Environmental Professionals Radio (EPR)

Public Engagement, Marketing, and Morel Hunting with Amanda Roberts

June 25, 2021 Amanda Roberts
Environmental Professionals Radio (EPR)
Public Engagement, Marketing, and Morel Hunting with Amanda Roberts
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome back to Environmental Professionals Radio, Connecting the Environmental Professionals Community Through Conversation, with your hosts Laura Thorne and Nic Frederick! 

On today’s episode, we talk with Amanda Roberts, Partner and Chief Marketing Strategist at Avid Core, a woman and minority owned strategic communications company about Public Engagement, Marketing, and Morel Hunting.   Read her full bio below.


Special thanks to our recurring sponsor Dawson - https://www.dawsonohana.com/

DAWSON is a Native Hawaiian global business enterprise serving Federal clients through construction, PTS and environmental services. Operating worldwide, DAWSON is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi with offices across the U.S. Rooted in the Hawaiian values of aloha (embodying humility, respect, and compassion for all) and ʻohana (family), DAWSON carries forward a kuleana (responsibility) to benefit the Native Hawaiian community. DAWSON's environmental branch brings science, solutions, and sustainability to planning, compliance, munitions and remediation. With a permanent 8(a) status, DAWSON is the perfect solution to all of your business needs.
 
Help us continue to create great content! If you’d like to sponsor a future episode hit the support podcast button or visit www.environmentalprofessionalsradio.com/sponsor-form 

 

Showtimes: 

1:04  Shout outs

2:48  Nic and Laura talk about giving back to the community

9:53  Interview with Amanda Roberts starts

14:11  Amanda talks about public engagement

31:29  Amanda discusses marketing strategies

33:02  Morel hunting

 
Please be sure to ✔️subscribe, ⭐rate and ✍review. 

This podcast is produced by the National Association of Environmental Professions (NAEP). Check out all the NAEP has to offer at NAEP.org.

 
Connect with Amanda Roberts at https://www.linkedin.com/in/amandamarieroberts/

 

Guest Bio:

Amanda co-founded Avid Core in 2020 with Virginia Quiambao Arroyo.  For more than a decade, Amanda has worked as a federal government contractor on a wide range of outreach and communications projects. Amanda managed a contract with the Department of the Interior for environmental collaboration and conflict resolution where Amanda led public involvement projects for environmental planning. She started supporting environmental planning with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in 2018.

Amanda grew up in Northern Virginia and currently lives in Fairfax with her husband and two young children.  

 

Music Credits

Intro: Givin Me Eyes by Grace Mesa

Outro: Never Ending Soul Groove by Mattijs Muller

 

Support the show (https://www.environmentalprofessionalsradio.com/sponsor-form)

 [Transcript is auto transcribed]

Laura:
Hello and welcome to EPR with your favorite environmental nerds Nick and Laura. On today's episode we give our shout outs, Nick and I discuss the importance of giving back to your community. We talked with Amanda Roberts at Avid Core about public engagement marketing and Morel hunting, not moral hunting.

And finally, on this day in science in 1951 at 4:35 p m. CBS aired the one hour premiere of commercial color television with a program named Premiere. It was transmitted using the CBS field sequential system from New York to four other cities, Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC. Unfortunately this system was a commercial failure because the picture quality was terrible. It wasn't compatible with the earlier black and white TV sets, and also it was on CBS.

Please be sure to subscribe, rate and review, hit that music.

Nic:
Today's shout out goes to Jay Ramirez, the winner of an NAEP 2021 Zirzow Student Award. Jay is active duty with the US Coast Guard, and currently is pursuing a master's degree in environmental policy and management from the American Public University system. Congrats. We're so proud of you that's really awesome really great award and I'm really glad to share that with our audience today. Today's episode is also sponsored by Dawson. Dawson is a native Hawaiian Global Business Enterprise serving federal clients throughout construction, PTS and environmental services operating worldwide Dawson's worldwide headquarters is located in Honolulu, Hawaii, with offices across the United States, rooted in traditional Hawaiian values of aloha, which is embodied in humility respect and compassion for all 'ohana, which is family and Dawson carries forward kuleana  which has responsibility to benefit the native Hawaiian community Dawson's environmental brands bring science solutions and sustainability to planning, compliance, munitions and remediation, with a permanent ad status Dawson is the perfect solution to all your business needs, please visit www.dawsonohana.com for more.
 
