Practitioner Profile (Ben Allen): “If People Don’t Want to Do It, It’s Not Going to Change Anything, so I Work with People”
Ben Allen combines expert knowledge with vital local knowledge in his work with communities. He sees that the “expert” status held by scientists—and scientists’ detachment from the people impacted by their research—often undermines progress. Ben finds that collaborating with landholders is the most effective way to approach issues; farmers contribute valuable information about their community and the history that shaped it. Ben makes it a priority to meet landholders in their homes, even if it means driving 13 h. He seeks to conduct applied research that will be directly relevant and useful to the people with whom he is working. This reflects his belief that by working together, community members and scientists can address invasive species issues in much more effective ways than either can do on their own.