Officially off work he asked his Twitter followers “if you had a free evening in space, what would you do?”

    There were jokey answers. Catch M & M’s in your mouth as they free-floated in space. Sing “Stardust” by Hoagie Carmichael. Sunbathe. But over and over people said things like “simply relish where I was” and “look down on our beautiful planet” and “float while looking out the space station window.”

    And that to my mind is the subversive message in Hadfield’s tweets.  In 2013 with nobody on the Moon or Mars or anywhere else, the most important reason to go into space is to experience going into space and convey what you see and feel to people still on earth. And if that is the case two things follow. 

    One is that NASA and CSA and other agencies should select astronauts who are really good at explaining what it feels like to be there and even better good at looking down on earth and seeing what should be imaged from space. Think recruiting campaigns actively searching for space minded poets and photographers and emotive writers rather than  free loating lab rats, and maintenance people, and robot assemblers.

    You do this because Hadfield has taught us that daily communication from space isn’t a tangential “social media” activities that “cool” astronauts might do. His tweets aren’t spare time after work afterthoughts. Rather showing what an astronauts sees and feels in space and communicating that is what really inspires most of us on earth who, among other things, fund space flights. 

    And consequently  after he returns Hadfield should give communication’s seminars to existing astronauts explaining that their most significant purpose on the ISS is to inspire some 21stcentury children looking at their tweets and podcasts and photos of the earth to say to themselves:

     “I want to be the best astronaut you can be when people aren’t going to the moon. And that means I want to be a tweeting, talking, singing, flipping about astro-tourist – just like Chris Hadfield.”

    Stephen Strauss is a science writer with over 30 years of experience in the Canadian media. He covered science over a 25 year period for Globe and Mailand since leaving there has written a regular column for the CBC’s website. Stephen is also an accomplished author and speaker with numerous awards and fellowships. He is currently a freelance writer based in Toronto, Canada.

  • 10 Sep 2018 10:07 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Date and location:

    Thursday, September 20
    7:00 p.m.
    Millennium Library
    Ah kha koo gheesh reading-in-the-round space
    Main Floor
    251 Donald St.
    Winnipeg, Manitoba

    SWCC presents Brett D. Huson with Youth Book Award during Science Week

    Author Brett D. Huson won the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada Youth Book Award 2018 for his book The Sockeye Mother.

    Huson will read the book and SWCC board-member Jay Whetter will present the award September 20 at 7:00 at Winnipeg’s Millennium Library.

    The Sockeye Mother explores the intricate connection between the sockeye salmon, the Gitxsan people, and British Columbia’s Skeena River valley. The book presents the life cycle of the sockeye salmon, introduces readers to basic Gitxsan words and is beautifully illustrated with traditional formline art.

    Brett D. Huson (Hetxw’ms Gyetxw) is from the Gitxsan Nation, an Indigenous people from an unceded territory in the northwest Interior of British Columbia. He now lives in Winnipeg.

    The reading is one of many events planned across Canada to recognize Science Literacy Week ( 

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