May 2012

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
May 24, 2012
Washington, DC

 

Members Present:
Steward Pickett President
Scott Collins President-Elect
Terry Chapin Past-President
Sharon Collinge VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg VP for Science
Leslie Real VP for Finance
Margaret Lowman VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham Secretary
Mimi Lam Member-at-Large
Andrea Lloyd Member-at-Large (via Skype)
Sonia Ortega Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs Chief Financial Officer
Nadine Lymn Director, Public Affairs
Cliff Duke Director, Science
Michelle Horton Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin Managing Editor
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

 

Thursday, May 24, 2012, 9:00 - Meeting called to order by President Steward Pickett

I. ROLL CALL AND AGENDA

A. Adopt Agenda
The agenda was adopted after reordering several items to accommodate schedules.

B. Ratification of Votes – Minutes, November 2011
Deborah Goldberg moved and Terry Chapin seconded a motion to ratify the vote to approve the minutes. All aye.

II. REPORTS

A. Report of the President
President Steward Pickett presented his report. He summarized efforts of the Ecology for a New Generation Committee. He also discussed the need for the Society to be adaptive, and in particular encourages the society to use the work of the Ecology for a New Generation Committee to help the Society adapt to a rapidly changing world. He reported on continuing efforts on the Earth Stewardship Initiative begun under Mary Power’s tenure as President, including an upcoming workshop. Past-President Terry Chapin described a recent Sustainability Summit with themes that are very similar to those of the Earth Stewardship Initiative, particularly with respect to cross-disciplinary partnerships.

B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff
Executive Director Katherine McCarter noted that detailed reports from staff are contained in the Board Book. She introduced Michelle Horton, a long-time staff member, who has been appointed Director of Administration and Meetings.

Nadine Lymn mentioned a number of recent activities, including a recent meeting of the Coalition for National Science Funding. She noted that the Society will participate in a coalition to try to head off possible cuts in discretionary federal spending in January 2013. She also noted that social media efforts are accelerating, including use of Facebook and Twitter.

Managing Editor David Baldwin summarized highlights from the Publication Office. Issues are increasing in size, but appearing with some minor delays.

Sue Silver described a new initiative to produce online-only special issues (in addition to the normal 10 issues a year). Five papers from the recent Emerging Issues conference will appear in consecutive issues next year (rather than collected as a separate Special Issue).

Michelle Horton reported that the Portland meeting is on track to be record-setting.

Cliff Duke described efforts on the Emerging Issues conference series. Proposals for the next conference are due June 1, 2012. He briefly touched on continuing efforts on sustainability of research infrastructure.

Liz Biggs noted the results of the Audit. There was also an NSF review of procedures. It is likely that this will result in expanded written policies and procedures.

Teresa Mourad summarized highlights from SEEDS, including winding up a large grant from NSF to support field trips and meetings. She has met with NSF program officers to discuss new funding opportunities. Finding sustainable funding for the program remains a major challenge. She reported on work with partners to develop a digital library for ecological education.

C. Financial Update
Katherine McCarter distributed the third quarter financial statement. Third quarter actuals overall are running well above budget. Subscription income has been lower than budgeted, reflecting long-term trends. Manuscript charges have also been below budget reflecting an overly optimistic projection for Ecosphere’s publication fees. But printing costs have also been below budget (as more subscriptions are online only). Subscriptions represent 40% of budgeted revenue, and staff are always considering ways to sustain this source of revenue, and to offset expected long-term declines in institutional subscriptions. Expenses have been running ~ 2% below budget.

III. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS
A. Report of the Audit Committee
Audit Committee chair Charles Canham summarized the Audit Committee report. The auditors issued a clean, unqualified audit of both the Society’s finances and administration of federal awards. Sharon Collinge moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded approving the report of the audit committee. All aye.

B. Proposed FY 2012-2013 ESA Budget

1. Budget and Assumptions

Katherine McCarter summarized the process for developing the budget, and distributed the draft budget and budget narrative for fiscal year 2012-2013. The budget is presented to the Council for approval at each year’s annual meeting. Liz Biggs presented details of the budget. Budget highlights include anticipated strong revenue from the Portland meeting, and continued declines in member subscriptions, in part because of online availability of our journals in many institutions. As a result of a Council vote in 2007 that instituted periodic increases, membership dues are proposed to increase slightly next year. Subscription prices are also budgeted to increase slightly.
There was extensive discussion of the stipends provided to journal editors, including requests from two editors for an increase in the level of support. The Publications Committee will be asked to consider this issue in time to consider changes to the current budget proposal.

2. Proposed Board Strategic Initiative

The proposed budget includes $10,000 for board strategic initiatives. Discussion of possible uses for the funds included activities proposed by the Ecology for a New Generation Committee. Other proposals included activities related to diversity, the recent Sustainability Summit, and the Earth Stewardship Initiative.

 

C. Investment Policy Revision
Les Real summarized an effort to revise the existing (May 2000) guidelines for investment of restricted funds. The guidelines have been thoroughly revised and updated, providing benchmarks for performance. The new Investment Policy Statement was presented in the Board Book. There was discussion of the issue of the degree to which the investment guidelines should focus on socially responsible companies or funds. The Board will setup a conference call with the fund managers to discuss this issue at the August 2012 meeting.

D. Publications Issues
1. Publications Program Review
David Baldwin and Sue Silver presented the 3-year review for the publications program. David reviewed the mission of the publications, and the history of the journals. The flagship journal Ecology dates to 1920 as a quarterly publication, with Monographs following in 1931. Sixty years later Ecological Applications was launched (also first as a quarterly publication). David summarized the current status of the journals, noting that the backlog for publication of Ecology has been eliminated. There has been a significant increase in the total number of pages published by the journals in the past 20 years, although the number has been relatively stable since 2005. Perhaps the most significant accomplishment of the past 3 years has been the successful launch of Ecosphere.

Sue Silver summarized the history of Frontiers, launched in 2003 with significant financial support from the Mellon and Packard Foundations. The launch coincided with a significant increase in Society membership through 2007, at which time total membership peaked. More than half of the authors of recent manuscripts are from countries other than the U.S. Surveys suggest that over 75% of readers still view the journal in print form rather than online. Submission rates have increased steadily since the launch, and since the number of pages published has remained fairly stable, acceptance rates have declined accordingly. The impact factor for the journal has increased steadily, and ranks very high within the environmental science and ecology categories. Institutional subscriptions have lagged well below expectations when the journal was launched. Classified advertising revenue has plunged since 2008, with much of the drop attributed to placement of job ads in Ecolog.

There was discussion of issues related to open access. Steward Pickett proposed that we create a statement summarizing the Society’s position on open access for dissemination to members.

2. Joint Journal ESA/ESC (Goldberg/McCarter) pg.43
Katherine McCarter provided background on a proposal from the Ecological Society of China to launch a new online-only, open-access journal jointly with ESA. Deborah Goldberg presented a draft of a proposal from ESA that would establish a steering committee to work with ESC to work out details for the new journal.

Meg Lowman moved and Les Real seconded a motion to establish a steering committee to develop a formal plan for the journal. The plan would then be submitted to the Governing Board for approval. There was discussion about areas of potential overlap with existing ESA journals, and the opportunity to use this project to build stronger ties with ecologists in China. All aye.

E. Science Mid-Term Program Review
Cliff Duke summarized the mid-term review for the Science program. Details were provided in the Board Book. The program is now 20 years old, and originated as the office of the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative. He described projects in three general program areas: (1) “Advancing Ecological Science”, (2) “Ecology for Community”, and (3) “Solutions for Sustainability”.

F. Contingent Faculty Survey
In 2011, the ESA began a discussion about how to support contingent faculty and help them achieve their professional goals. At the Annual Meeting in Austin, a subcommittee of the Education and Human Resources Committee was charged with formulating a survey to determine the needs of past, current, and potential members of the ESA who hold contingent positions. The subcommittee consisted of Ned Fetcher, Mimi Lam, and Carmen Cid.

Mimi Lam presented the proposed survey. Board members suggested a number of changes to specific questions. The issue was referred back to the committee for further revision.

G. Annual Meeting Issues

1. 2014 Program Chair

Scott Collins moved and Terry Chapin seconded the appointment of Hal Balbach as 2014 Program Chair. All aye.

2. 2013 Annual Meeting Theme

Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded the designation of “Sustainable trajectories: learning from the past and shaping the future” as the theme for the 2013 annual meeting, with the suggestion to Debra Peters that she consider changing the word “trajectories” to “pathways”. All aye.

H. Development Committee Report
Les Real summarized the report from a meeting (via conference call) of the Development Committee. Committee members Les Real (chair), Carol Brewer, Norm Christensen, Kay Gross, Jim MacMahon, Anne Pringle, and Dov Sax participated in the meeting, and were joined by Katherine McCarter from the staff. The committee considered a recent proposal to initiate a major campaign to raise approximately $1 million. A survey of member giving at other scientific societies revealed that this is rarely a significant source of funding, and the committee concluded that a campaign of that magnitude was not feasible for ESA at this time. The committee considered a number of proposals to design fundraising efforts in association with the Centennial in 2015. The Board recommended that the Development Committee should use the Centennial as a focus to raise monies for the Fund for the Future and suggested that the Development Committee might need to coordinate with the Centennial Committee.

The meeting was adjourned for the day at 5 pm

 

 

 

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
May 25, 2012
Washington, DC

Members Present:
Steward Pickett President
Terry Chapin Past-President
Scott Collins President-Elect
Sharon Collinge VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg VP for Science
Charles Canham Secretary
Mimi Lam Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega Member-at-Large
Andrea Lloyd Member-at-Large (via speakerphone)

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs Director, Finance
Cliff Duke Director, Science
Michelle Horton Director, Administration and Meetings
Nadine Lymn Director, Public Affairs
Teresa Mourad Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin Managing Editor
Sue Silver Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

Members Absent: Margaret Lowman, Leslie Real,

Friday, May 25, 2012

The board met in executive session from 8:00 – 9:00 am

III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)

I. Report of Ecology for a New Generation Committee
Sonia Ortega presented the report from the Ecology for a New Generation Committee. The committee consists of Krista Capp, Samir Doshi, Erica Fernandez, Peter Jorgesen, Kellen Marshall-Gillespie, Jorge Ramos, Colibri San Fiorenzo, Naupaka Zimmerman, and Sonia Ortega (chair), with Teresa Mourad as ESA staff liason. Sonia thanked Teresa Mourad for her efforts in support of the committee’s work, and Meg Lowman for hosting a meeting of the committee last fall. The committee provided a comprehensive list of proposals for engaging a new generation of ecologists. Recommendations covered (1) increasing new membership and retention of existing members, (2) mentoring, (3) integrating existing Society efforts to promote K-12 outreach and education, (4) multimedia engagement, (5) promoting new skills and career paths, (6) new efforts related to translational ecology and environmental justice issues, and (7) enhancements of international networks. The report also contained a detailed list of activities that could be implemented for the 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland, OR.

Michelle Horton summarized activities related to the Committee recommendations that will be implemented at the Portland meeting, particularly with respect to the Student Section. Discussion included the topic of exploring new formats for presentations at the annual meetings.
The Council meeting during the Annual Meeting might provide a forum in which to advance some of the Committee’s proposals, particularly with respect to encouraging new activities within Sections. Deborah Goldberg recommended that the report be distributed to Section officials for discussion at the Council meeting this August in Portland. In addition, the Committee’s request to review the ESA code of ethics as it relates to integrating research with the people and places where research is being conducted has been passed along to the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee for their consideration.

J. Update from Centennial Committee
The ESA Governing Board appointed members to the ESA Centennial Committee in 2011 to suggest activities and to begin coordinating plans for ESA‘s centennial celebration in 2015. Three ESA staff members (Cliff Duke, Nadine Lymn, and Teresa Mourad) from the Washington Office serve as ex officio members of the Committee to help in developing plans among the Science, Education and Diversity, and Public Affairs Offices. Mimi Lam was appointed as the liaison for the Governing Board on the Centennial Committee.

Alan Covich (chair) joined the meeting by phone to provide an update on the committee’s activities. This includes coordinating its efforts with a number of other Society committees, including the Program Committee, Historical Records Committee, Public Affairs Committee, and the Education and Diversity Committee. There will be a challenge in balancing activities related to the Centennial with the normal priorities and activities of an annual meeting. There is a plan to produce a video focused on the Centennial, and there was discussion of costs, audience, and format.

K. 2012 Regional Policy Award
The Regional Policy Award has been given since 2008. The Public Affairs Committee (PAC) selects the potential award winner from a list of candidates nominated by the Annual Meeting local host committee, regional ESA chapters, and Student or other ESA Sections.

Charles Canham moved and Terry Chapin seconded a motion to approve the recommendation from the Public Affairs Committee that the 2012 Regional Policy Award be presented to Ken Bierly of the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board. All aye.

L. Recommendations from the Nominations Committee (Chapin)
The Nominations Committee is chaired by Past President Terry Chapin. Members of the committee are Members-at-Large Mimi Lam, Andrea Lloyd, and Sonia Ortega. The additional members appointed by Past President Chapin are Elena Bennett, and Kathleen Weathers. Terry Chapin summarized the nominating process, emphasizing efforts to make it more transparent, and presented the slate of candidates for 2012 elections. This includes the positions of President-Elect, Vice President for Science, Secretary, Member-at-Large, and Board of Professional Certification (2 slots).

Scott Collins moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to approve the slate of candidates proposed by the Nominating Committee. All aye.

M. Recommendations from the Awards Committee
The Awards Committee, chaired by Alan Hastings, has provided its recommendations for the ESA-wide awards to be presented during the Scientific Plenary during the 2012 Portland Annual Meeting.

Deborah Goldberg moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve the slate with the exception of the Mercer and Honorary Member awards, with the request to the Awards Committee to recommend a single honoree for each of those two awards. All aye.

Katherine McCarter initiated a discussion of the nomination process, and efforts to reduce implicit bias in selection of nominees. Ideas include establishment of a “canvassing” committee” to expand the list of names considered for the awards.

The meeting was adjourned at noon.

November 2011

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board, 
November 17, 2011
Washington, DC

Members Present
Steward Pickett          President
Scott Collins               President-Elect
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg      VP for Science
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Margaret Lowman      VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham          Secretary
Mimi Lam                   Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega               Member-at-Large
Andrea Lloyd             Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Elizabeth Biggs           Director, Finance
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Members Absent:  Terry Chapin (joined via speakerphone for 1 hour)

Thursday, November 17, 2011, 9:00 - Meeting called to order by President Steward Pickett

I. Roll Call and Agenda

A. Adopt Agenda 
            Deborah Goldberg moved and Meg Lowman seconded a motion to approve the agenda.  All aye.

B. Ratification of Votes taken since August meeting

            1. Minutes, August 6-7, 2011 and August 12, 2011 
            Andrea Lloyd moved and Meg Lowman seconded a motion to ratify the vote to approve the minutes.  All aye.