Also please check out NAEP's new Twitter page is really cool. I'm glad we have this this is @naeptweets, so there should be more updates coming through that, about what we're doing and you know we're increasing our social media presence there so it's a lot of fun, really cool. So please do check us out again @naeptweets. So, yeah, really, really cool stuff. If you would like to sponsor a future episode, head on over to environmentalprofessionalsradio.com And check out our sponsor form for details. Let's get to our segment.

Nic:
I did actually. I also, on Friday.

Through all this chaos. On Friday I gave a presentation to a bunch of middle school in early high school.

I guess there was a school for disadvantage, kids. So, and, you know, lower income less opportunity, so just kind of talking to them about what I did. And, you know, how it was. And, you know through Dawson. Dawson was the one that they set it all up and it was really neat to just get back I've done it before, is it you know a couple companies that I've worked for have done it. That kind of thing, you know, giving back and it's really, it's a really easy thing to do. Super, super easy.

Laura:
And did they get to ask you questions?

Nic:
Yes, and they were actually too good. And so I'm like, did you guys talk about this beforehand they must have right access, They're like, what is your favorite policy, environmental policy and why return policy. Oh my god. It blew me away. I'm like, What am I, how am I supposed to here. Well, it's definitely NEPA, you know, and, oh man, it was just so it was funny, they're actually doing an environmental policy report so they all have to find one policy and write about it and, boy, boy, did you guys pick the right time to do this, my goodness. Everything is changing.

So, good luck, you know, but it was really fun. It was really fun to do, really fun to get back.

Laura:
Oh that's cool. I want to know what their favorite policies are.

Nic:
Yeah, I don't know if they have any I think they were asking me, not really, not really wanting...

Laura:
I'd love to give some kids a list of policies and say which one of these is your favorite.

Nic:
Which one of them has bugs in it or bunnies you know that's really it's like, Can I pet a tiger?

Laura:
I would think the endangered species, I would hope.

Nic:
Yeah, right. So I purposely didn't pick that one because I was like, Man, it's too easy, we don't need to do.

I'm going to actual, you know, you want to talk policy, let's do this

Laura:
Real fun.

Nic:
Yeah.

Laura:
So you're gonna be, you're gonna be like Eric Coleman, and you're going to have those kids that are, that grew up and come back to you and say I remember when you gave this talk.

Nic:
Yeah, well yeah for most...

Laura:
I became an environmental scientist because of you.

Nic:
Yeah, well, it's funny, like there's actually, there's one person who's like that already, right when I was in grad school I had an intern, helped me out. My for a while both years I was there with my project, and she, to this day she's like I'm in this field because of you, and it's always just a little condescending, which I like, you know, she's like, it's your fault I'm here. But, yeah, it's a really good feeling to be like, Yeah, okay. All right, I helped somebody find a career path. That's really cool. Yeah. You know.

Laura:
I just had this flashback of science class they took in high school, which, by the way, I didn't get interested in science till way way after even my undergrad so. Oh wow. Yeah, that's right, that's right. But I remember the thing that I remember is her bringing in octopus for us to eat.

Nic:
Oh wow, and eat.

Laura:
So now I'm thinking, Okay, I'm a vegetarian, and I, it's a science for several years, so teachers listening out there that's not a good place to protect the animals not eat them.

Nic:
I was like oh they bought a live octopus and you could touch it, that's so cool. No, no, no, here's some samples, okay that's, that's a harsh reality right there. Right Why Why did they bring that in, why would it was it just

Laura:
Gosh I couldn't tell you I don't know. It seems counterintuitive so the whole thing, looking at hindsight.

Nic:
Right, right. It was a different time right yeah it's a different time.

