Inclusive Culture Hub

Welcome to the CERF 2023 Inclusive Culture and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ) Events Hub. At CERF, we are dedicated to expanding the reach and impact of coastal and ocean sciences by championing diversity in all its forms. Our commitment to inclusivity encompasses a wide spectrum of social identities, including race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity and expression, religion, sexual orientation, physical ability, veteran status, and socioeconomic background. We also recognize and embrace the diversity within our scientific community, spanning various disciplines, career paths, and life experiences. This page serves as your central resource for all the activities that underscore our respect for and celebration of this diversity. Our multifaceted programming is designed to foster an inclusive culture where everyone feels empowered to contribute to our mission. By leveraging our differences as strengths and creating a culture of belonging, we enhance the relevance and effectiveness of coastal and estuarine science in addressing complex ecological and societal challenges. Join us in advancing science and strengthening our community through the power of DEIJ at CERF 2023.

Programs, Resources, and Activities  |  Keynote, Plenaries, and Panels  |  Sessions  |  Workshops  

Programs, Resources, and Activities

Safe and Welcoming CERF:

  • Code of Conduct: All attendees must abide by the Event Code of Conduct. You may report violations to a CERF staff member or via our online form.

  • Conference Ombuds: Nnena Odum serves as CERF’s Conference Ombuds, a neutral, independent, off-the-record resource who is available on-site to hear concerns confidentially. The Ombuds can assist with identifying options and resources to address conflicts or issues such as harassment, microaggressions, discrimination, or any violation of CERF’s Event Code of Conduct. This new resource is available to all attendees, staff, exhibitors, and anyone participating in CERF 2023. The Conference Ombuds website has Nnena’s walk-in consultation hours as well as ways to contact her via email, phone, or confidential web form.

  • CERF Ambassador Program: Ambassadors are volunteers that are available to ensure that all attendees have a safe, welcoming, professional, and inclusive experience. Ambassadors have been provided with bystander intervention training and will be visible during CERF events. Please reach out to an Ambassador if you have any questions or would like help.

  • Safety: We have collected safety resources about the conference and surrounding area.

Inclusive CERF:

  • Affinity Group Lunches: Affinity Group Lunches are designed to celebrate and connect individuals who self-identify with one or more affinity groups. These lunchtime meet-ups provide a unique opportunity for conference attendees to socialize, network, and share their knowledge, concerns, and experiences with peers who share similar aspects of their identity. There will be an affinity group information table in the Exhibit Hall during the Sunday President’s Reception.  Those that identify with the groups below are encouraged to join the conversation by bringing lunch to these meet-ups, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM PT in the Portland Ballroom 255 on the following days:

    • Monday: Persons with disabilities

    • Wednesday: LGBTQ+

    • Thursday: BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)

  • Family Friendliness: CERF strives to provide a supportive atmosphere for parents and caregivers attending our conference. Each year we try to provide specific offers for families. Children are welcome at conference sessions/workshops, in the exhibit hall, poster sessions, and receptions provided they are accompanied at all times by registered adult attendees. Children can even get their own conference badges at the registration desk! More resources can be found on the Family Friendliness website.

  • Onsite Child Care: Child care will be provided by KiddieCorp at the Oregon Convention Center room G131-132 for children ages six months to 12 years. Hours are Monday through Thursday, 7:30 AM - 5:30 PM PT. All children must be pre-registered by 3 November.

  • Family Lounge: Oregon Convention Center room F152 is available to families to give a dedicated place to gather. There are also two Mamava nursing suites on level 1 near the Pre-Function A and Pre-Function E meeting rooms.

  • All-User Restroom: The all-user restroom can be found near Exhibit Hall E. This map indicates the location.


Local Portland Resources:

Portland is known for being a vibrant and welcoming city. Travel Portland has collected many resources for those looking to support the local community; here are some highlights:

CERF Inclusive Culture Programming

Keynote, Plenaries, and Panels

Opening Ceremony: Tribal Welcome and DEIJ Award

Speaker: Davis Washines/Yellowash

Sunday, 12 November | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM PT | Portland Ballroom 253-254, 257-258

A traditional welcome and opening ceremony to the CERF Conference by Davis Yellowash, a member of the Yakima Nation.