II. Reports

A. Report of the President 
            President Steward Pickett reported that his highest priority for the year is to continue the Earth Stewardship Initiative, with a focus this year on science, particularly in reaching out to disciplines of urban design, urban planning and civil engineers.  He reported on efforts to secure funding from NSF for a workshop to advance these ideas.  Terry Chapin, Cliff Duke and Steward are taking the lead on that effort. 

            Steward also described his efforts to initiate a Presidential Conversation on Diversity, to emphasize the importance of this issue throughout Society activities.   This included developing linkages to the Earth Stewardship Initiative.  He also mentioned early efforts to address the topic of the role of ecology in interdisciplinary studies, and the degree to which such studies are constrained by institutional structures.

B. Report of the Executive Director and Staff

            The Governing Board book contains detailed reports from Executive Director Katherine McCarter and ESA staff.  Katherine highlighted progress on discussions with the Ecological Society of China about professional certification programs. The ESC has approached ESA about jointly supporting a new scientific publication.

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to appoint Les Real, Vice President for Finance, an official signer on our investment accounts and to give him the ability to make decisions on the reserve funds.  All Aye.

            Teresa Mourad gave an update on SEEDS.   The Packard Foundation has asked ESA to further develop a proposal for long-term sustainability of funding for SEEDS.   She mentioned an effort to secure funding for an NSF Research Coordination Network (RCN) focused on ecology education.

            Sue Silver highlighted new features planned for 2012 in Frontiers.  This includes a new series on ecological literacy.  There is a Citizen Science special issue planned for August 2012.  Frontiers was approached by the Dept. of Energy about a potential special feature based on material that DoE is developing for the National Climate Assessment.

            David Baldwin summarized the status of the journals.  Ecosphere continues to thrive, and submission rates have been high.  Submissions to the other journals have been at traditional levels.   The data mandate for Ecological Monographs appears to be working well.

            Liz Biggs reported that the annual audit has been completed.  The audit committee will have a phone meeting to review the audit once we receive it.  Our 2011 membership was up for the year.

            Nadine Lymn reviewed efforts of the Public Affairs program, including a recent congressional briefing on flood management.  ESA joined with AIBS to mobilize their members to write letters in support of restoring funding to NSF.

C. Financial Updates

  1. 1. First Quarter Financials

 

            Katherine McCarter reviewed revenue and expenses to date.  Revenue is running well above expenses, in part because annual meeting revenue occurs during the first quarter.

  1. 2. Investment Updates

 

            VP for Finance Les Real provided a first quarter investment summary.  Market fluctuations have affected the accounts, but not unexpectedly.

III. Discussion/Action Items

A. ESA Centennial Plans 
            
            1. Centennial Committee Update

            Katherine summarized the report from the Centennial Committee chaired by Alan Covich.  The committee held its first meeting in Austin, TX in August, 2011.  The committee has requested an extension of the deadline for presenting a final plan (currently May, 2012).  Sharon Collinge suggested that the Public Affairs program committee and staff should be involved in the planning, particularly to identify and reach audiences outside the Society membership.  It was suggested that Cliff Duke, Nadine Lymn and Teresa Mourad be added as ex-officio members of the Committee.

            Meg Lowman moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to extend the deadline for a formal report to the Governing Board to the time of the annual meeting in 2012, but request a progress report by the time of the May 2012 Governing Board meeting.  All aye.
            
            2. Funds for the Centennial

            Staff have proposed that funds be set aside to support activities associated with the Centennial.  One source would be from the Society’s annual allocation to the unrestricted reserve fund.  Andrea Lloyd moved that we create a Centennial Strategic Fund using allocations to the unreserved funds during the next two fiscal years to support strategic activities related to the centennial.  Les Real seconded.  All aye.
            
            3. EHRC Centennial Suggestions

            Meg Lowman summarized a meeting of the Education and Human Resources Committee focused on planning for the Centennial.  Their meeting focused on reaching out to diverse stakeholders, particularly in Washington.  The EHRC report will be provided to the Centennial Committee who will be developing proposals and priorities for activities related to the Centennial.

            4. Centennial Planning – D.C. Event

            Katherine McCarter summarized ideas generated by staff for events that could be held in Washington during the Centennial.  There was extensive discussion of how best to engage in policy debates, both in Washington and elsewhere.  Katherine McCarter noted that pursuing some of these ideas will require staff support. Staff were asked to see how a D.C. event could build on the Centennial.

            5. Fund for the Future – Centennial Plan

            Sonia Ortega and Katherine McCarter presented ideas to use the Centennial to leverage fundraising for the Fund for the Future.  They proposed a goal of raising $1 million by 2015, and summarized a formal development plan to meet the goal.   An expanded Development Committee would need to be involved in this effort, so the proposals will be forwarded to Development Committee Chair Les Real.  

B. EiC Review – Aaron Ellison

            The Publications Committee submitted their review of Ecological Monographs Editor-in-Chief Aaron Ellison, with a strong recommendation that he be reappointed for another 3-year term.   Andrea Lloyd moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to reappoint Aaron Ellison to a new 3-year term (January 2012-December 2014) as Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs.  All aye.  

            The Board would like to thank Aaron Ellison for his excellent work with the journal, and thank the Publication Committee for their thorough review.

C. Diversity Issues

            1. Diversity Recommendations from the Education and Human Resources Committee (EHRC)

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to recommend the change in the bylaws as proposed by the EHRC.  The intent of the amendment is to insure that Chairs of ESA Sections, Chapters, and Committees and the general membership will be solicited for nominations as part of the yearly nomination process. After discussion Deborah Goldberg moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to alter the proposal to modify the language of the second sentence in the proposal to eliminate the words “form this list”.  The amended motion was unanimously approved.  The recommendation will be forwarded to the Council for consideration at the next annual meeting.

            The EHRC also forwarded a proposal to allocate funding for a graduate student to examine historical trends in diversity within membership and meeting attendance.  There was discussion about limitations of current data available to the Society.  The proposal was tabled and EHRC was asked to develop a proposed diversity action plan for the Board’s consideration.

            2. Presidential Conversation on Diversity

            Steward Pickett provided an update of his efforts to initiate a Presidential Conversation on Diversity, as a means of highlighting the Society’s commitment to all of the dimensions of diversity. 

D. ESA and Technology 
Thet Oo, Associate Director for Information Technology, joined the meeting for a conversation on available technology and needs of Society activities.

E. Board of Professional Certification Recommendations

            Niki Nicholas, Chair of the Board of Professional Certification joined the meeting by speaker phone to discuss proposed changes in certification procedures.

            There were two proposals – to institute a minimum grade requirement for courses used to establish eligibility, and to require membership in ESA during the year that they become certified.

            Sharon Collinge moved and Les Real seconded the proposal that all courses used to meet certification must have a minimum grade of B minus.

            Deborah Goldberg moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded the proposal that newly certified or re-certified ecologists who are not members of the society be granted a free 1-year membership to start in January of the year following the date of certification or re-certification.  All aye.

F. Bylaws – EHRC Name Change

            Meg Lowman summarized a proposal to change the name of the Education and Human Resources Committee to the Committee on Diversity and Education.  There would be no change in the formal charge to the committee.  Andrea Lloyd moved and Charles Canham seconded the motion to recommend to the Council a change in the Bylaws to rename the EHRC “The Committee on Diversity and Education”.  All aye.  

G. SEEDS Leadership Certificate Program

            Teresa Mourad presented ideas for a system of coordinated partnerships that will support and reinforce a progression of career development opportunities from high school through professional employment, through a series of levels of certificate programs.  The overall program would significantly expand the reach and scope of SEEDS by encouraging other organizations to adopt SEEDS activities and approaches.   

H. EEB Chairs

            Deborah Goldberg gave an update on her initiative to organize a network of chairs of departments of ecology and evolutionary biology.  They distributed an initial questionnaire to chairpersons and got an enthusiastic response.  There was a similar response from the Governing Board.  There was discussion of how inclusive to be in the network for departments that are not readily classified as ecology and evolutionary biology.

Adjourned for the day at 5:00 pm

 

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board, 
November 18, 2011
Washington, DC

Members Present
Steward Pickett          President
Terry Chapin               Past-President (via speakerphone)
Scott Collins               President-Elect
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Deborah Goldberg      VP for Science
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Charles Canham          Secretary
Mimi Lam                   Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega               Member-at-Large
Andrea Lloyd             Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Cliff  Duke                  Director, Science 
Elizabeth Biggs           Director, Finance
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

            Members Absent:      Margaret Lowman

Friday, November 18, 2011

The board met in executive session from 8:30 – 9:00 am

III. Discussion/Action Items

I. Program Review – Public Affairs

            Nadine Lymn and Sharon Collinge led the three-year review of the multi-faceted Public Affairs program.   

J. Emerging Issues Conference – Brainstorming

            Cliff Duke led a discussion to the current structure of the Emerging Issues Conferences, with several suggestions for ways to modify the program, including expanding the program to accommodate smaller workshops and projects focused on specific outcomes such as publications or educational materials.   

K. SBI 20th Anniversary Celebration

            Deborah Goldberg initiated a conversation on plans for a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative during the 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland.  Ideas include a special session and a reception.

L. Ecology for a New Generation Committee

            Sonia Ortega gave an update on the work of the committee, including a detailed set of recommendations for activities to implement at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland.  There was broad support for the recommendations, and the staff is enthusiastic about implementing the ideas.  The Committee will have additional recommendations for the May Governing Board Meeting.

M. New Business

 

Meeting  adjourned at 11:30.  

ADJOURNMENT

August 2011

ESA Governing Board, 
August 6, 2011
Austin, TX

Members Present
Terry Chapin               President
Steward Pickett          President-Elect
Mary Power                Past President
Laura Huenneke          VP for Public Affairs
Rob Jackson                VP for Science
Bill Parton                   VP for Finance
Margaret Lowman      VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham          Secretary
Josh Schimel               Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega               Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science 
Elizabeth Biggs           Director, Finance
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Members Absent:  Andrea Lloyd

Guests Present:  Scott Collins, Les Real, Naupaka Zimmerman, Margaret Palmer (via speakerphone)

Saturday, August 6, 2011, 9:00 am.  Meeting called to order by President Terry Chapin.

I. Roll Call and Agenda (President Terry Chapin, Presiding)
 
A.  Ratification of Votes taken since May meeting
1. Minutes, May Meeting
Charles Canham moved and Mary Power seconded ratification of the vote taken by e-mail to approve the minutes of the May, 2011 meeting. All aye.

II.        Reports

A.  Report of the President 
President Terry Chapin summarized activities related to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, particularly with reference to events that will take place during the meetings in Austin.  He also reported on interactions with AGU on issues related to challenges in communicating about climate change.  Meetings earlier this year with religious groups led to a session to form a speakers bureau that could provide information to the religious community on environmental issues. An email was sent to all ESA members to solicit input on these initiatives.  Terry noted that in order to make the initiative successful it will be necessary to engage members outside of the Governing Board, particularly through the Sections.  He has written to all Section and Chapter chairs to ask about their willingness to get engaged on the initiative. 

B.  Report of the Executive Director and Staff 
Katherine McCarter encouraged all GB members to attend a meeting Tuesday morning from 7-8 am of grad students and ESA Leadership.  She noted that it was just 1 year ago that Ecosphere was launched, and that the first year has been very successful, with the publication meeting all expectations for quality, rapid publication, member acceptance and finances.  ESA journal impact factors have all improved in the past year.  ESA journals are all in the top 10% of all ISI journals, according to a recent analysis. 

Cliff Duke reported on activities of the Science Program, with updates on activities taking place during the meetings this week.  He summarized the status of the Emerging Issues conferences, and of the Issues in Ecology publication series. 

Nadine Lymn distributed the newly published “Ecologist’s Guidebook to Policy Engagement”.  VP for Public Affairs Laura Huenneke discussed the genesis of the publication.  It was motivated in part by requests from the Student Section for more guidance on how to engage effectively on policy issues, and the recognition that there is interest in policy engagement in many different arenas.   Nadine recognized Zoe Cardon’s efforts to get local Austin media interested in the meetings.

Elizabeth Biggs gave highlights on the financial status of the Society.  We ended the year in the black, and membership is up this year.  Details will be presented in the Financial Update later in the meeting.  Attendance at the Austin meeting is expected to be ~ 3500 – 3600.   

Sue Silver reported on a survey sent to ESA members about Frontiers.  There were lots of suggestions, but she feels there is a mandate to continue the general direction of the journal.  She is currently working on a Citizen Science special issue, highlighting ~ 10 citizen science projects to illustrate lessons learned.  She noted that she is now receiving unsolicited submissions for the Trails and Tribulations series, and feels that it is becoming a popular venue for describing insights into the life of field scientists.

Teresa Mourad summarized initiatives from the Education and Diversity Program, and activities planned during the meeting in Austin.  The SEEDS program continues to do well.   She reported on efforts to establish the EcoEd digital library of teaching materials.  

David Baldwin previewed details of the report of the publications program.  The publication backlog has been eliminated in all journals.  There are a number of special features planned.  The staff continues to make improvements and changes to the online tools for Ecosphere, including means of creating virtual “special features” based on keywords.  They are now sending out issue alerts for Ecosphere.  There is some concern that the number of submissions in the first half of 2011 may be slightly lower after an initial pulse at the end of 2010.  Efforts will be made to encourage additional submissions. David attended an initial meeting of Dryad in July in Vancouver.  Ecological Monographs requires that new manuscripts participate in the archive, and details have now been finalized to automate reminders sent to authors to deposit data.  He expects that we will want to revisit the issue of whether other ESA journals should participate.

C.  Financial Update

  1. Fourth Quarter Financials

Liz Biggs distributed an unaudited fourth quarter financial report, and Katherine McCarter gave an overview of the report.  Revenue has been above budget, and expenses were below budget, leading to a positive balance that will be allocated to reserves.  She noted that subscription revenue is down by ~ 2.5% for the year, a trend that has been noted in previous meetings.  This has been buffered to some degree by overseas subscriptions, particularly in Brazil and China.

  1. Investments

Bill Parton summarized the status of ESA investments.  The current investment strategy for the unrestricted net assets was adopted at a previous Governing Board meeting, and uses a conservative balance of bonds and equities.  The reserve funds use an even more conservative mix.  

D.  Earth Stewardship 
Terry Chapin led a discussion of the Earth Stewardship Initiative.  Mary Power focused during 2009-2010 on connections with other natural science organizations.  Terry Chapin has focused this past year on interactions with faith-based groups and social sciences, and Steward Pickett will concentrate on linkages to practitioners in the coming year.  He noted that we still have not identified a mechanism that can advance this initiative within the Society over time.  He suggested that Sections could be particularly important.  He noted a workshop at Duke University last year to define Earth Stewardship.  The new NSF synthesis center at the University of Maryland may provide a venue for future activities of the initiative.  Steward Pickett emphasized the benefits of continuity in the focus on the initiative among past, current, and future society leaders.  There were two meetings related to the initiative in May 2011 at ESA offices with officials from federal agencies and with representatives from design, architectural, and engineering disciplines.  A proposal was submitted recently to NSF to hold a small, 2-3 day workshop in DC, sometime in late winter 2012.  This would lead up to a series of events at the 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland focused on Earth Stewardship in practice.  There was extensive discussion of the utility of the concepts of sustainability and stewardship, and ways to best advance the goals of the initiative.    

