Building A Better Fieldwork Future

Preventing Sexual Harassment and Assault in Field Settings

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About the Program

Fieldwork is an important and often necessary component of many scientific disciplines, yet research suggests that it presents a high-risk setting for incidents of sexual harassment and assault. The Building a Better Fieldwork Future (BBFF) Program involves a 90-minute workshop developed by a team of field researchers at UC Santa Cruz. It identifies the unique risks posed by fieldwork and offers a suite of evidence-based tools for field researchers, instructors, and students to prevent, intervene in, and respond to sexual harassment and assault. Through a series of practical intervention scenarios, this workshop guides participants on how to be an active and engaged bystander, how to report incidents, and how to plan field settings to minimize risk. Armed with these tools, participants can play a role in ensuring that field settings are safer, more equitable, and more welcoming for the next generation of field scientists.

History of the Workshop

In 2018, with support from the Thoreau Foundation and CAMINO at UC Santa Cruz, we developed a workshop, Building a Better Fieldwork Future: Preventing Sexual Harassment and Assault in the Field, that prepares students, field researchers, instructors and staff to maintain their and each other’s well-being in the field by addressing difficult areas such as avoiding and navigating harassment in the field (for both men and women, as targets, witnesses who can intervene, and unwitting or witting perpetrators) and understanding appropriate boundaries around team member relationships. This workshop has been delivered to over 710 participants and garnered significant national attention and praise. According to preliminary survey results, participants report greater knowledge about and confidence in intervening, preventing, responding to, and reporting sexual harassment and assault in field settings after taking the workshop (Cronin et al., submitted).

Program Founders

Ph.D. Candidate, UC Santa Cruz

Melissa Cronin

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Assistant Professor, UC Santa Cruz

Roxanne Beltran

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Professor, UC Santa Cruz

Erika Zavaleta

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology


Undergraduate, UC Santa Cruz

Mia Buak

Legal Studies

Undergraduate, UC Santa Cruz

Olivia Wilms

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Undergraduate, UC Santa Cruz

Raquel Lozano

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Your contribution directly supports our program and outreach. 

Partners & Supporters

Contact us for more information, to schedule a training, or how to support our program. We are grateful to our supporters and collaborators.