Laura:
Do some teacher education out there for those high schools, I do think that, you know, like you said get us environmental professionals working environmental professionals getting into high school and middle school classrooms is a great place to be because then you know the teachers don't always know what their jobs are actually like so, you know, yeah, fault her for just maybe she thought it was a great idea. 
But yeah, I think just getting out there and helping teachers get to the students at young age and tell them what the jobs are really like is as important.

Nic:
Yeah, and you know it's one of those things that you're thinking back like okay what what influenced me as a kid, you know like growing up near the mountains, growing up with a creek in our backyard is you know is definitely helpful, right like that was something that I thought of as really cool and I love being there. I love being part of that natural environment but you know, the craziest thing, honestly, the thing that got me was the movie Free Willy, that's, that was it, you know, if I'm dating myself a bit but there but, like, it just, you know, I was like, Oh my gosh, whales are so cool. And, you know, like, the harsh reality of what that industry is like now we've seen you know Blackfin coming out and all that but you know it was weird because that was really really pivotal for me and I just became obsessed with animals from that point forward, and I really just kind of ran with it, you know, and, yeah, it's just, it's interesting how those things come together and, you know, some people have mentors, you know some people, you know, just get. I don't know if I really ever had one like one like you know scientist mentor growing up, like when I was in middle school, in high school, it's just good at science, you know, so I just kind of was like okay I'll keep doing this, I guess. And then, yeah, so we could do, like I said grad school and definitely several, and that was a lot of fun, but it was different, you know, I guess everybody's a little different so you're going to get different ways.

Laura:
Sure, I mean I grew up in suburbs, and I even in my, like I said in undergrad I took natural sciences for non majors and I failed wasn't interested that had not been turned on yet so it is different. Everyone has a different path for sure what to do and different things like yeah there was definitely no streams or anything in my backyard there was down the street a retention ditch that some of my friends decided to canoe through just to see where it would go right yeah exactly city. Oh wow, that's crazy, and lots of it's like been restored now and stuff. Yeah, there's still a lot of birds, they would catch fish in that creek. Yeah, but it was it was not like what was in your backyard, I'm sure.

Nic:
Right, well yeah, you know, but there's still some extreme value and then maybe it's different and that's that's a good thing too, but like, it's funny that the kids did ask me like, yeah, they asked me, like if I had to talk to people all the time. And my job because I you know I said you know I, what I do, I have to talk to the public a lot and they're like, What do you have to be an environmental scientist and talk.

So I just asked him, you know, like, it's like, well, if you're looking for species do you have to do you have to have a long conversation with anybody. No, no, it's like okay, well there you go, there are definitely parts of the job. There are definitely things that you can do, where you don't have to do that, but it was really like super adorable question you're like, Oh, wow. Yeah, yeah, you do not have to be you don't have to have charisma, you don't have to have any of that you just have to enjoy what you do, that's really, that's great.

Laura:
Cool, let's get to our interview. All right.

Nic:
Hello there listeners and welcome back to EPR. Today we are joined by Amanda Roberts partner and Chief Marketing Strategist for Avid Core, a woman and minority owned strategic communications company ready thank you so much for being here.

Amanda:
Thanks for having me.

Nic:
Yeah, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do for Avid Core.

Amanda:
Avid Core was founded last year in 2020, and we, my business partner Virginia Quiambao Arroyo, had this vision of a minority owned company that could really help organizations revamp their public engagement and outreach efforts. And so, it was something that had been in the works for a while, we launched in 2020 and then the pandemic happened, and the first thing we thought is, is this a good time to be going out on our own. And we did some research and realize that it's never really a good time to launch a business or it's always a good time to launch a business, and you'd be surprised some of the companies that have been successful that have been launched in, recessions, like Uber was launched in the 2008 recession. And so, I mean I'm optimistic that we will be successful. Already we are working with organizations at the federal and local level, helping them revamp their communication strategies to reach the general public, and how this applies to your audiences that a lot of our work is environmentally focused, it's around the NEPA processes, getting the public engaged in environmental outreach, and helping you know helping organizations, hear from the public about what they want in their project.