III.        Discussion/Action Items

A. Member Survey Follow-up  

  1. Staff Reports 

Katherine McCarter led a discussion of ideas generated by staff in response to the member survey conducted in February 2011.  The board packet contains a summary of their ideas.  One general conclusion is that many members are unaware of many of the opportunities to be involved in society activities, and the opportunities for networking.  There is also interest in training in peer-review for early-career scientists.

  1. Ecology for a New Generation Committee

Steward Pickett reported on activities of the ad hoc committee to provide recommendations on messaging to early career ecologists.  This issue emerged as a priority from the recent member survey.  The charge to the committee is to address the question:  “What kinds of activities and strategies for messaging might the Society employ to best attract and serve a membership that reflects the world of the 21st century?”

  Sonia Ortega has agreed to chair the committee.  She and Steward Pickett are working to finalize the membership of the committee.  The committee will have access to the result of the member survey, and will prepare recommendations to be presented at the 2012 meeting in Portland.    

B. FY 2011-2012 ESA Budget

  1. Approve Budget 

The board reviewed the budget approved at the May meeting.  It will be presented to the Council on Aug. 7, 2011 for adoption.  A summary of the budget outlining assumptions was distributed. No changes were proposed.

  1. Long Range Planning Grants  

Members at Large are traditionally asked to review proposals for Long Range Planning Grants.  Josh Schimel suggested that proposals for LRPGs be asked to provide a summary of results of prior grants.  

  1. Board Strategic Initiatives 

Steward Pickett moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion to allocate $5,600 of the Strategic Initiatives funds to support activities of the Ecology for a New Generation Committee.  All aye.

Mary Power suggested designating funds to support outside speakers for the Portland meeting, designated by the President and Program Chair.  Mary moved to give the President and Program Chair authority to use the balance of the Strategic Initiatives funds ($4,400) to support travel and meeting expenses by outside (non-member) speakers at the Annual Meeting in Portland, 2012.  Seconded by Rob Jackson.  All aye. 

  1. Discussion of Council Presentation  

The board reviewed issues to be presented to the Council at the meeting on Aug. 7, 2011

C. Board of Professional Certification Requests   
The Board of Professional Certification renewed its request from August 2010, for reconsideration of the proposed requirement that all individuals certified by ESA be members of the Society.  This was discussed at the 2010 meeting, at which time the Governing Board decided not to approve the request.  There was extensive discussion of the request again, but many of the same concerns were expressed about the appropriateness of requiring membership.  The board tabled the request and will ask the Chair of the Board of Professional Certification to join a discussion of this issue at the November board meeting.

The BPC also asked the Governing Board to consider a minimum grade requirement of B- for all courses listed on the application for certification.  There were concerns about consistency in application of this requirement.  The Governing Board tabled the request, and will ask the Chair of the Board of Professional Certification to join a discussion of this issue at the November board meeting.

D. Video Conferencing
Staff investigated hardware and software solutions for videoconferencing.  Dedicated systems are relatively expensive, and there appear to be web-based options like Skype that can be used effectively at much less cost.  There is clearly benefit to both the Board and the Board members to have face-to-face meetings, but there are also times when teleconferencing facilities would be beneficial.  There is a related need to explore ways to improve telecommunications bandwidth at the ESA offices in Washington, DC.  

E. Yearly Policy Priorities 
Nadine Lymn and VP Laura Huenneke reviewed public policy priorities for the coming year.  Priorities were presented in the areas of (1) Energy and Climate, (2) Water Quality and Quantity, (3) Infrastructure Impacts on Ecosystems, (4) Disasters Affecting Ecosystems, (5) Science Education, and (6) Endangered Species.  
Rob Jackson moved and Steward Pickett seconded a motion to approve the policy priorities.  All aye.

F. Program Chair 2015
Josh Schimel moved and Mary Power seconded a motion to approve appointment of Carol Brewer as Program Chair for the 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore. All aye.

G. Local Hosts 2012 
Rob Jackson moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion to approve appointment of Mitch Cruzan and Todd Rosenstiel to be Local Hosts for the 2012 Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.  All aye.

H.  Environmental Offsets  
            Mary Power moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion to split the environmental offset funds between the City of Austin Carbon Offset Challenge Grants and Bat Conservation International.  All aye.

I.  New Business (Margaret Palmer, SESYNC – Guest)
            Margaret Palmer, the director of the new National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), joined the meeting by conference call to lead a discussion of the new synthesis center.  She began the discussion by providing an overview of the Center’s goals and structure.  They have partnered with Resources for the Future to foster linkages between the academic community and policy.  There is a strong focus on developing new computational tools.  The center will be based in Annapolis, MD.    They envision 2-3 themes active at any one time, with a portfolio of projects under any given theme.  There will be a parallel funding program for individual projects that don’t fit within active themes, but it is expected that this would be limited to high-risk but potentially high-yield projects. 

Margaret mentioned a number of potential ways that the Center could contribute to ESA meetings and activities, including accepting proposals for workshops related to ESA initiatives.

J. Report from the Student Section.  
Naupaka Zimmerman gave updates on two activities coming out of the Student Section.  The Mycological Society is interested in co-sponsoring a symposium or sessions on fungi and ecosystem function, as part of a Research Coordination Network.  INNGE – International Network of a New Generation of Ecologists – has been exploring ways to interact with ecological societies worldwide to cooperate on efforts to facilitate networking and career development.

Executive Session
            The Governing Board went into Executive Session at 4:15 pm

Meeting adjourned at 5:00 pm

 

 

ESA Governing Board, 
August 7, 2011
Austin, TX

Members Present
Terry Chapin               President
Steward Pickett          President-Elect
Mary Power                Past President
Laura Huenneke          VP for Public Affairs
Rob Jackson                VP for Science
Bill Parton                   VP for Finance
Margaret Lowman      VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham          Secretary
Josh Schimel               Member-at-Large
Sonia Ortega               Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science 
Elizabeth Biggs           Director, Finance
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Members Absent:  Andrea Lloyd

Guests Present:  Scott Collins, Les Real, Deborah Goldberg, Naupaka Zimmerman, Ed Johnson, Don Strong, Aaron Ellison, Dave Schimel

Sunday, August 7, 2011, 9:00 am.  Meeting called to order by President Terry Chapin.

III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)    

 K. Publications Meetings  

1. Publications Committee (Scott Collins, Chair)
Scott Collins reported that the year has been relatively uneventful for the Publications Committee, after major activities in the past year (including the launching of Ecosphere).  Josh Schimel will become chair of the committee at the end of the Austin meetings.  Scott has structured the committee membership to staggered 3-year memberships to allow more predictable turnover on the committee.

2. ESA Bulletin (Ed Johnson, EiC)
There is a limit of 100 pages per issue, and there is now a backlog of material.  David Gooding and another staff member in Ithaca provide all of the layout and production support as part of their other duties.  There was discussion of whether there are ways to lessen this limitation.  Josh Schimel agreed to have the Publications Committee examine this issue.

3. Ecology (Don Strong, EiC)
Don Strong reported on activities at Ecology over the past year.  One year ago the journal faced a significant backlog. Analysis of the genesis of the backlog suggests that pre-review and reject without review is a highly subjective process.  In particular, acceptance rates of pre-reviewed papers were no different in the past year than previous acceptance rates of manuscripts not subjected to reject without review screening. After very high rejection rates in the past 2 years and the successful elimination of the backlog over the past year, acceptance rates are expected to rise. 
Don expressed his admiration for the success of Ecosphere over the past year. 

4. Ecological Monographs (Aaron Ellison, EiC)
Aaron Ellison gave an update on Ecological Monographs.  Submission rates increased in calendar year 2010 by 16%.  Roughly half of manuscripts are rejected without review.  Overall acceptance rate for the 2010 year was ~ 18%.  Median time for decisions was 5 days for manuscripts rejected without review and 69 days for manuscripts sent out for external review. The journal’s impact factor increased significantly over the past year (to 5.9 from 4.8).

5. Ecological Application (Dave Schimel, EiC)
Dave Schimel reviewed operations at Ecological Applications. There was a significant increase in impact for the journal over the past year.  The main criterion for reviewing papers has been whether there is a general advance in management of ecosystems, rather than simply local application of general knowledge.  Submission rates have been very high, so this criterion has been the most common justification for rejection without review.  Papers that simply present new metrics of ecosystem state are also often rejected without review.  Reject without review rates have been ~ 45% in recent years. 
They have implemented a new policy for invited features.  Many proposals are received, but most are problematic because they take so long.  They typically have lower citation rates than standard articles.  They are going to implement a virtual special feature format that will invite submissions on a theme, with the papers linked by common keywords.

6. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (Sue Silver, EiC)
Sue Silver summarized activities with Frontiers over the past year.  The rejection rate hovers around 83%, of which three quarters are rejected without review, usually because the format of the paper does not fit within the journal.  There has been a trend for numbers of Research Communication submissions to increase, but the number of Reviews has been declining.  The backlog of several years ago is now gone.  There is an ongoing challenge with funding for the journal.  The business plan for the journal expects two externally-funded special issues per year, but finding these is a constant challenge.

 

7. Issues in Ecology (Jill Baron, EiC)
Jill Baron reported on Issues in Ecology.  The recent report on forest carbon represented the first new issue in 5 years, but is the first of many in the pipeline.  There is a lot of recent interest in new issues, including as an outgrowth of organized sessions at the annual meetings.  Issues typically cost $20,000.  She suggested planning for evaluation of who uses the publications.  Nadine Lymn commented that her sense is that they are most useful in an educational context, but that the format is not optimal for use in policy debates.  Jill suggested closer coordination with ESA policy and communications staff to increase the effectiveness of the series.

8. Term Limits for EiCs – Discussion 
The Governing Board asked the Editors-in-Chief present for their views on the proposed changes in the by-laws.  Don Strong encouraged the Governing Board, particularly the President Elect, President, and Past President, to be more closely involved in the 3-year reviews.  Dave Schimel, Don Strong, and Aaron Ellison all expressed agreement with the principle of term limits.  Aaron Ellison suggested thinking about mechanisms for mentoring and cultivation of future Editors-in-Chief.

L.  Enhancing Diversity within ESA
Sonia Ortega reviewed challenges in increasing diversity within ESA, and suggested a goal of raising funds to cover costs for attendance at annual meetings by minority students.  Aaron Ellison encouraged Sonia to attend the Centennial Committee meeting to present these ideas there.  There was extensive discussion of ideas to enhance diversity within the field.  Naupaka Zimmerman made the point that it is important to bring in not just the students, but also their role models.

The meeting was adjourned at 12:15 pm.

 

ESA Governing Board, 
August 12, 2011
Austin, TX

Members Present
Steward Pickett          President
Scott Collins               President-Elect
Terry Chapin               Past President
Deborah Goldberg      VP for Science
Charles Canham          Secretary
Mimi Lam                   Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science 
Elizabeth Biggs           Director, Finance
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Members Absent:  Sonia Ortega, Andrea Lloyd, Sharon Collinge, Les Real, Margaret Lowman

Guests Present:  Jorge Ramos, Mary Power

 

Friday, August 12, 2011, 9:00 am. 

Meeting called to order by President Steward Pickett

I.  Information
A. Governing Board Organization for 2011-2012 
The November 2012 Governing Board meeting will be held at the Society offices in Washington, DC on Thursday – Friday, Nov. 17-18, with a half-day new board member orientation on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2012.

There have been a number of discussions during the week about diversity within the Society.  Steward Pickett recommended that he meet with a subset of the Board to come up with plans to better advance efforts to foster greater diversity in the field.   Mimi Lam mentioned the difficulties that members of tribal communities face in attending and participating in ESA annual meetings.  Terry Chapin recommended reaching out to groups like AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society).  Deborah Goldberg noted that there is a lot of activity at many different levels (individuals, departments, universities), and a lot of expertise in best practices that could be tapped.

 

II. Earth Stewardship Initiative
Steward Pickett gave an update on activities related to the Earth Stewardship Initiative during the Austin meetings.  A large fraction of the sessions at the meeting had at least some connection to the Initiative.  There was some healthy controversy about concepts of stewardship, and Steward noted that there appeared to have been progress in communicating issues related to the Initiative.  He is personally interested in how best to advance the Initiative within the Society.  He hopes to see events related to the Initiative on the program at next year’s meeting in Portland.   He has a particular interest in the notion of earth stewardship through practice (i.e. urban design, civil engineering).  Next year is the 20th anniversary of the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative, and events could be planned in connection with that event.

            Steward Pickett also reminded board members of the EcoSummit scheduled for 2012, and suggested that we explore submitting a symposium proposal related to the Stewardship Initiative.

III. Discussion/Action

A. Audit Committee
Deborah Goldberg and Mimi Lam were appointed to two-year terms on the Audit Committee.

B.  Feedback from Committee Meetings and Council Meeting
The Council meeting highlighted the benefits of greater communication between the Board and the Council.  The discussion of a proposed change in the by-laws to institute term limits on non-staff Editors-in-Chief was spirited and detailed.  The proposal was not adopted, and was sent back to the Publication Committee for further consideration.

Teresa Mourad mentioned that she had received questions from members about procedures for nominating Governing Board members.  Subsequent discussion focused on ways to increase input of names to the nomination process.

Liz Biggs reported on discussions of the Meetings Committee about whether there was sufficient distinction between symposia and organized oral sessions.  Some symposia had so many speakers that the time for talks was no greater than in standard oral sessions.

Mimi Lam mentioned a concern that the meetings are so large that there are few times for attendees to meet together (in plenary sessions).  Program committees are typically faced with the challenge of balancing the time for plenary sessions with sufficient time for oral sessions.

Steward Pickett thanked and congratulated staff on running a seamless and exciting annual meeting.  Jorge Ramos seconded Steward’s comments and noted the enthusiasm of the student section for the meetings.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:00 am.

November 4, 2010

ESA Governing Board
November 04, 2010
Washington, DC

Members Present
Terry Chapin               President
Steward Pickett          President-Elect
Laura Huenneke          VP for Public Affairs
Rob Jackson                VP for Science
Bill Parton                   VP for Finance
Meg Lowman              VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham          Secretary
Andrea Lloyd             Member-at-Large
Josh Schimel               Member-at-Large

Members Absent:  Lisa Graumlich (Member-at-Large), Mary Power (Past President)

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Cliff  Duke                  Director, Science 
Elizabeth Biggs           Director, Finance
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Thursday, November 4, 2010.  9:00 meeting was called to order.

I. Agenda, Minutes, and Ratification of Votes
Josh Schimel moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion to ratify the vote for nominations for Vice President for Science.  The vote was ratified unanimously. 

Steward Pickett moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion to approve the minutes as amended.  The motion passed unanimously.