In addition, please join us in celebrating DEIJ Achievement Award winner Tiara Moore, CEO of Black in Marine Science.

Keynote: Resilience Initiative for Coastal Education (R.I.C.E.)

Speakers: Albert George and John Carr

Moderator: Treda Grayson, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Sunday, 12 November | 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM PT | Portland Ballroom 253-254, 257-258

The keynote will discuss the power of community partnerships and engagement using citizen science and other innovative data visualization tools to mitigate climate change, sea level rise, and aquatic debris risks in traditionally underserved communities in the South Atlantic Bight region of the U.S.

Monday Plenary: Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Speakers: Brittani Orona, San Diego State University; Douglas Deur, Portland State University; and Samantha Chisolm Hatfield, Oregon State University

Moderator: Matthew Bethel, Louisiana Sea Grant

Monday, 13 November | 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM PT | Portland Ballroom 253-254, 257-258

This plenary session focuses on how Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is used in coastal resource management to build stronger engagement with coastal communities. Presentations and discussions will center on methods and techniques that use TEK for conflict resolution concerning complex multi-use resource issues in the coastal zone.

Wednesday Plenary: Social Inequities of Climate Change and Community Migration

Speakers: Gavin Smith, North Carolina State University and Patty Bohnee, Arizona State University

Moderator: Robert Twilley, Louisiana State University

Wednesday, 15 November | 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM PT | Portland Ballroom 253-254, 257-258

This session focuses on the social inequities of climate change and community migration as result of increased flooding occurrences in the coastal floodplain. The issues of community gentrification and equities in housing and land ownership as communities migrate is complex issue of environmental justice and coastal urban planning. Presentations and discussion will center on methods and techniques that use TEK to for conflict resolution concerning complex multi-use resource issues.

PANEL: Working across discipline and difference to address complex coastal issues

Speakers: Jennifer Sandoval, University of Central Florida; Meaghan Efford, University of British Columbia; Katrina Radach, Puget Sound Partnership; Lora Harris, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science; and Fred Tutman, Patuxent Riverkeeper

Organizers: Kristy Lewis, University of Rhode Island and Jenni Schmitt, South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve

Tuesday, November 14 | 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM PT | Portland Ballroom 251- 252

Demystify transdisciplinary marine research, emphasize the importance of diverse perspectives, which includes community and tribal involvement from problem identification to solutioning. We invite you to join us for a panel discussion on "Working across discipline and difference to address complex coastal issues," which aims to demystify transdisciplinary research and emphasize the importance of incorporating diverse perspectives, including those from communities and Tribes. Transdisciplinary research is an approach that aims to democratize knowledge across academic and non-academic stakeholders to effectively implement solutions to complex coastal topics. However, the United States is behind in applying this approach to solve complicated ocean and coastal related challenges, such as those arising from climate change. Significant community engagement is crucial in transdisciplinary research, where communities are involved in problem identification and remain active members of the research team throughout the duration of a project to shape socially relevant research. Our distinguished panelists will include leading researchers, coastal practitioners, community members, and Tribal representatives who will share their experiences and insights on the benefits and challenges of working across discipline and difference. They will highlight successful examples of working jointly with collaborators from other fields of study and discuss benefits and opportunities for impactful community and Tribal involvement in coastal research and problem-solving. The insights and experiences shared by our panelists will be valuable to researchers, community members, and decision-makers interested in collaborative processes and incorporating diverse perspectives into their work. Join us for this important panel discussion and learn how transdisciplinary research and meaningful community engagement can help address challenges that affect a variety of ecosystems and the social and economic systems that they support. We look forward to seeing you there!