Laura:
Awesome. That sounds like good work and you know, the challenge over 2020 and the changes that have happened, everyone is kind of revamping how they speak to the public, and present themselves so I could see the need for your company, and the services that you provide. No, but it had to still have been a very scary time to start in 2020 How long have you been planning before that, and, you know, did you have some deciding factors whether you were going to go or not go or was it just like this is the time and now we're going to do it.

Amanda:
Yeah, so this has been years in the making. And, you know, actually we, we, Virginia had clients telling her, you should go out on your own, you should start your own business. And then she approached me and, and we had been working together for about 15 years before we decided to go out on our own and formed this entity. We started operating in January, and we didn't publicly launch until April. We had all these plans for a big in person launch, and that has to be all scrapped. And, but, in some ways it's been a blessing in disguise because a lot of the things that might be a barrier to entry for new business, it doesn't exist now so we don't have to worry about the overhead of rent. Right, so we never, we never had office space, and so that's a huge commitment and you need funding for that. We don't have to worry about that. We also aren't investing in things that you would normally invest in as new business, we're not printing a lot of things we don't even have business cards yet.

We don't meet people in person, right, so, so a lot of the things that you might think, is a challenge for new business we're not we're not faced with an in COVID time. And then we've learned that there are organizations out there that specialize in some of the HR administrative functions that we've, we work with so we can focus on our technical expertise that may can help with the business operations. I guess the big message is that, what I'm trying to say is if any of your listeners are thinking about starting their own business. I'm happy to talk to you about it, but also, it's something that you should seriously consider and don't let a pandemic stuff stop you.

Laura:
Consider it a challenge or an opportunity.

Nic:
Exactly. And you touched on this a little bit but, you know, public engagement really is a pretty big component of the NEPA process and it's also not always the first thing environment professionals gravitate towards or want to do so I'm curious like where did your interest in public communications come from.

Amanda:
Well I've always been ever since. Really high school I've always been wanting to be a part of the news, basically I wanted to know what was going on. I was part of my high school newspaper in college I studied communications and outreach, and ever since then I've worked in the communications and outreach field. I wanted to originally be a journalist, and then I saw kind of where the trends were going there and I thought, hey, instead of reporting the news, maybe I can help organizations become the news. And so, I went into public relations did a little bit of media relations, And then just being in the DC area, everything is government. So then my career kind of took a turn to focusing on federal agencies and helping them communicate with the general public. And I think when a lot of people go into the public relations field they want to do the kind of work that I'm doing, which is getting the community involved, to helping them helping organizations make decisions based on community input.

Nic:
Yeah. You know, it's a good point, like you have to wear, and you also have to wear quite a few hats, you know, when you do work in communications, understand the nuances of the project. Almost as well as the PMs if not better, you have to manage people on a project team, and the public, and then you have to be really really adaptable, because no matter what your plan is. It can change. And so how do you balance all that.

Amanda:
Yeah, I think it takes lots of experience, and I was actually just having this conversation yesterday where a lot of people think communications is so intuitive. It's so easy it's like I just tell people what I'm doing. And it is much more complex than that you have to understand, you have to really get into your audience's mindset and understand how they like to receive information you have to understand what resonates with them because you telling them in technical terms what you're trying to achieve, will probably go any depending on who you're talking about if it's the general public, it may just go right over their head and it will not translate to something that they can actually take action on. But if you're talking to other environmental professionals, it's probably just fine.
And so knowing like knowing that piece and being able to pivot is really important.

Laura:
Yeah, it sounds like you do a lot of public speaking.

Amanda:
I don't I help my clients do.

Laura:
Do you have to correct them or help them at all.

Amanda:
Yeah, yeah, actually we just at Avid Core We just launched a media training that is extremely helpful for talking to the media but also just general public speaking, it focuses on how to be concise and get your messages across and then also just little nuances of working with journalists and the media. Yeah.

Laura:
That's great. I know that there's a big need for it. I know like sure we used to work in the field, we'd get approached by people and sometimes media and you're like, I don't think I'm qualified to talk to you. People need to retry yeah I say when they are approached.