II. Reports

A.  Report of the President, Terry Chapin

Terry Chapin and Cliff Duke reviewed efforts to involve early career scientists in NEON.  Meg Lowman explained some of the history of ESA’s involvement in encouraging participation of small schools and underrepresented groups in NEON, and the potential need for additional ESA staff support for this effort.

Terry also reviewed efforts related to the Earth Stewardship initiative at next year’s annual meeting. Zoe Cardon is organizing a music event related to this theme, and the student section is planning another bioblitz. He also outlined activities of the Sections related to the initiative.  A large number of the Sections have been involved.  He summarized two meetings on Nov. 3, 2010 with members of social science groups and religious organizations.  The meetings were to inform the groups of the goals of the initiative, and to find out whether they have related efforts.  There was discussion of the formation of an informal coalition, with activities that might involve proposals to fund participation by outside speakers at meetings of the different groups.  One discovery was that the language of stewardship and sustainability can vary significantly, particularly among the religious groups.

Finally, he reviewed planned presentations on stewardship at upcoming meetings, including AGU.

B. Reports of the Executive Director and Staff

Katherine welcomed new members of the Board.  She requested that all board members sign and return conflict of interest forms and distributed board orientation books to all members.  Meg Lowman noted that the COI forms should be available for review by all board members.

Katherine noted that the Policy Section is now an official section, and announced that the Society launched its Planned Giving website in the past week.  The site contains much useful information related to planned giving in general.

David Baldwin summarized highlights from the Publication Office report.  Submission rates to Ecosphere have been high, and acceptance rates have been low.  Several new manuscripts (since the rollout in August) have already been published.  The print journals have been on schedule.  More detail will follow during the mid-term review this afternoon.

Cliff Duke reviewed Science Office activities.  He described an upcoming Emerging Issues conference on “Developing Ecologically-based Conservation Targets under Global Change.”   At the end of this month, the Office will be holding a workshop on the NSF-funded project on the sustainability of biological infrastructure (databases, field stations, etc.). 

Nadine Lymn’s report from the Public Affairs Office highlighted interest in the Society’s blog Ecotone, which offers fresh posts nearly daily.  Maintaining this has required a significant allocation of staff time.  A preprint of an Ecological Monographs paper on mountain pine beetle and fire risk attracted a great deal of public interest.  A Frontiers paper on bat mortality and wind turbines also attracted considerable media interest.  She also reported on an ESA-sponsored field trip to the Baltimore LTER study, and noted that work continues on the Policy Handbook. 

Teresa Mourad reviewed efforts related to the upcoming NEON education workshop. She also reported that the Packard Foundation has provided another grant of $150,000 for efforts in the western US.  

Elizabeth Biggs reviewed statistics on membership and subscriptions.  Both have continued to decline slightly, but these have been factored into budgets.  Institutional subscriptions to Ecology have been the most important source of revenue to the Society in the past, and this funding stream has been slowly declining.  This is a significant challenge going forward.  The decline has been happening over a number of years, not just since 2008.   David Baldwin noted that the decline has been relatively small, and Katherine noted that this is due, in part, to efforts to add new subscribers, particularly in other countries. 

Sue Silver gave a report on Frontiers. The publication backlog is gone, and publication times are on target. She noted that authors seem keen to use Frontiers as an outlet for research with clear policy implications. 

C. Financial Updates

Katherine reviewed the first quarter financial report.  There was discussion of the size of the membership and overall program.  Bill Parton reported on investments.  Recent gains in the stock market have helped the endowment, while the reserve funds (unrestricted net assets) are in revolving fixed-income instruments (primarily CDs).

III. Discussion/Action Items

A.  Earth Stewardship Updates

Steward Picket distributed an update on the Earth Stewardship initiative.  Current efforts have focused on outreach to social, economic and political sciences, with a goal to get them involved in participating in the 2011 annual meeting.  Steward’s efforts next year will focus on dialog, outreach and engagement with the planning and design professions.  The initiative will focus on the science of stewardship – including the social contexts that influence how that science is implemented.  There was an open discussion of how to make the initiative successful, including identifying important partners, and changing the academic culture to better support the development of science needed for effective stewardship.  There was also discussion of ways that current activities of the Society could be adapted to promote the initiative.

B. Education Issues

1.  Meg provided a report on the Women and Minorities in Ecology (WAMIE) survey of ESA members.  The response rate was reasonable (~ 15%), but the respondents were overwhelmingly female.  Additional analyses and/or additional survey efforts are being considered.

2.  Teresa reported on the Ecology Education Summit held last month.  Over 200 participants attended.  Action items that came out of the summit included (1) creating a foundation for common environmental literacy principles and concepts, (2) a comprehensive green schools program, (3) activities to harness technology for a green society, and (4) an inventory of environmental literacy standards in different states, and (5) developing new language and purpose including connecting to jobs, health, and security to ensure environmental literacy for all.

Teresa and Meg profusely thanked the Governing Board for their support of the Education Summit, because the event was truly ground-breaking and exceeded the expectations of the Society and the participants.

C. Program Review – Science

Cliff Duke and Rob Jackson presented the mid-term review of the Science Office.  Cliff began by reviewing the history of the establishment of the office – dating to the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative in 1991.  In 1997 it was formally designated the Science Programs Office.  Its structure and mission are defined in the Society’s by-laws. 

Current projects fall into 3 categories: (1) advancing ecological science, (2) ecology for community (to link the ecological research and management communities), and (3) solutions for sustainability.

Projects focused on advancing ecological science include the new Emerging Issues conferences (formerly called the Millennium Conference).  The next conference will be in 2012, with the topic “Developing Ecologically-Based Conservation Targets Under Global Change”.  A special feature issue in Frontiers is being planned in conjunction with the conference.

The ESA Panel on Vegetation is a permanent standing committee that began work in 1995.  It has been very active in recent years in developing national vegetation classification standards and supporting databases like VegBank.

Cliff reviewed 3 projects under the “ecology for community” program area:
1. The 2008 biofuels conference and related activities.  A number of products from the conference are in progress.   
2. The Issues in Ecology publication series.  There have been 13 issues to date.  The most recent was “A Synthesis of the Science on Forests and Carbon for U.S. Forests”. 
3. A workshop on strategies for sustainability of biological infrastructure to be held this year.

There was discussion of reasons for the success of the Office in attracting external funding.  The credibility and reputation of the Society were considered significant factors.

Rob Jackson gave an overview of future directions for the Office.  First on his list of general goals was a focus on ESA-initiated, longer-term projects.  Sustainability has been a theme in the Society for decades, and finding opportunities for new support and activities in this area should be a priority.  Linkages between the Science Office and other programs within ESA (particularly Public Affairs) are also a priority.  Finally, Rob and Cliff would like to see the Science Office play a stronger role in international outreach.

Specific examples of new initiatives that address these priorities include the Emerging Issues conferences, a planned workshop on the science of vegetation change and classification, and a project under development to measure the contributions of ecoinformatics to environmental protection. 

Rob reviewed future activities related to the 2011 and 2012 annual meetings.  Josh Schimel suggested a focus on ecological dimensions of national security.  Rob and Cliff pointed out a number of current topics that are related to this (biofuels, warfare ecology, etc.)

The final section of the discussion focused on activities related to the 2015 Centennial and the Earth Stewardship initiative. Rob suggested starting with a retrospective analysis, beginning with an analysis of the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative of the early 1990’s.  Another opportunity would be to generate case studies of how ESA has influenced science and policy in its first 100 years.

Rob then presented a series of forward-looking activities.  He outlined several proposals, including:

  1. Crafting a document envisioning where ecological science should go in its second century,
  2. Hosting a small workshop to more clearly define the Earth Stewardship initiative
  3. Generate a set of future scenarios
    1. Based in part on IPCC stabilization scenarios
    2. Including different ecosystem services, and
    3. Influencing what a world with proper stewardship would look like in 2050 or 2100.
    4. Recognizing the importance of urbanization
  4. Developing new metrics for stewardship (status and trends in resources)
  5. Improving teaching of and academic support for stewardship science
  6. Identifying the funding opportunities for these activities

D. Mid-term Program Report of the Publications Office

Sue Silver reviewed trends in submissions and acceptance rates at Frontiers.  The fairly long backlog of recent years between acceptance and appearance in print has been resolved, partly as a result of a high rejection rate (including a very high rate of rejection without review).  This has been credited with slowing the rate of increase in submissions.  The timelag between acceptance and appearance in print is currently on target.  There is hope that the acceptance rate can be allowed to increase.

She reviewed new developments at the journal, including: (a) the introduction of page charges, and (b) a new back page columnist.  A number of special issues are being considered, and a large biogeochemistry special feature will be published in early 2011. 

Elizabeth Biggs summarized the long-term financial planning and budgets for Frontiers.  There has been a long-term plan for the ESA contribution to increase over time.  Institutional subscriptions remain the largest single source of revenue, and are increasing, although not as rapidly as hoped in long-term planning. The publication of two externally funded special issues a year would make them the second largest source of revenue.  The shortfall between revenue and expenses is currently covered by draws on the Publication Fund, but the shortfall has been falling over time, and there is hope to have revenue exceed expenses by FY 2013.

David Baldwin gave the report from the Publications Office.  He began with a list of recent innovations and accomplishments.  Issues are on schedule, and the publication backlog at Ecology has “nearly evaporated”.  There has been a strong growth in use of Ecological Archives.  Data papers have also become a consistent feature of Ecology.  There are a number of new features in the Bulletin.  David summarized statistics on submissions to EcologyEcological Applications, and Ecological Monographs (up ~ 5% from last year).  Acceptance rates have ranged from 16% at Ecology to ~ 25% at Applications and Monographs.  Rates of rejection without review remain high.  Impact factors have declined slightly.  149 papers have been submitted to Ecosphere since August, with an acceptance rate of 14%.

Plans for the coming year include implementation of data archiving (if approved by the Governing Board), and automation of keywords for manuscripts.

Concerns include (a) declines in impact factors, (b) declining subscriptions, (c) staffing needs for data archiving, and (d) confusion about the distinction between Ecosphere and the other journals. 

The bulk of the subsequent discussion focused on the distinctions between Ecosphere and the print journals.  David distributed a draft of a new table that will be posted on the website, describing the differences between the various ESA journals.

E. Awards Committee Requests

The Awards Committee has requested several changes to the awards process.  These include a conflict of interest provision, and issues related to funding for travel by award recipients.  Some of the awards have endowments that specify support for travel.

The Board approved the recommended process for avoiding potential conflicts of interest involving members of award subcommittees.

Josh Schimel moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to increase the travel support from $700 to $800.  The motion was passed unanimously.

Josh Schimel also moved and Rob Jackson seconded a motion that the travel support be offered, but recipients can choose to decline.  The motion passed unanimously.

Rob Jackson moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion that all members of the Awards subcommittees must be members of the ESA.  The motion passed unanimously.

There was discussion of the proposal to increase the frequency of the MacArthur award to annually (rather than biennially).  This has implications for the scheduling of keynote speakers at the annual meeting.  There was support for increasing the frequency of the award, but the issue was tabled to allow time for input from the Meetings Committee. 

The request for an increase in the number of honorary members was tabled, and returned to the Awards Committee with a request for further justification of the request to increase the maximum number of honorary members from 20 to 30.  It was noted that there is no endowment for this award, and that it is relatively expensive (all travel expenses, and a lifetime subscription to ESA journals), and that apparently, according to the ESA History Page, not all 20 slots are currently filled.

Meg Lowman moved and Josh Schimel seconded a motion that Section and Chapter awards be recognized during the Awards ceremony with a single slide listing all winners of Section and Chapter awards.  The motion passed unanimously.

F. Diversity Award

The Education and Human Resources Committee forwarded a request that the Diversity Award given by that Committee be acknowledged at the Society-wide awards ceremony.

Josh Schimel moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded that this award be recognized briefly (as with the Section awards) at the general Awards Ceremony, but that the presentation of the award continue to be done at the Diversity Luncheon.  The motion passed unanimously. 

G. Membership Survey

Katherine reported on the planned survey of ESA members.  

Meeting adjourned at 5:19 pm, Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010

Friday, November 05, 2010

Meeting Reconvened

8:30 am  Executive Session

Governing Board Members Present:
Terry Chapin, Josh Schimel, Steward Pickett, Charlie Canham, Rob Jackson, Bill Parton, Andrea Lloyd, and  Laura Huenneke (until 9:30 am)

9:00 AM
Staff joined the meeting:
Sue Silver, Nadine Lymn, David Baldwin, Katherine McCarter, Cliff Duke, Elizabeth Biggs

III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)

H. Dryad

David Baldwin summarized the discussion from the August Board meeting.  The technology and process for implementing a requirement for data deposition does not appear to be a significant hurdle, but there are concerns about both cost and whether the requirement will steer some authors away from Society journals.  Discussion focused on a proposal from the August Board meeting that participation in Dryad be tested for a year, and just in Ecological Monographs.  

Rob Jackson moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded that the Board approve participation in Dryad by Ecological Monographs for a year, under Cost Plan A, and ask Editor-in-Chief Aaron Ellison to report back to the full Board in one year.

The Board will also ask the Publications Committee to address the broader issue of criteria that would qualify as an acceptable data archive, and lists of approved existing data archives.  The issue of the relation between Dryad and Ecological Archives needs to be considered. 

I. 2012 Annual Meeting Theme

Brian McCarthy, program chair for the 2012 Annual Meeting, has recommended the theme “Life on Earth: Preserving, Utilizing, and Sustaining our Ecosystems”.  A description of the theme was included in the board book.   Andrea Lloyd moved and Steward Pickett seconded a motion to approve the meeting theme.  The motion passed unanimously.

J. Historical Records / Centennial Committee Requests

The Historical Records Committee (HRC) has requested a multi-year grant of funds for a series of activities related to the ESA Archives and the Centennial in 2015.   Part of the request is to fund a joint meeting of the HRC and Centennial Committee in Athens, GA to discuss the status and future of the ESA Archives maintained at the University of Georgia.  They are also requesting a significant amount of staff time to work on these projects.

Rob Jackson suggested exploring funding sources that might support the Centennial and analyses of the history of the Society.

The largest component of the request was for 10 small grants of $5000 each to support use of the archives by historians. The general goal of this request was viewed positively, but the amount was problematic.

Josh Schimel moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded that we approve funding for the meeting in Athens and the first year of supplies (a total of $4500).  The motion passed unanimously. 

The Board also encourages the Committees to work with ESA staff to develop proposals to fund the activities (including potentially the requested small-grant program). 

K.  Centennial Committee

Alan Covich, Chair of the Centennial Committee, submitted a report that outlines planning for ESA’s Centennial in 2015.   A key request was for input on the appointment of the full committee, and funding for a meeting of the committee during the current fiscal year.   There was discussion about the potential make-up of the committee, and the need to balance retrospective and forward-looking perspectives.

Terry Chapin solicited input from the Board on both the make-up of the committee and potential names.  He will confer with Alan Covich and appoint the members of the committee.  He will also confer with Katherine McCarter and Charles Canham on a draft of the charge for the committee. Once the committee is named, the Board encourages it to hold a conference call meeting to organize and to meet face to face at the annual meeting in 2011.

