It’s official: The route is approved and the website is live.

San Antonio’s March for Science is set for Earth Day, April 22, and will kick off at 10 a.m. in San Pedro Park. Marchers returning to the rally point in the park will be able to educate themselves through keynote speeches, science activities, and information tables, according to the march’s organizer Matt Poarch, a science teacher at a local junior school.

Volunteers can join the Facebook group for the local march here.

San Antonio’s march is part of a “global call to support and safeguard the scientific community,” as the March for Science champions publicly funded and communicated science as an integral part of everyday life.

San Antonio's March for Science will start 10 a.m. in San Pedro Park.
San Antonio’s March for Science will start 10 a.m. in San Pedro Park. Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio March for Science

The Trump administration’s rejection of scientific data supporting climate change, its removal of the word “science” from the Environmental Protection Agency’s mission statement, and restrictive policies limiting federal scientists from communicating research results are just some of the measures that spurred two scientists to take action.

The idea for a “march for science” was born from a January tweet by Caroline Weinberg, a public health scientist and science writer in New York City. Jonathan Berman, a UT Health San Antonio postdoctoral fellow, then created the Twitter handle @ScienceMarchDC. Overwhelming numbers of scientists and science supporters have since signed up to participate in the March for Science planned for Earth Day.

The initiative may have started as a scientists’ march on Washington, D.C., but has since spread to cities across the U.S. and the world. Organizers periodically update an interactive map that shows the locations for all planned marches – 428 at press time.

You can follow efforts for each location’s march via the individual Facebook groups.

The San Antonio March for Science website includes a call to action to support scientific research: “The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.”

Since February, the momentum behind the March for Science has been growing quickly, with many organizations offering support. Some 100 science organizations such as the American Association for the Advancement of Science support the March for Science.

“At the national level this took off like wildfire,” Poarch said. “In San Antonio, there are so many scientists working on issues with a global reach, the planning took hold here as well.”

Matt Poarch, organizer for SA March for Science
Science teacher Matt Poarch is the organizer for San Antonio’s March for Science. Credit: Courtesy / Matt Poarch

Poarch explained the unifying goal behind the march as one that cuts across many scientific disciplines.

“One of the goals of the march is to help everyone understand this is more than just what guys in white lab coats do. It’s much more than that,” Poarch added. “One of our fundamental principles in science is research done with integrity – knowledge and advancement made through science is fundamental for the common good.”

Experienced planners from the March for Women held in January are sharing lessons learned with the March for Science organizers, who use Slack to coordinate with teams behind science marches in other cities “to ensure our message is coordinated and clear messaging is consistent,” Poarch said.

As local organizers continue to seeking more local partners in reaching out to like-minded organizations and universities, there are plans to continue rallying efforts after the march is completed.

“We hope our message comes across – science is important to everyone’s lives,” Poarch said. “Uninhibited science is under great threat right now, so it’s critically important for everyone interested in science to speak out that science matters.

“A scientifically literate population is the foundation for a successful democracy.”

Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science, and veteran affairs. She won the Texas Veterans Commission Media Excellence Awards for her 2016 Veterans Day story "Life as a Veteran: What Veterans...