Amanda:
Yeah and I've become experts at saying like, I'm not the person you should quote on that, you should talk to my client.

Laura:
Right. So what does good public engagement look like?

Amanda:
Yeah, I've been thinking a lot about this in relation to the 2021 Oscar nominees. My husband actually does a podcast as well it's called The Cleverest Good Boys. And as part of that podcast, He, he watches all of the Oscar nominees. And so, as his spouse I am constantly exposed to all of the media that he is watching, and for me, watching these movies, I start to think about the parallels to the work that I'm doing and it may not seem obvious, some of the nominees here, like how does that relate to public involvement for environmental professionals.  But I will, I will tell you.

So the first one that came to mind was the Trial of the Chicago Seven, and, this movie is focused around the importance of having a safe place for protest and expression of First Amendment rights. And often times the environmental planning process is that space that the general public uses to express their support or opposition for a project. So we'll see, often with the NEPA process, and public comment that people rally around these public comment periods to either, you know, support or oppose the project, and we can see meetings become contentious and attract protests, and I've had a lot of experience in working with agencies, helping them develop security plans to make sure that these, these public participation processes are safe for everyone involved, and that everyone can participate safely. So, I mean one of the things that we sometimes recommend if we know that there's a protest being organized around the process is that we, we actually suggest that the client reach out to protest organizers and just understand what they're planning, make sure that they have that space to communicate so things don't escalate and that things are coordinated so that they can have their, their time to express their First Amendment rights, and that they're done so safely, but also everyone can participate in the process whether or not they agree with the people who are rallying.

Laura:
You know, I know that sometimes public meetings go off no problem whatever but get tell us some of your nightmares.

Amanda:
Yeah. Yeah and actually they haven't been nightmares because we've had those plans in place, but we have had people come in, chanting, asking for, you know, the trend in recent years of public involvement, at least the public meetings have been this open house style, meeting instead of the town hall style where you know you have three minutes of the mic. The open house style meeting, you have stations and people can go and then they write their comments or they orally, tell that to somebody who's typing it out, And that's gotten a lot of opposition for people who want to grandstand, and we've had meetings where, you know, people will come in and start chanting We want to hearing we want to hearing, and in our experience, if we've let people do that, and then within like 10 minutes, usually it dies down and then people just end up participating in the process having conversations.

There was one time where that did not happen where the people were very savvy. They knew what our ground rules were they knew that sound amplification devices were not allowed. They knew that there wasn't going to be a stage, but they brought in, they brought in a milk crate into the meeting room. They had one person stand on top, and then they did the people mic so people would, the person would talk and then everyone else would have to repeat what that person said so it amplified that person's voice, and they just cycled out, actually several hours, and it was up to the government official to decide whether or not to shut it down, And they decided to let it proceed. And I think that was a little bit controversial, with the staff because that was not part of the plan. However, I think it was, everybody was safe, and they did, you know, end peacefully, there's been no situation in which we've had to. While we've had security president, there's really been no situation in which meetings that I've participated in that we've had to have people escorted out or anything like that usually you just, you know, you pull the person aside and say hey you know these are our ground rules. We really need you to be respectful of those ground rules or we'll have to ask you to leave, and people want to be there, they want to make sure their voices, part of the process so they, they listen.

Nic:  
It's funny you say that too because you know when you have those kinds of projects that people are really really passionate about, which is not often or, but it does happen and you know you get those. You have to get you know, 10s of 1000s of comments I know I know you have. And so, so what is a really effective strategy for handling that large volume of public interest?

Amanda:
Well, you know, it's surprising and how that translates to in person engagement so I don't know if you're asking about how to handle like a large amount of comments because that's one thing, but handling a large crowd is a completely different thing. And there's been situations in which we've had hundreds of people show up at public meetings and then there's situations where you've had like two or three.

And I think it's just a matter of, you know, knowing what your topic is monitoring what the public is saying about it, we knew we had a meeting down in North Carolina that I think had about 600 people, and it was open house style so it was never in a situation where there was like a fire code violation or anything like that we knew people who were cycling in and out.