L. EiC Review – Dave Schimel

The Board received a very positive report from the committee appointed to review Ecological Applications Editor-in-Chief Dave Schimel.  The continued growth in the workload at all of the journals led to discussion of ways to share the editing duties, potentially making greater use of Associate Editors or Assigning Editors.  Rob Jackson moved and Terry Chapin seconded a motion to re-appoint Dave Schimel to a new 3-year term as Editor-in-Chief for the period from January 2011 to December 2013.

M. EiC Review – Ed Johnson

The Publications Committee was unable to complete reviews of all of the Editors-in-Chief in time for action by the Board.  Ed Johnson was re-appointed EiC of the Bulletin for a year to allow a formal review next year.  The Board recognized Ed’s strong commitment and contributions to the Bulletin.

N.  EiC Review – Jill Baron

The Board received a report from the Publications Committee that both reviewed Editor-in-Chief Jill Barron and summarized the history, current status, and recommendations for the Issues in Ecology series. There are a number of challenges, including securing funding for each issue.  There was an almost 6 year hiatus in the publication series, but a new Issue has just been published, 4 more are in development, and others are in discussion.

The Board is very pleased with Jill’s efforts and leadership with Issues. EiC Baron’s first 3-year term (January 2007 – December 2009) was extended last year for 1 year.  Rob Jackson moved and Andrea Lloyd seconded a motion to appoint Jill Baron Editor-in-Chief of Issues in Ecology for the remaining two years of the current 3-year term (January 2011 – December 2012).

The Board would also like to continue discussion about the niche for Issues (particularly vis a vis Frontiers) at the board meeting in May 2011.

Meeting Adjourned at 11:50 am, Nov. 5, 2010

November 2010

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board
November 17-18, 2009
Washington, DC

Members Present: Mary Power (President), Sunny Power (Past-President), Terry Chapin (Past-President-Elect), David Inouye (Secretary), Josh Schimel (Member-at-Large), Emily Stanley (Member-at-Large), Deb Peters (Member-at-Large), Rob Jackson (VP for Science). Meg Lowman (VP for Education) arrived 10:10 AM.

Staff Present:

Katherine McCarter (Executive Director), Cliff Duke (Director of Science), Elizabeth Biggs (Director of Finance), Sue Silver (Editor), Nadine Lymn (Director of Public Affairs), David Baldwin (Publications). Teresa Mourad (Education and Diversity) joined the meeting after lunch on Tuesday.

Tuesday 17 November 2009. 9:03 meeting is called to order.

I. Roll Call & Agenda

  • The Governing Board unanimously adopted the proposed agenda.
  • The minutes from 1, 2, and 7 August 2009 were unanimously adopted.

II. Reports

  • Report of President Power

Much of her activity has been working on initiating Terry Chapin’s idea of a focus for the Society on Planetary Stewardship, and educating herself about planetary stewardship initiatives that have been brought up by small groups of ESA members and other individuals, organizing at the community scale to develop, sustainable working ecosystems, including community based fisheries, forests (redwood regrowth), ranching (grazing), and agriculture. Power and Chapin are launching a forum in the April 2010 ESA Bulletin in which groups will report on their diverse efforts towards ecosystem or planetary stewardship, and “lessons learned” can be exchanged. Power, with Chapin and other colleagues, are proposing some sessions for the Pittsburgh ESA 2010 meeting to explore interactions between local resource-consumption systems and the long-distance (economic, political, ecological) networks that either undermine or support them.

Under the leadership of Chair Rob Salguero-Gomez, University of Pennsylvania, the ESA Graduate Student Section is contributing exciting ideas for student-oriented initiatives, including an EcoService initiative to engage ESA graduate students in local ecosystem stewardship.

  • Report of Executive Director McCarter and the Office Staff
  • Sue Silver – the last issue of the 7th volume of Frontiers is now completed. There is still a significant backlog of papers to be published, and the acceptance rate for manuscripts is now about 17% (engendering unhappy comments from authors).
  • David Baldwin – the journals are on schedule. The November Ecological Monographs has the first ever synthetic review paper, and a second is forthcoming. Page charges are going up to $70/page as of January. He is investigating facilitation of citing ESA publications in citeulike. Proposals from several vendors to print ESA’s publications and host them online are being evaluated.
  • Cliff Duke – the Millennium Conference was very successful (despite 3” of rain during the drought conference!). The venue was excellent (Georgia Center for Continuing Education). The Forest Service contract should arrive today for funding the next meeting of the Vegetation Classification Panel, which is now a standing committee of the ESA. A report should be available soon for the effort led by RTI International to conduct a peer review of USGS Biological Resources Discipline programs. A draft report has been completed for planning (with The Wildlife Society and the Meridian Institute) for the new USGS National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center.
  • Nadine Lymn – Public Affairs has been reaching out to social scientists around town, e.g., agricultural economists, psychologists, Resources for the Future. There is excitement about ecosystem services and markets, so this may be an area for collaboration in the future. Congressman Baird (Ph.D. in social science) introduced a bill requiring Dept. of Energy to devote some funding to studying human behavior related to energy use. ESA sent a letter of support to Baird , who is waiting for an opportune time to try to reintroduce his bill, which was misrepresented as “mind control” by some Science Committee members and had to be withdrawn.
  • An ESA position statement and fact sheet on climate change are near completion. Nadine and Katherine went to a joint Department of Interior (DOI) – White House conference related to the green economy; there will be a meeting next week with a DOI administration official to talk about joint interests. Christine Buckley (Communications Officer) will be leaving in December for a job at U CONN; she’s done an excellent job with the ESA blog, podcasts, etc.
  • Liz Biggs – dust is settling on the Albuquerque meeting, and it looks like finances are on target with the budget approved by the Board. There are only 37 fewer members in the Society at the end of the membership year 2009, compared to the previous year, which is much better than many professional societies are doing.
  • When Meg and Teresa arrive, we will have a report as part of the Education program review.
  • Report of Vice President for Finance 10:55 AM
    • First Quarter Financials (McCarter)

The budget is in good shape at present (this quarter reflects all the income from the annual meeting, and most of the subscription income for 2009), but there is a lot of uncertainty about how the current economic situation will affect the Society, in terms of membership, subscriptions, and attendance at the annual meeting.

Staff will monitor the revenue and expenses closely to detect any trends.

    • Investment Update (Biggs – Parton is in Australia)

Our investment portfolio with Townley Investment (Board restricted funds, award and prize money, etc.) has gained 6% from 30 September 2008 to 2009, following a 17% decline in the previous year.

III. Discussion / Action Items 10:35 AM

  • Long-Range Planning – update

1. Standing Committee priorities

EHRC (Meg Lowman): A WAMIE (women and minorities in ecology) study has been conducted twice since the early 1990s but data are no longer available. A proposal has been put in for support for another survey, with plans to make sure the data are preserved. Other ideas being pursued include how to promote the development and inclusion of ecology in curriculum, providing tools and resources for effective ecology education, and opportunities for mentoring students and young scientists.

The Ecology Summit idea has a large working group now, and a venue has been offered in D.C. October 14-16, 2010, for a few hundred attendees. Interaction between gaming and ecology education will be investigated, as well as curriculum ideas and other teaching technology.

Science (Rob Jackson): The committee proposes a focus on more ESA-originated long-term projects, additional opportunities in climate change and sustainability, and promotion of ecological science (e.g., data sharing initiative). Strengthening collaborations with other ESA offices makes sense, as many of these initiatives would cut across multiple ESA offices. Also, strengthening international outreach efforts (e.g., with Mexican Ecological Society). Geoengineering and Neo-environment – recent advances are increasingly cutting across science, ethics, and social interactions, and with increasing speed. Some past and ongoing activities of the Science office map well onto this list, such as the data sharing initiative, and DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research program. We should probably try not to overlap with efforts of NCEAS, the Heinz Center, etc.

Policy (Nadine Lymn): the Committee has not yet met to consider the priorities suggested by the Board but will be meeting in early April 2010. One idea is to add a day to the May Board meeting for training in public policy, followed by a visit to elected officials, focusing on a particular issue. OSTP Director John Holdren was suggested as a possible lunch speaker for the May Board meeting.

2. Report from the Training Priorities Subcommittee (Emily Stanley/Katherine McCarter): There are already many ongoing activities in this area, such as the ESA Graduate Student Policy Award, policy training workshops, communications training, online resources, training opportunities at the annual meeting, etc. Activities of ESA and some other scientific societies are described. The subcommittee will talk again to determine next steps.

3. Sustainable Business model (Josh Schimel): the subcommittee met via teleconference. How do we maintain the incentives for young ecologists to want to be ESA members? Social networking was probably a major reason in the past, but there are many other alternatives now for that kind of activity (Facebook groups, etc.). Why do students join, and why do they remain members or drop their memberships? Maybe a certificate program for workshops for students at the annual meetings would be attractive; e.g., a certificate for training in communications with policy makers or media. A survey of student members is planned.

  • Planetary Stewardship goals (Mary Power/Chapin)

This is a continuation of the sustainability issues ESA has focused on for many years, so it’s not a significant reorientation of Society activities. Rationale is that this is an urgent issue we can use to redirect the relationship between society and the biosphere, and an opportune time with the recent Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, IPCC activities, change in US administration, etc. Informing and engaging ESA members to do something is one goal, but how can we also involve other societies, disciplines, and policy makers? What are the leverage points where ESA could make a difference? Power is working on an article for the Bulletin’s April issue. Program Chair for the 2011 Annual Meeting (in Austin) is enthusiastic about using Planetary Stewardship as a theme for the meeting, and Chair for the 2012 meeting (in Portland) is interested in suggestions for themes that would follow up on it. Some of the Sections have expressed interest in finding ways to integrate with the theme.

Is this a radical re-orientation of the Society’s directions, by putting an emphasis on people rather than just organisms and their environment? AESS (Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences) might be a good group for collaboration. Should we say anything explicitly about human population size/growth, which underlies most environmental problems? Can we make statements about consumption rather than human population size/growth explicitly? E.g., the footprint approach. There will be an editorial in the December issue of Frontiers related to this topic.

We would have to move toward the direction of environmental sciences – e.g., considering water use for various power production methods, rather than just the hydrological cycle. Why are solar panels on houses better than a large-scale solar project in the desert? Would there by pushback by the membership about such a change in emphasis?

  • INTECOL (Mary Power). ESA Past-President Alan Covich is currently President of INTECOL, and is enthusiastic about joint activities with ESA during his 3-year tenure. Their next annual meeting will be in London in 2013, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the British Ecological Society (Mary has joined their committee planning for the anniversary).

Lunch with the ESA staff

  • Education and Diversity Programs (Mourad)

1998 – education activities began within the Public Affairs Office with a ½ JSTOR and ½ education position. 
2001 – the Education Manager position was created within the PAO
2002 – the Department of Education was created.

Early education activities included a Careers in Ecology brochure, community outreach programs, workshops and symposia at ESA meetings, and participation in education and diversity events with organizations such as SACNAS.

1999 – EHRC was formed with the merger of the former Education Committee and the Gender and Minorities Committee as recommended by the 1993 Women and Minorities in Ecology (WAMIE) report.

WAMIE 1 – 1993. Stimulated creation of EHRC, first fulltime EHR staff, mentoring programs, K12 ecology education, and Focus on Ecologists.

WAMIE 2 – 2006: Encouraged diverse recruitment and retention in universities; excellent ecology instruction; community outreach and environmental justice; grad students, postdocs, and young professionals; leadership development, broad career horizons, changing the culture of ecology.
Current Education initiatives – SEEDS, EcoEd Digital Library, Continental-scale ecology education (NEON); K12 research and education day, Ecology and Education Summit.

SEEDS – now present on 57 campuses, almost doubled since 2006. Won awards in 2006 and 2008. New projects in progress include supplemental REU partnerships (replacing SEEDS fellowships); University of North Texas IRES (International Research Experience for Students) in Chile; Appalachian State University research with SEEDS chapters in NC; MOU with Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS); SEEDSNet Website.

EcoEd Digital Library is attracting growing use (but relatively flat number of unique visitors over the past two years). 
Another new project is an NCEAS Distributed Seminar focusing on publication of a set of teaching resources illustrating the use of large public datasets for the undergraduate level.

Ecology Education Summit: What should Ecology Education look like in 2020?

  • What is our core/common understanding of ecological and environmental literacy?
  • What pedagogical and technological tools should be disseminated or developed to prepare all citizens for future-oriented ecological thinking, planetary stewardship and participation in a green economy?
  • In particular, how can we ensure that minority and underrepresented audiences will have access to ecology and environmental education?
  • What cross-sectoral, multi-institutional coordination and communication strategies are necessary to achieve a transformational ecology and environmental education for K-gray by 2020?
  • How can effective educational policies be put in place to achieve the 2020 vision for quality ecology and environmental education?

Collaborators on the Ecology and Education Summit (so far) include AAAS, National Education Association, NEA Foundation, NA Association for Environmental Education, National Environmental Education Foundation, National Institute for Food and Agriculture, LTER network, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Institution, US Forest Service.

Planned products from the Summit include a pre-Summit ESA policy statement on ecology education; a dynamic visualization tool to facilitate information sharing and coordination; a pre-Summit survey of national organizations; an interactive online Resource Center with a one-stop shop for educational resources; a cohesive decadal plan. 

The Education Office has also been involved in K-12 education: attended the Ocean Science Education Coalition meeting; DC Science Alliance; White House STEM-Ed 21 initiative (national Lab Week, National STEM Week, Building Communities of Scientists and Teachers).

Partner programs include plantingscience.org, managed by the Botanical Society of America for grades 6-12, and EarthTrek’s global citizen science program (managed by Geological Society of America’s Education and Outreach group.

The next part of the presentation addresses the challenges and issues related to education. The department has actively sought information from a variety of channels to guide its programs.

(1) Has included meetings with education representatives from

  • American Society for Microbiology
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Metereological Society
  • Botanical Society of America
  • Geological Society of America
  • LTER Education Committee
  • Organization of Biological Field Stations Human Diversity Committee

(2) Also surveys through SEEDS, TIEE, and the EcoEd Digital Library,

(3) Information gathering through workshops and conferences such as

  • NSF Conversations on Undergraduate Biology Education Reform
  • Ocean Science Education Workshop
  • SACNAS
  • LTER All Scientists Meeting
  • National Science Digital Library conference
  • Cyberlearning Tools for Climate Change Education

Challenges and Issues

What is ecological literacy? (ecological knowledge, evidence based, systems thinking, ecological-cultural interactions, temporal and spatial thinking, citizenship, values)

No child left inside (narrowing curriculum, nature deficit disorder, childhood obesity)

Quality labs (NRC, 2005, America’s Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science; labs emphasize procedures rather than science content, rarely incorporate discussion or reflection, and researchers and educators don’t agree on how to define high school science labs or on their purposes; facilities, equipment and supplies are inequitably distributed; providing a range of effective lab experiences for future teachers is critical)

Data and big ecology – challenges are generated by availability of biotic datasets, metada comparisons, statistical literacy, and causality and uncertainty.
Integration of disciplines – what does this really look like? How should SEEDS field trips be structured? Who gets the credit?