There are several DEIJ-related scientific sessions. In addition, we encourage presenters to make their presentations as accessible as possible for all audiences; some resources have been provided online


Weaving traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) and coastal science for management application

Growing a diverse estuarine research and management workforce

Not just checking a box: inclusive communication as a tool to engage in resiliency

Building resilience in communities, programs, and the workforce through inclusion


Stories from the braided river: nonlinear, enriching workforce pathways and narratives in coastal science and management

Transdisciplinary approaches to support coastal community resilience: interactions between natural, human-built, and social systems


Artistic pathways to scientific understanding

Coproduction with diverse stakeholder engagement for coastal ecosystem management


Community engagement initiatives for increased coastal resilience

Ecological and social connectivity in coastal ecosystems

Coastal community science: building capacity and capability for resilient and sustainable stewardship

All things climate. All the time. Weaving climate mitigation and adaptation into all aspects of coastal ecosystem management programs

Co-design of community science projects for coastal resiliency


You must register in advance to participate in a workshop. You can sign up during registration, or contact the CERF Office ([email protected]) to add a workshop to your existing registration.

Fostering Inclusive Fieldwork Experiences 

Presenters: Anjali Boyd, Duke University, and Tregyn Toone, North Carolina State University

Sunday, 12 November | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PT

Across all disciplines, fieldwork can present unique challenges, such as working in remote locations or sharing accommodations. Whether you’ve recently entered the field, or you’re managing large research groups, this workshop is for you! This two-hour panel and breakout discussion will cover best practices for fostering inclusive and safe field experiences among researchers and students of all identities. Topics will include field safety considerations; physical and financial access to field environments; accessible field equipment and attire; fostering an open and safe culture of dialog about concerns in the field; and potential steps for furthering inclusivity in your own work. To enrich our breakout discussions, attendees are asked to come prepared with a few examples of positive fieldwork experiences and/or successful strategies for enhancing inclusive fieldwork. Following the workshop, hosts will compile a resources document including main takeaways from panelists and breakout discussions to be shared with all participants.

Removing Barriers for Students in CERF Disciplines: Tools for Advocacy 

Presenters: Alice Besterman, Towson University, and Kailani Acosta, Columbia University

Sunday, 12 November | 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM PT

Broadening participation in CERF sciences begins with students and the allies who support them. But implicit assumptions and associated structural barriers limit recruitment and retention of students with diverse identities and backgrounds. Encouragingly, many students and allies have begun taking action to identify and remove these barriers. In this workshop, we will take a focused look at structural barriers, advocacy, and actions taken by and for undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and other professionals who support them. This workshop will involve interactive activities, a panel discussion with invited speakers, and group discussions to highlight and share tools used in advocacy. Attendees will gain skills in identifying and describing structural barriers, and learn about specific actions to remove barriers and improve participation in CERF sciences. Panelists will span multiple career stages, and discussions will include advocacy actions from all career pathways.

Food for Thought: How Coasts Nourish Our Bodies and Communities

Presenters: Brooke Carney, National Sea Grant Office; Amara Davis, National Sea Grant Office; Kelly Samek, National Sea Grant Office, Davin Holen, Alaska Sea Grant, and Matt Bethel, Louisiana Sea Grant

Sunday, 12 November | 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM PT

This dynamic session will pair a live food demonstration with storytelling and moderated discussion on the intersections of foodways, culture, coastal communities, diversity, ecology, traditional ecological knowledge, equity, and accessibility. The panel will include community partners, researchers, and science extension specialists representing the Pacific Northwest region sharing their experiences of how food connects us to place, supports culture and commerce, can promote sustainable resource use, and reveals societal flaws. Case studies and discussion are likely to touch on such important questions as: how can research inform policies to protect subsistence practices and help preserve traditional and/or local knowledge?; how is food an indicator of healthy coastal ecosystems?; and, can we ensure equity in access to food while promoting new food-based commercial endeavors such as tourism? Attendees will have the opportunity to leave behind their own stories of food and coastal culture as well as take home recipes and insights on food as an indicator of community well-being.