And so everyone was able to participate. We did have, we did have a line at one point, but we had, we had good participation and just you know, good planning, make sure that everyone can participate in person. Now when you're talking about lots of comments, you also needs to have good processes in place, and going, now that the trend is over the last year just put everything online, that's getting a little bit easier to manage because there are really good technology and tools out there to help manage public comments, and some of them are off the shelf, you can just plug them into your your system, other you know other environmental organizations or firms they have custom tools that they have built, and so it's all very easy if it's done electronically, and so limiting, eliminating that handwritten or mailed comment has actually sped things up, even though it is a lot it's still a lot to sort through and process and read that part doesn't change.

Laura: 
How do you handle getting access to people who don't have access to the internet and disabilities to be able to produce their comments as well?

Amanda:
Yeah, that's another thing that relates back to the Oscar nominees so there's, there were two movies that were nominated that focused on disabilities. One of them was Crip Camp, and that was about the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the second was The Sound of Metal, and both of those have been were really eye opening to me as a public involvement for professional to make sure that people are able to process the information that we're providing, you know with American the with Crip Camp, they focused a lot of physical disabilities so in my mind I'm thinking, you know, are my meetings accessible can people with wheelchairs, get there. Is it accessible by public transportation, and those kinds of things. And then with Sound of Metal. This was one that it looks at a drummer who's lost a significant amount of hearing to the point that it was essentially deaf.
 
And, from that perspective, it made me think about how, you know, how you need to make sure that your information is accessible to everyone, even those invisible disabilities also on a personal level I used to date a guitarist in a metal band, so I've been to many metal shows and not worn a protective hearing so I did that.

Laura:
I often wonder how I can still hear anything.

Nic:
I've got one good ear.

Laura:
Have you had any projects where it started out like you know the mobs are angry and then ended peaceably and then how you know what were the keys and making that transition?

Amanda:
Yeah, I think a lot of the projects that we have where, where there is significant opposition to projects. It can be easy to make an issue black and white. And then it's really easy to oppose something, but then when you get into the meeting room you're having the conversations with the experts, and you're hearing kind of the challenges that you're working with, and everything that you're trying to balance in terms of development, and making sure that there's not significant impacts to the environment I think once people understand all of the nuances that you're working with, with that project, then you'll see like the light bulb go off and say well I still don't. I think there's better ways, but I get why you're doing it you know like I get that we need, you know we need development, but maybe not this development.

Nic:
Yeah sure, and it's, Yeah, I think you'll never get 100% satisfaction from the public, it's impossible to do. But it's a really good point. You want to make sure that they're doing that.

Amanda:
And NEPA  and especially our clients are not there to convince anyone, One way or the other. It's really to help them understand kind of the challenges that the agency is looking at, and helping them, helping the public understand what the agency is evaluating, and then equipping them with the tools they need to provide the agency with good feedback.

Nic:
Yeah, for sure. Have you ever had feedback from the public that actually resulted in changes to a project?

Amanda:
Oh, certainly. Yeah, I mean, that's one of the things that I don't think people realize when they participate in these projects if you are providing such that feedback, it really is considered in the review process and I have seen changes made as a result of the comments that have been submitted from the public. The key is that you actually need to provide that data, or significant recommendations, you can't just say I don't like it, because that's not going to result in any change and there's actually people who want to hear that you don't like it. That's your congressional representative but the environmental planning process is not that, not unfortunately not that place, because a lot of times, the agency is not in a position to stop a project, they're only in the position to make recommendations to reduce those impacts.

Nic:
Yeah, I mean I wish I could get rid of the, I don't like this comments is that when you get 10,000 comments like 9000 of them are almost that. Yeah, it's a very good point. And one other thing that I really like about Avid Core, you know, communications, is a ongoing day to day process, right, and you guys, developed a blog, and it totally fits in the spirit of this show, right, like it's designed to kind of give people insight into who your team is and what your values are, so what was your inspiration for that? How did you get that started?