Workforce development and diversity – a concern of NSF. Committee on Equal Opportunities in Science and Engineering (CEOSE) published a biennial report this year. Diversity is increasing, but very slowly for some groups (e.g., American Indians and Alaska Natives). In 2006 minorities formed 21% of US population between ages of 25-64 with a Bachelor’s degree, but only 9% of the STEM workforce.

Stewardship and Outreach – SEEDS Education and Outreach Initiative is one example of ESA activity in this area, also engagement with K12 education, and bioblitz activities.

Funding – several NSF programs and some foundation support at present.

Opportunities include engaging the research community, developing partnerships, and avenues for revenue generation.

The Board spent some time brainstorming about possible sources of donations for sponsoring SEEDS students; maybe try approaching companies who exhibit at the annual meeting.

  • Proposal from the Publications Committee to launch a new author-pays, open access, rapid publication, online journal. Joined via conference call with Editors-in-Chief Don Strong and Aaron Ellison, and Publications Committee Chair Scott Collins.

Reasons for this proposal include the growing backload of papers waiting for publication in the ESA journals, and the growing number of submissions. Some editors are resigning because of the increased workload. Many of the papers being rejected without review are because the work is not novel, despite being solid science with valid techniques, etc. Submission rates suggest that authors want to publish in ESA journals, and many of these papers currently being rejected could be the primary content of a new journal. There have been 80 submissions to ESA journals in the past week.

Would we risk diluting the prestige of ESA journals if our acceptance rate does increase? Aaron Ellison is concerned about how one big hurdle now to publication is just getting your paper reviewed (not rejected without review), and suggests that it’s not quality of the work that is behind many decisions not to review. We are currently rejecting about 1,800 papers per year, and publishing about 600 (not including Frontiers).

Cost for publishing in the new journal is expected to be about $1,250 (which is $100 less than PLoS ONE). PLoS journals don’t publish many ecological papers. Length restriction would be approximately the average (about 14 pages) for current papers inEcology and Ecological Applications, with an extra fee for longer papers.

There is substantial support for the concept among the Board members. A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the concept of a new online-only journal that will be open access, rapid publication, and author-pays. The Business office is asked to work on a business plan that investigates the implications of different numbers of papers per year (e.g., 100, vs. 250, vs. 500), and to confirm that the proposed $1,250 charge per paper is sufficient. The Publications Committee will be told that the Board can consider a revised proposal for a new electronic journal as soon as it is received (no need to wait until the May Board meeting). Don Strong will be asked to serve as Interim Editor until a new Editor-in-Chief is appointed by the Board. The Publications Committee will be asked to provide, as soon as feasible, suggestions for a title and suggest a set of candidates for Editor-in-Chief. Schimel and Jackson will generate a list of additional questions for the Publications Committee.

  • TIEE

The Education Section has proposed to produce Volume 7 of TIEE, limiting the content to Experiments, Data Sets, and Figure Sets.

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board appreciates and approves the proposal from the Education Section to produce Volume 7 of Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology (TIEE) as a volunteer effort. No commitment to future issues is assumed by the Board, as it is possible that the upcoming Ecology Summit may result in new ways to disseminate these educational articles at the national-international level.

  • Name change and new focus for the Millennium Fund (McCarter)

The Fund for the Future is proposed as a new name, with a focus on generating funds for student travel to the ESA Annual Meetings and for the SEEDS diversity program. The Development Committee and Past Presidents (at their luncheon at the last Annual Meeting) recommended these changes. It is suggested that we need to leave some flexibility in wording so that donations could be used for a variety of Society needs, some of which we can’t anticipate.

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the renaming of the Millennium Fund to The Fund for the Future, with student travel to the ESA Annual Meetings and support for the SEEDS program as current priorities for funding.

  • Millennium Conference Series (Mary Power)

Past President Nancy Grimm, who initiated the idea for this conference series, was very pleased with the outcome of the first one, this fall. She has suggested a name change, and suggests that it should be primarily the responsibility of the proposers to find funding for the conferences (i.e., not ESA). A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board is enthusiastic about continuing the Millennium conference series as a grass-roots opportunity for the membership to propose conference topics and collaborate with the ESA staff and Board on planning, organizing, and funding. A call for new topics will be issued every other year.

Suggestions were made for a new name for the Millennium Conference (until a sponsor takes a naming opportunity), including Emerging Issues in Ecology, the Founders Conference Series (maybe named after a founder), the President’s Conference Series, Sustainable Biosphere Conference Series. Consensus is that Emerging Issues Conference Series is a good idea (Emerging Issues Conference on …..).

November 18, 2008 (Meg Lowman, Bill Parton, Laura Huenneke not present)

Executive Session 8:30 AM, followed by continuation of the normal meeting with staff present.

  • Review of Editor-in-Chief Don Strong

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board is enthusiastic about approving the Publications Committee recommendation to reappoint Don Strong for another term as Editor-in-Chief of Ecologyfrom 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012.

  • Review of Editor-in-Chief Jill Baron

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the postponement of the review of Jill Baron as Editor-in-Chief of Issues in Ecology for a year, with an extension of her appointment until 31 December 2010.

  • Opening Plenary Speaker for the 2010 Annual Meeting (VP for Public Affairs Laura Huenneke joined the discussion by speaker phone).

An invitation has already been extended to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, and the Board endorsed the idea of also inviting NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco. The Board felt that it would be impractical to invite President Obama given the logistical and financial implications (minimum cost of $100,000).

  • ESA Centennial – Standing Committee suggestions

Sunny Power contacted ESA Standing Committees in January 2009 to invite them to consider how they might be involved in the celebration of ESA’s 100th anniversary in 2015. The Public Affairs Committee, Publications Committee, Education and Human Resources Committee, and Science Committee all made suggestions. The Historical Records Committee is currently without a Chair, but contributed some suggestions from their meeting in Albuquerque.

  • ESA Centennial Committee/Point Person (Centennial Czar)

Jim Collins and Alan Covich are suggested as candidates for the position of Committee Chair; President Power will contact them. The Committee itself would not be appointed for a couple of years.

  • Program Chair Incentives

It has been difficult to find program chairs for upcoming ESA meetings. The Meetings Committee has sent recommendations about possible incentives that could be offered to candidates, beyond what is already provided (complimentary registration and room, airfare and miscellaneous expenses, a letter to their administrators, and ESA staff support). The Board affirmed that the current incentives were appropriate and also were supportive of the suggestions made by the Committee to enlist their help in recruiting new program chairs; President Power will convey this to the Committee Chairs Kyoko Miyanishi and Scott Franklin.

  • Proposed position statement “Ecosystem Management in a Changing Climate”

ESA does not have a position statement on climate change, but has recent experience in developing one on economic growth. Four Rapid Response Team members worked with the Public Affairs staff to draft a proposed statement. The Board reviewed the proposed statement carefully, and while generally supportive of it and greatly appreciative of the work that went into it, provided extensive feedback to the Public Affairs Office for preparation of a revision. The Committee will revise the statement and circulate it to the Board for comment and a vote.

  • Theme for the 2011 Annual Meeting in Austin

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the proposal from Thomas Jurik, Program Chair for the 2011 Annual Meeting, for the theme “Planetary stewardship: Preserving and enhancing Earth’s life-support systems”.

  • Student Representation on the Governing Board

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board will invite the incoming and outgoing Chair of the Student Section to attend August meetings of the Board of Governors as non-voting participants.

  • Adjournment

Meeting is adjourned at 11:31 AM.

Submitted by David W. Inouye, Secretary

August 5, 2010

ESA Governing Board
August 5, 2010
Pittsburgh, PA

Members Present
Mary Power                Past-President
Terry Chapin               President
Steward Pickett          President-Elect
Bill Parton                   VP for Finance
Meg Lowman              VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham          Secretary
Andrea Lloyd             Member-at-Large

Guest:
Andrea Kuchy                        Vice-Chair, Student Section

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Cliff  Duke                  Director, Science Office
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers 
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs Office
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity Programs Office

Meeting called to order at 9:00 am by President Terry Chapin

I.  Information

            A.  2010-2011 Governing Board Meeting Dates 
Nov 4-5, 2010 new member orientation Friday afternoon
May 16-17, Washington DC

II. Planetary Stewardship Initiative

Terry Chapin reviewed discussions during the meeting on the Planetary Stewardship Initiative.  Those talks have focused on maintaining continuity during the 3 years of the terms of Mary Power, Terry Chapin, and Steward Pickett as President.  Another emphasis has been on engaging ESA Sections, and encouraging them to incorporate the Initiative in their own activities, with their particular expertise – specifically in their planning for symposia at the 2011 meetings.  There is a strong interest in engaging social scientists in the coming year, and then following with attention to the fields of design and other disciplines in the humanities. 

Terry proposed a series of organized oral sessions or symposia at the 2011 meeting bringing in environmental psychology and other social sciences to think about practicalities.  He also proposed encouraging similar symposia at other societies.   There was a suggestion to consider webcasts as a way to reach a wider/larger audience.

It was noted that the policy directions approved at the last board meeting for the Public Affairs programs dovetail nicely with the goals of Planetary Stewardship Initiative.

There was also discussion of how to link the goals of the Initiative with the ESA Centennial meeting in 2015.

Andrea Lloyd volunteered to serve as a Governing Board liason to the Centennial Committee to represent the Stewardship Initiative.

A number of potential products were considered: 

  • A high profile paper (or series of papers) ala sustainable biosphere initiative paper of 1991.
  • A list of groups/initiatives/efforts related to planetary stewardship – suggestion that this might be done by the student section, with help from the staff (and their many contacts at other organizations).
  • Mary Power is considering volunteering as Editor for a Planetary Stewardship Forum in the Bulletin (planning for forum pieces in 2 of the 4 issues a year).   She described a series of types of contributions she would like to see, including a photo novella.
  • Could Ecosphere play a role – through forum pieces, essays or contribution from other societies?
  • A publication in the Issues in Ecology series is another potential vehicle for communication.  The Human Ecology Section has been considering an Issue related to the Stewardship Initiative.

III. Discussion/Action

A.  Audit Committee

There are several members rotating off the committee.   Laura Huenneke is a continuing member, Charles Canham will serve, and Rob Jackson will be asked to serve.

B.  Feedback from Committee Meetings and Council

Registration was strong (and the music was good).  There was discussion of ways to encourage speakers to return to broader issues in the conclusions of their talks.

Meeting adjourned at 10:00

Minutes respectfully submitted,
Charles Canham, Secretary

August 1, 2010

ESA Governing Board: Minutes of the ESA Council
August 1, 2010
Pittsburgh, PA

Members Present:

Hal Balbach, David Baldwin, Romi Burks, Elizabeth Biggs, Charles Canham, Zoe Cardon, Terry Chapin, Carmen  Cid, Scott Collins, Phil Dixon, Cliff Duke, Scott Franklin, Deborah Goldberg, David Gooding, Peter Groffman, Stephen Hart, Laura Huenneke, Rob Jackson, Ed Johnson, Angela Kent, Mimi Lam, Meg Lowman, Nadine Lymn, Jude Maul, Katherine McCarter, George Middendorf, Kiyoko Miyanishi, Teresa Mourad, Juliana Mulroy, David Nelson, Yude Pan, Bill Parton, Deb Peters, Steward Pickett, Sunny Power, Mary Power, Sam Scheiner, Dave Schimel, Sue Silver, Robin Snyder, Emily Stanley, Donald Strong, Fabricio Villalobos, Terry Wheeler, and Anthony Yannarell

I.  Introduction and Announcements

The ESA Council meeting was called to order by President Mary Power. 

II. Report of the President and ESA Activities/Initiatives

Mary Power outlined a proposal for a new Policy Section, and reported on the launch of the new journal Ecosphere.  She reminded the Council of the upcoming 2015 Centennial, and encouraged members to contact Alan Covich with ideas.  She also noted that the Student Section has been the fastest growing section of the Society.

III. Presentation of the Budget

Bill Parton presented a summary of the 2010 - 2011 budget.  Laura Huenneke moved and Phil Dixon seconded a motion to approve the budget as presented.  The motion was approved unanimously.

IV. Vote to Establish the Natural History Section

Meg Lowman moved and Hal Balbeck seconded a motion to approve the formation of the Natural History Section.  The motion was approved unanimously by the Council.

V. Reports from Long Range Planning Grant Awardees

Reports from recipients of Long Range Planning Grants were distributed in the Annual Report to the Governing Council.  A representative from each group presented a brief summary of their activities.

A.  Applied Ecology Section
B.  Education Section
C.  Education and Human Resources Committee
D. Environmental Justice Section
E.  Mexico Chapter
F.  Microbial Ecology Section
G. Southwest Chapter
H. Student Section
I.  Traditional Ecological Knowledge

VI. Planetary Stewardship and Sections and Chapters

President-Elect Terry Chapin described the Planetary Stewardship Initiatives and encouraged Sections and Chapters to get involved.  

VII. Recognition of Governing Board Members Leaving the Board, and Introduction of New Governing Board Members

President Mary Power presented plaques recognizing the service of three Governing Board members who have completed their terms, and introduced incoming members of the Governing Board

VIII.  Announcements / New Business

Scott Franklin described efforts by the Historical Records Committee in preparation for the ESA Centennial.  

Meeting was adjourned at 4:00

Minutes respectfully submitted,
Charles Canham, Secretary

July 31 – August 1, 2010

ESA Governing Board
July 31 - August 1, 2010
Pittsburgh, PA

 

Members Present
Mary Power                President
Alison Power              Past-President
Terry Chapin               President-Elect
Laura Huenneke          VP for Public Affairs
Bill Parton                   VP for Finance
Rob Jackson                VP for Science
Meg Lowman              VP for Education and Human Resources (Sunday)
Debra Peters                Member-at-Large
Emily Stanley              Member-at-Large

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director 
Cliff  Duke                  Director, Science 
Elizabeth Biggs           Director, Finance
Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Nadine Lymn              Director, Public Affairs
David Baldwin           Managing Editor
Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Guests:
Charles Canham          Secretary-Elect
David Gooding           Publications Office
Rob Salgueero-Gomez                           Chair – Student Section
Don Strong                 Editor in Chief – Ecology  (Sunday)_
Frank Gilliam              Program Chair (Sunday)
Bill Michener              Dryad (Sunday)
Aaron Ellison              Associate Editor-in-Chief, Ecology and Ecological Monographs (Sunday)
Scott Collins               Chair, Publication Committee (Sunday)
Dave Schimel              Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Applications (Sunday)
Ed Johnson                 Editor, Bulletin  (Sunday)
Todd Vision                National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (Sunday)

Saturday, July 31 2010.  9:00 meeting is called to order.

I. Roll Call & Agenda

  • The Governing Board unanimously adopted the proposed agenda.
  • The electronic vote to approve the minutes of the May 2010 Governing Board meeting in Washington was unanimously ratified.
  • The electronic vote to approve the report of the Nominations Committee was unanimously ratified.

II. Reports

A.  Report of the President

Mary Power began with comments on her admiration for the staff and the board, and her pleasure in serving as President.   She described experience with stewardship of an 8,000 acre preserve in California.  She met Frank Lake, a steward at a preserve on the Klamath River, who told her that an article he published in the Bulletin had had a large impact on his career.  This suggests that we find a means to provide some form of peer-review for selected articles in the Bulletin.  Ed Johnson is interested in assisting.

B.  Report of the Executive Director and Staff

Katherine McCarter began with reminders of meetings during the week, and encouragement to consider a contribution to the Fund for the Future.  She then reviewed highlights of Society activities during the past year, including the launch of Ecosphere, the first Millennium Conference, and the society’s response to the Gulf oil spill.

Liz Biggs provided an update on Society finances, membership, and administration.  Finances for the year have been very close to budgeted, despite the difficult economic climate.  Attendance for the Pittsburgh meeting has been very good.  Library subscription revenue has been level – a very good sign given pressures on library budgets. Society membership is down slightly (5-10%), and she reviewed efforts to slow that trend.

Cliff Duke reported on activities in the Science Office. He called attention to activities related to last year’s Millennium Conference, including students from that conference who are attending this year’s meeting with support from the Conference budget.   The Vegetation Classification Panel received kudos for its continued hard work, in part with support from the US Forest Service.  He provided an update on an upcoming workshop on sustainability of biological infrastructure.

Teresa Mourad provided an update on the upcoming Ecology Education Summit in October.  Fundraising will be covered later in agenda.  The NEON Education initiative is going well, and a new K-12 program is off the ground in partnership with The Nature Conservancy.  An NSF proposal is moving forward in partnership with 3 other societies to support the Eco-Ed Digital library.  The SEEDS program continues to grow.  There was discussion of whether the program is overstretched.  Fundraising has been strong (30-50k/yr) but needs to be sustainable.   Mary Powers encouraged staff to develop relations with Howard Hughes Foundation

Sue Silver reviewed the status of Frontiers.  The publication backlog has been reduced dramatically – from 13 months to roughly 6 months.  As a result, acceptance rates have been allowed to rise slightly.  Page charges have been instituted to contribute to the financial support of the journal.  The journal ranking is currently in second place in environmental science and fourth in the Ecology categories of JCR.

David Baldwin reported on activities in the Publication Office.  The backlog at Ecology has been reduced, largely because of higher rejection rates, resulting in a roughly 5-6 month backlog.  The backlog at Applications is longer (roughly 8 months).  Innovations in the past year include (1) preprints available online (complete with doi) and (2) Aaron Ellison has instituted a new review category in Monographs.  The startup of the new journal Ecosphere is on schedule – a remarkable achievement given the short time involved.  David credited a strong effort from staff at Allen Press.  The first papers in the new journal have already been published.   

Submission rates to existing journals are up slightly over 2008 to ~ 2350 manuscripts a year.  Acceptance rates have leveled off at roughly 25% (14% at Monographs).   The Publication Office doesn’t anticipate any supplemental issues in 2010, but expect 2 in 2011.

Nadine Lymn reviewed the activities of the Public Affairs Office, beginning with media expected to attend the meeting in Pittsburgh, and those expected to cover the meeting remotely.  She will be blogging from the meeting, and encouraged Board members to contribute.  At the encouragement of President Mary Power and President Elect Terry Chapin, the office organized a workshop on getting engaged in local/regional issues.  Staff are preparing a Policy Handbook to assist members who want to be more engaged in policy issues.  There was considerable discussion of how to get regional sections more engaged in policy issues.

C.  Report of the Vice President for Finance

Bill Parton and Katherine McCarter reviewed 4th quarter financials.   Bill reviewed the status of endowment funds (close to $1M currently).  There was discussion of both the strength of the finances and the diligent efforts to rebuild the endowment and build the unrestricted fund.

D. Planetary Stewardship

Mary Power and Terry Chapin led a discussion of the Planetary Stewardship initiative.  There are a number of Society activities related to the initiative, involving both annual meetings and activities of sections.   Terry led a discussion of the psychology of climate change and human perceptions of risk.  Mary mentioned the importance of interfacing with communication efforts by Society staff.  Partnerships with other societies working on environmental change are also important.  Sections could play an important role in this, through their disciplinary ties to other societies.  There was discussion of tradeoffs between influencing management at a local scale versus influencing macro policy at the federal level.  There was also discussion of the impact of societal investments in physical infrastructure.   How can we be engaged at both local and national levels in decisions about the built environment (and its impacts on sustainability of ecosystems)?  Terry mentioned the potential impact of introducing ecological courses in the curricula for undergraduate students in K-12 education programs.   There is need to identify specific audiences for our messages, and to target audiences appropriately.    There was discussion of ways to expand the reach of Frontiers to resource managers (expanding the subscription base).

 

E.  Emerging Issues Conference

The topic of the next Emerging Issues Conference will be “Developing Ecologically-based Conservation Targets Under Global Change”.  There are regular conference calls involving conference organizers and ESA staff.  A preliminary budget is being prepared.  Fundraising efforts will begin this fall.    

F.  Ecology Education Summit

Teresa Mourad reviewed the status of pending proposals to support the 2010 Ecology and Education Summit.  The event will be held October 14-15, 2010 at the NEA headquarters in Washington.  One of the major goals of the summit is the formulation of a decadal plan for ecology education nationally.  The theme of the summit is “Environmental Literacy for a Sustainable World”.   Keynote speakers include Will Seeger (arctic explorer).

G.  EcoSummit 2012  

Mary Power gave an update on discussions with Bill Mitch about an ESA role as a co-sponsor of the 2012 EcoSummit.  There has not yet been a formal letter of commitment from ESA to serve as primary US host.  Cliff Duke will be the staff representative on the Scientific Planning Committee.  An academic representative will also be named.

III. Discussion and Action Items

A.  New Policy Section Proposal

Laura Huenneke reviewed the proposal to establish a Policy Section.  A Statement of Purpose, Bylaws, and a list of names from a petition in support of the new chapter were distributed in the Board packet.  Actual approval requires action of the Council, after a 60 day review period.  Alison Power moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion to recommend establishment of the new section.  The motion was approved unanimously.

B.  FY 2010-2011 ESA Budget  

1.  Approval of Budget (recommendation to Council)

Elizabeth Biggs and Katherine McCarter led a discussion of the budget presented to the Board at the May 2010 meeting.   Bill Parton moved and Rob Jackson seconded a motion to recommend approval of the budget to the Council meeting on Aug. 1, 2010.  The motion carried unanimously.

2.  Long Range Planning Grants

Each year the budget normally includes $10,000 for long-range planning grants.  Members at Large typically serve as a review committee for proposals from sections, chapters and committees to use these funds.  Alison Power moved and Emily Stanley seconded a motion to appoint the Members at Large as the review committee for the coming year.  That motion carried unanimously.  Mary Power then moved and Emily Stanley seconded a motion to make this appointment permanent.  That motion carried unanimously.

3.  Board Strategic Initiatives

The proposed FY 2010-2011 budget includes $10,000 for Board Strategic Initiatives.  The Board reviewed a list – generated during the May, 2010 meeting - of potential uses of those funds.  There was also discussion of a new proposal to use the funds for a member survey.  Governing Board should have input in the focus of the survey.    

Alison Power moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion that funds for travel by the President of the Mexican Ecological Society to the 2011 meeting in Austin be included in the budget for that meeting.

The Board also considered a request for support for a meeting by the Historical Records Committee, and will ask the committee for further information, with a recommendation that they apply for a Long Range Planning Grant.  The issue was tabled pending further discussion.

Laura Huenneke moved and Terry Chapin seconded a motion to approve use of Board Strategic Initiative Funds for a member survey, with details of the survey and the nature of the involvement of the Governing Board to be determined.  The motion carried unanimously.  Terry Chapin (volunteer) and Josh Schimel (recommended in absentia) were proposed as the Governing Board members to provide input to this process.

4.  Discussion of Council Presentation
There was a brief discussion of issues to be highlighted in the presentation of the budget to the full Council.  Issues included drawing attention to planning for the Centennial meeting in 2015.

C.  Board of Professional Certification Recommendations

The Board of Professional Certification has made five recommendations for changes to the certification process.  The 5 proposals were:

  • Require that all applicants for the Senior Ecologist certification level have a graduate degree
  • Require that all applicants be ESA members at the time of application
  • Require that all non-streamlined applications include a transcript (unofficial transcript accepted)
  • Establish a streamlined process for Recertification for applicants holding a Master’s degree who have been previously certified as a Senior Ecologist at least once.
  • Require that applicants clearly identify which courses fulfill the certification-required introduction to population, community and ecosystem areas of ecological inquiry for all coursework.

There was concern with the proposed requirement that applicants for Senior Ecologist have a graduate degree.  The board feels that extensive experience in the field is a reasonable way to achieve the desired comprehensive training required for Senior Ecologist certification.

There was also concern expressed about the requirement that all applicants be ESA members at the time of application.

The Governing Board would like additional information from the Board of Professional Certification about the first two proposals before voting on them.

Mary Power moved and Laura Huenneke seconded a motion that the Governing Board approves proposals #3, #4, and #5 above.  The motion carried unanimously.

D.  Membership Data

Elizabeth Biggs presented an analysis prepared by staff of trends in membership from 2003 -2009, broken down in various categories.   This led to a wide-ranging discussion of the causes and implications of the patterns, particularly in the membership trends within Sections.  The Student Section has shown particularly strong growth in recent years, and there was discussion encouraging more student participation in other sections. 

E.  Nominations / Underrepresented Groups

The difficulties faced this year in finding female applicants for ESA board positions prompted a discussion of efforts to attract under-represented groups to Board service.   There was a suggestion that this could be done by encouraging involvement in Society activities and committees at early stages in career development, including service on standing committees.  Another suggestion was to raise this issue at the SEEDS leadership meetings.  Yet another suggestion was to contact officers in Sections for nominations based on experience in Section leadership.

F.  Yearly Policy Priorities 

The Public Affairs Office, in consultation with the Public Affairs Committee, has submitted a set of recommended public policy priorities for the coming year.  These priorities are intended to guide the staff and Society, but they are not intended to preclude action on other items.  The policy priorities fall in 6 broad areas:  (1) Gulf of Mexico oil accident, (2) climate change and adaptation, (3) energy, (4) infrastructure impacts on ecosystems, (5) water quality and quantity, and (6) science education.

Laura Huenneke moved and Terry Chapin seconded a motion to approve the list of priorities.  The motion carried unanimously.

 

G. Carbon / Environmental Offsets

The Board reviewed the process for selecting organizations that receive contributions from the carbon/environmental offset funds.  Discussion focused on the balance of the split between local and national programs, and procedures for recommending specific programs to receive the funds.

Mary Power moved and Emily Stanley seconded a motion that all the funds be used for local programs recommended by the Local Host and Meeting Committee.  Their recommendations should highlight ways that the proposed recipients will offset environmental impacts specific to our location.  The motion passed unanimously.   

H.  EiC for Ecosphere (Executive Session with D. Strong and Staff)

A motion was made and seconded to appoint Debra Peters to a 3 year term as Editor-in-Chief of Ecosphere.

I.  New Business

There was discussion of a proposal that the President’s address to the Annual Meeting come at the beginning rather than the end of their term.  

Motion was made and seconded to appoint Rob Jackson to a 1-year term as Vice-President for Science from 2010 - 2011.   This appointment will fill the position being vacated by Debra Peters’ appointment to a term as Editor-in-Chief of Ecosphere until a new Vice-President for Science can be elected to fill out the remaining two years of the term.

J. 2010 Annual Meeting

Frank Gilliam gave an update on the 2010 meeting.   He began by acknowledging the efforts of ESA staff.  Abstract submission has been higher than last-year’s meeting in Albuquerque, and registration has also been strong.  A new feature this year is grouping posters into Organized Poster Sessions.

K.  Dryad

Bill Michener gave a presentation on Dryad, a repository for data associated with publications in the biological sciences.  Archiving of data in Dryad is designed to be implemented in conjunction with article publication, and potentially as a requirement for publication.  Under a proposed Joint Data Archiving Policy, authors may elect to embargo access to the data for a period up to a year after publication.   Dryad has three different subscription plans with different costs to the member journals (including one plan where all costs are borne by the authors).  The issue will be discussed further at the November 2010 Governing Board meeting.

L.  Ecosphere Update

David Baldwin gave an update on the launch of Ecosphere.  The launch took place on schedule, thanks to enormous effort by staff at both ESA and Allen Press.  The first article has already appeared online.  He emphasized the focus on rapid publication.  There was extensive discussion of ways to ensure this.

M. Publications Meetings

1.  Publications Committee

Scott Collins congratulated the staff and Governing Board for going from the idea for Ecosphere to the first published paper in essentially 1 year.   He also reviewed their interactions with Dryad over the past year. 

2.  Ecology

Don Strong reviewed efforts during the past year to bring down the publication backlog.  The efforts have been successful at reducing the backlog from over 1 year to less than 6 months. 

3.  Ecological Monographs

Aaron Ellison summarized trends in submissions at Monographs over the past year.  Paper lengths are up slightly, and reviews are now being published.   He emphasized the need to continue to prepare for transition to paperless publications.

4.  Ecological Applications

Dave Schimel noted that Applications has also faced the issues associated with very high submission rates.  He mentioned his desire to see more synthesis papers rather than sets of articles in special features.  He also noted significant expansion of particular subject areas, particularly in marine sciences.   Another area of rapid expansion has been the application of theory to the design of conservation systems.

5.  ESA Bulletin

Ed Johnson mentioned efforts to use the Bulletin to facilitate preparation for the Society’s Centennial in 2015.

6.  Frontiers in Ecology and Environment

Sue Silver reviewed highlights from the past year at Frontiers.  As with the other journals, there was a successful effort to reduce the publication backlog.  In contrast to the other journals, Frontiers is quite interested in appropriate special features.   One challenge has been the requirement that the contributors raise the funding for a special issue.  There was discussion of ongoing efforts to increase the number of library subscriptions to Frontiers.

Meeting adjourned at 11:35 am, August 1, 2010

Minutes respectfully submitted,
Charles D. Canham, Secretary

May 2010

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board 
May 17-18, 2010
Washington, D.C.

Members Present: Mary Power (President), Sunny Power (Past-President), Terry Chapin (Past-President-Elect), David Inouye (Secretary), Josh Schimel (Member-at-Large), Laura Huenneke (VP for Public Affairs), Bill Parton (VP for Finance), Emily Stanley (Member-at-Large), Rob Jackson (VP for Science). Guest - Charles Canham, Secretary-Elect.

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter (Executive Director), Cliff Duke (Director of Science), Elizabeth Biggs (Director of Finance), Sue Silver (Editor), Nadine Lymn (Director of Public Affairs), David Baldwin (Publications). Teresa Mourad (Education and Diversity) joined the meeting after lunch on Tuesday.

Monday 17 May 2010. 9:00 meeting is called to order.