Amanda:
Yeah, well, we wanted to the week we launched in kind of a frenzy we had been operating for four months. And we knew we needed to start telling people about who we were. So we put up our website kind of quickly for communications firm that specializes in, in helping other people develop websites. We did ours up pretty quickly and though we knew that in order to get better search engine results we needed fresh content. So we came up with the ideas the Outer Core blog which focuses on who we are as a company that also what you know what we do for our clients and our hope is that it would attract people who like to work for fun companies like ours, but also that it provides tips and tricks to clients who might be thinking about how they might want to be changing their communications efforts. So the other goal of that blog is to really provide good help for people as well.

Nic:
Yeah, which is just great. So, I love it. Keep it up. Don't ever stop now it's not you started can't. Before we get, we're almost done. But before we get you out of here. I know you're also into morel hunting, which I initially read as moral Wow. Yeah, so I got some morel hunting excuse me and I was like, Oh, so you're hunting for ethical reasons like these deer are overpopulated and we've got to do something about it. Right, that's how I had to I read it but so what is Morel hunting.

Amanda:
Okay, so last year during the pandemic, as lockdown the starting of two small children, and I needed something to do with them. They at that time they were saying don't go to playground. Don't go inside anywhere. I mean with two small children, you need something to do so we started doing all of these nature walks, and on one of those nature walks my daughter pointed to  something on the ground and she's like, What is that, I was like, Oh that's a mushroom, don't touch it. It's yuck.

But let me, let me, let me make this a learning exercise so I googled Northern Virginia mushrooms, and I saw that it was not just any mushroom, it was a morel. And then I got really excited because I had seen an episode of Bob's Burgers, where Bob is obsessed with these mushrooms. Yeah, so I started Googling and looking into it. They're super rare, they can't be cultivated so you can only forage them, and they can be, you know, they can go for, like, 20-$25 a pound, and they've got this great umami flavor so it's something that can't be easily replicated. So, in the culinary world is highly sought after. And I just found it. My daughter just walking down this path. So I foraged them and cooked them up, it was, it was great and now I've been obsessed, it's now again Morel season is last from March to May, by the time this airs it'll probably have been passed, if you're in the Northern Virginia region, but it's really exciting. Starting forging and primetime season right down there excited to hit the trails this weekend.

Nic: 
So great.

Laura:
That's fun. Yeah, they do up here in Syracuse in central New York they forage for a lots of different kinds of things and the morels as well they're kind of like the bell shaped with like a spongy texture or something. Is that the right there.

Amanda:
Yeah honey comb and what's the good thing about morels is they're a great starter mushroom because there. There are false morels, but they're pretty. It's pretty hard to mistake, there's not many, many mushrooms that look like the morel, and so they're a pretty safe bet. If you're foraging for those right because you know

Laura:
I'm always afraid I'm gonna pick something and make a mistake.

Nic:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly.

Amanda:
That's why I was like it's yuck.

Laura:
That's how I feel about most mushrooms are very mushrooms.

Nic:
It's a texture thing for me, it's like absolutely for sure.

Laura:
So glad to hear it, maybe I'll brave into trying one this year, I think our Morel hunting season is a little bit later. So anyway, that is all the time we have for today so thank you so much for, for being here with us. Is there anything else that you would like to share or tell people how to get in touch with you before we end.

Amanda:
Yeah, thanks for having me. And, again, my company is Avid Core we specialize in communications and outreach, if you are looking at revamping your communication strategy you want to chat about starting a business, feel free to reach out to me. My contact information is on our site which is avid-core.com.

Laura:
Okay, perfect, thank you so much for being here, Amanda.

Amanda:
Awesome, thanks yeah thanks for having me. Bye.

Nic:
That's our show. I want to thank Amanda Robert so much for joining us today. It was really good to hear her perspective on public involvement, and it's just a really really interesting topic, so I'm glad we got to talk to her about that, but please be sure to check us out next friday. You know every Friday we love that you guys are listening, so please check us out, keep checking us out. Don't forget to subscribe.

Laura:
Bye

Nic:
See you everybody.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

Shout outs
Nic and Laura talk about giving back to the community
Interview with Amanda Roberts starts
Amanda talks about public engagement
Amanda discusses marketing strategies
Morel hunting