I. Roll Call & Agenda

  • The Governing Board unanimously adopted the proposed agenda.
  • The minutes from November 2009 were unanimously adopted.
  • The Climate Statement (approved previously by e-mail) was ratified. 

II. Reports

  • Report of President Power
  • She had a wonderful time at the SEEDS retreat, was impressed with the setting, agenda, science, and students. There is a lot of mentoring of younger students by the older students students and recently fledged young professionals.  SEEDS folk have initiated “SNAPS”, SEEDS Network of Alumni and Professionals” to capture and focus the intense intergenerational loyalty inspired by the program.  The SEEDS retreat participants also visited  the REAL School, a science program for under-served re-entry students at Redwood High School in the South Bay, led by Cynthia Wilber and Rudolfo Dirzo.
  • ESA reaction to the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  Mary contacted Student Section chair Rob Salguero Gomez (at U. Pennsylvania), who contacted a SEEDS leader (and alum), graduate student (Jorgé Ramos at University of Washington).  Power  suggested that they help organize background information useful to ecologists and managers on the front line of the spill, and she put them in touch with colleagues in Florida and Louisiana, (Felicia Coleman and Robert Twilley, respectively, both of whom serve on ESA’s Rapid Response Team for the BP Spill.  Rob and Jorge seized the initiative and, with help from the Univ. of California Natural Reserve System and ESA Web master Zaw Aung, are  organizing an online searchable metadata database of previous field research in coastal areas that are or may be affected by the ongoing oil spill. Rob and Jorge’s leadership here has been inspiring.  The Ecological Archives might be an appropriate home for this database, which should prove useful for scientists and managers dealing with the aftermath of the spill over the coming decades. 
  • Bill Mitsch, leading the Consortium for Aquatic Science Societies, invited ESA to join in their planned EcoSummit in Columbus, Ohio in 2012, which is still under discussion.

An ESA media advisory went out the day after the BP oil rig accident letting the Press know about Rapid Response Team members who could be resources. 

There may be an opportunity for ESA members in the damage assessment process, based on experience of the Exxon Valdez experience. Maybe an article in Frontiers about legal aspects of specimens used for evidence would be appropriate. 

The luncheon for Rapid Response Team members at the Annual Meeting would be a good opportunity for getting feedback from RRT members about how ESA can help them when they are called upon for their expertise. 

There may be an opportunity to get out messages about the long-term ecological consequences of the spill, and the cost of cleaning up the accident compared to funding for renewable (or clean) energy sources.  Why are we in reactionary rather than proactive mode so often with high-impact, low probability events? 

  • Report of Executive Director McCarter and the Office Staff
  • Things are looking stable for this year in terms of library subscriptions, and the slight decline in membership was expected. Exciting events include planning for the new journal, Ecosphere.  The Development Committee met and we’ll consider their report at this meeting.  Cliff and Katherine met with Ford Foundation recently to explore possible funding ideas.
  • Cliff Duke – Printed copies of the new Issues in Ecology, about carbon sequestration, should be available later today (it’s already available on the ESA Web site).  Four documents are available now from the Biofuels conference, and a fifth (synthesis) is in preparation.
  • Teresa Mourad – She is looking forward to the 2011 SEEDS annual meeting in Washington state.  Packard Foundation approached her about applying for a $150,000 grant from internal funding from their grants officers. She’s trying to develop new contacts within Dept. of Interior (facilitated in part by a SEEDS alumna).  There will be a summer institute in NC related to forest ecology that will include SEEDS students.  New projects include a climate change education partnership (working with Terry Chapin), focused on pre-service students (undergraduate students training to be teachers). Another new project is to upgrade education resources that can be shared (images, tables, data, syllabi), and a data visualization tool.  TNC received funding from the Toyota Foundation for their urban youth program, to create a network of environmentally-themed high schools, starting with one in New York City, and asked the ESA Education program to start working with them 1 June. Some of the teachers will attend the Annual Meeting. A green jobs fair will be one sub-project.
  • Nadine Lymn –  Katie Kline, new Communications Officer, has continued development of the EcoTone blog.  Piper Corp is entering a Ph.D. program in scientific rhetoric after the Annual Meeting.
  • Liz Biggs – we are still financially stable, in part thanks to the library subscriptions remaining flat (we had budgeted for a decline).  Membership is down about 5% over the past year.  Estimate is that 3,200 will register for the Annual Meeting.
  • Sue Silver – has commissioned an editorial for the June issue about the Gulf oil spill. August issue of Frontiers will be the special issue about scientific communication about environmental controversies.  The backlog is declining, due to the >84% rejection rate (70% without review).  Page charges are now being charged for papers starting this year (except for commissioned papers and Special Issues that are funded).  The journal is on track to be self-sustaining in another two years (10 years after starting it).  The option of accepting papers that would only be published electronically was considered but rejected, in part because readers (even students) said they were less likely to read electronic-only articles (a model that American Naturalist has tried). 
  • David Baldwin – The increased rejection rate has led to a decline since the last Annual Meeting from 11 months to 6.5 months in the publication lag. Both May issues of Monographs and Ecology are out.  They have hired a new person (Ellen Cotter) to help shepherd the new journal into implementation. 
  • Report of Vice President for Finance
    • First Quarter Financials (Parton and McCarter)

The budget is in good shape at present ($348,000 in the black), and we expect the fiscal year to end with a positive balance. As of a few weeks ago our investments (with Townley Investment) were back up to where they were two years ago. 

  • Planetary Stewardship (Power/Chapin)

Mary solicited 11 people to write about their individual projects promoting planetary stewardship at local to regional scales for the current issue of the Bulletin, and all followed through, providing the 11 boxed reports in the current article. An ongoing ESA Bulletin form is being planned and Ed Johnson is considering steps to have sections for this forum peer reviewed.
The larger goal is to turn around society’s relationship with the environment.  How can ESA foster this?  Mobilizing members through sections and section leadership is one opportunity. The Council meeting may be a venue to encourage this.  There may be opportunities for the ESA staff to identify appropriate projects. 

III. Discussion / Action Items

  • Report of the Audit Committee (Jackson/Schimel (Stanley was sick))

A few minor issues were flagged by the accounting company, and in general they were complimentary about the Society’s bookkeeping practices.  
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the report of the Audit Committee.

  • Proposed 2010-2011 ESA Budget (Parton/McCarter/Biggs)
      • Budget and Budget Assumptions

The proposed budget anticipates a balanced budget for the Fiscal Year 2010-2011. Assumptions include a projected 5% drop in membership in 2010 (there was discussion about what is behind this drop and how to reverse it) but membership is expected to remain flat in 2011, that dues will increase by 2%, library subscriptions will remain flat in 2011 (with 30% begin on-line only), and there will be a 15% drop in member subscriptions. Income and expenses for the new journal have been included, and an estimate for income from the Annual Meeting has been generated.  There are no capital expenses projected, and a $50,000 commitment to the reserve fund is included.  There is a 2% cost-of-living and 2% merit pool for staff.  A contract for development of a Planned Giving Program is included ($2,000).  Expenses for Governing Board meetings at the Annual Meeting, a President’s budget, travel ($1,000) for Council of Scientific Society Presidents meeting, and one meeting each for five committees are budgeted. The Board compliments the staff for keeping the Society in such good fiscal health. 

2. Proposal for the Board Strategic Initiatives funds
There was discussion about the idea of providing free registration to the Annual Meeting for speakers who are invited to make presentations.  Historically a few waivers are granted every year, primarily for people who would not otherwise come to the meeting.  
The Historical Records Committee has asked for funding for a meeting, as they start to prepare for the Centennial.  The request for sending a Board member to the South American chapter meeting in Brazil next August could fall into this funding category. 
A follow-up in a few years of the ecological effects of the Gulf oil spill, maybe in conjunction with a 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez spill, could be a possibility of future use of this funding category.  Maybe an Issues in Ecology in the next year or two; assumptions about how best to deal with a large oil spill are being used for management decisions, but are the lessons from previous spills being incorporated?  
There is some support for the idea of letting funds accumulate for a future larger expenditure.  
Follow-up to strategic planning discussions might be another possibility. 

Break for lunch. 

  • Fund for the Future (Parton)

The Development Committee met a few weeks ago to discuss plans for the Fund.  A couple of Committee members who are former Board members suggested they would like to have an option of giving unrestricted money, rather than just designated for student travel or SEEDS, and suggested adding an “Opportunity Fund” option under the Fund for the Future.  
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the addition of the “Opportunity Fund” as a third option within the Fund for the Future.

  • Sustainable Business Plan (Schimel)

The Sustainable Business Plan Working Group has four suggestions for the Board:

  • Develop open-access author-pays journals (already underway with Ecosphere);
  • Conduct small conferences that generate revenue;
  • Produce Webinar programs, perhaps related to conferences or public affairs training;
  • Broaden the membership base, perhaps to NGO or other non-academic groups.

The survey sent to student members did not result in any particularly good insights.

Are there some sub-disciplines that the ESA has lost from its membership and journals? Who would be good point people to contact/increase those audiences?  Could small conferences be targeted both for making money and for broadening our membership? 

Is there a way to use the idea of certification (attractive to students) to provide content for a price?  What audiences have continuing education requirements?  E.g., pesticide applicators, land use/zoning boards.  Sue Silver’s seminars on how to publish in scientific journals have been successful in Asia, and she recently presented one to a group of about 45 postdocs and graduate students at Virginia Tech. 

  • Emerging Issues Conference [minutes recorded by Canham as Inouye had a conflict]

Two proposals received very positive reviews, and the committee felt that each, with some modification, could lead to successful conferences.  There was discussion of two options (a) to request revised proposals from both groups, or (b) to select one now, but still request revisions to that proposal.  Discussion favored option (b) to avoid delays. 

Committee and staff were encouraged by the quality of all 5 proposals.  There was discussion of the format of the proposals, and whether more detail should be allowed/provided.  The current format was considered suitable. 

The Board will ask for clarification from Blossey and Sax about several issues related to both content and organization, but pending satisfactory responses from them, supports their proposal for the next Emerging Issues Conference.  The Board will ask Committee Chair Monica Turner to compose the letter to Blossey and Sax, and letters to the authors of the other proposals, based on the language in the committee report. Bronstein et al., in particular, should be encouraged to resubmit this proposal next time; that topic might also be a good symposium at an Annual Meeting.

There needs to be a member of the Governing Board as a member of the organizing committee.  
Incoming VP for Science Deb Peters will be asked to serve in this role.

  • Public Affairs Committee mid-term review (Huenneke/Lymn)

Committee membership has been quite stable in recent years, and has included Laura Huenneke as Chair, Angela Bednarek, Cheryl Dybas, David Goldston, Liz Harp, and Marcia Wolfe.  Efforts are under way to recruit a few new members now (e.g., Marcia Wolfe, from the consulting arena).

Recent activities have included:

  • Reviewed two ESA position statements
    • Ecological Impacts of Economic Activity (2009); which had unique challenges and time requirements
    • Ecosystem management in a Changing Climate (2010)
  • Joint meeting with ESA Science Committee
  • Identified newsworthy Annual Meeting abstracts
  • Sponsored symposium (2009)
    • Global sustainability in the face of uncertainty:  How to translate more effectively Ecological Knowledge to Policy Makers, Managers, and the Public
  • Opening Plenary – selecting and facilitating speaker

2009 Sandra Postel, Director, Global Water Policy Project “Strategies to sustain Earth’s freshwater ecosystems”

  • ESA Regional Policy Award

2009 Senator Tom Udall (D-NM)
“For outstanding record of informing decision-making with ecological science”

  • ESA Policy Handbooks
    • Goal is to help ecologists identify opportunities to connect their knowledge to public issues
    • Will include chapters on:
      • General “how-tos” & resources
      • Opportunities to interact with the media
      • White House and federal agencies
      • Congress
      • Review of major environmental legislation
      • State level
      • ESA member anecdotes

Observations and Opportunities (Huenneke)

  • Greater cooperation and coordination with Science Office and Science Committee
  • Potential engagement of broader membership in direct action on policy (Brad Smith, ACS, guest at PAC meeting) – ACS uses social media in many ways now with its membership, e.g., getting them to contact elected representatives.
  • SEEDS students incorporating policy engagement as an element in Leadership Retreats
  • Private sector potentially crucial arena for engagement, but no point of contact yet.

Public Affairs Office (Lymn)

Staff:
Nadine Lymn, Director
Piper Corp, Science Policy Analyst
Katie Kline, Communications Officer

Public Affairs Office Media and policy activities often feature contributions and participation by ESA’s Rapid Response Teams.

Media Policy
Press releases 
Ecotone (blog)
Field talk (podcast)
Press room at annual meeting
Communications training
Media inquiries
Policy News
Position statements
Ecologist goes to WA (podcast)
Cong. briefings & field trips
Policy training
Letters & Action Alerts

The Ecologist Moves to Washington – Making Science Policy a Career
            An example of introduction to a podcast: Some ecologists have taken time from their academic work to share their share their expertise with policymakers; others have made a career out of it. Four years ago, Dr. Jay Gulledge left academia to join the Pew Center on Global Climate Change as the Senior Scientist and Program Manager for Science and Impacts. Here he discusses the transition and the range of options that DC offers for promoting and disseminating science.

Public Affairs podcasts:  Field Talk
            An example of a Field Talk podcast:  Arctic shrubs looming large: Climate change and tundra productivity

EcoTone - the ESA blog

In April 2009, the blog received an average of 387 unique visitors and 2,491 page views per day.  This April it averaged 636 visitors and 4,135 page views daily, about a 60% increase in overall traffic.

Press Releases:  Top Hits with Media

  • Ecologists Identify Birds Struck in Hudson River Crash as Migratory Canada Geese (FIEE)
  • Transporting Juvenile Salmon Hinders Adult Migration (EA)
  • Ecologists Propose First Prevention for White-nose Syndrome Death in Bats (FIEE)
  • Declining Alaskan Sea Otters Affect Bald Eagles’ Diet (ECOL)
  • Polarized Light Pollution Leads Animals Astray (FIEE)
  • Fake cod article from FIEE is the current hot topic.

Coverage includes:
            BBC World News, Science, The New York Times, Associated Press, Reuters, CNN, LA Times, Denver Post, Scientific American, Discovery News, National Geographic News, and many others.

Letters, Action Alerts, Policy News Updates

  • About a dozen letters on topics of importance to ecological community from science collections to water planning
  • Action alerts to targeted members ranging from pending legislation to assisting with Gulf oil disaster assessments
  • ESA Policy News on key environmental policy developments

            About a dozen letters on topics of importance to ecological community from science collections to water planning

Action alerts to targeted members ranging from pending legislation to assisting with Gulf oil disaster assessments

ESA Policy News on key environmental policy developments

Briefings and Field Trips
            Water resources in the West (2009)
            Environmental Observatories (2009) with NEON, inc.
            Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation (2010) with AAAS and other organizations

Policy and Media Training
            e.g., session last summer at the Annual Meeting with a panel of media experts who gave feedback to participants as they pitched their research to the panel. It was popular, and will be repeated this summer. 
            A growing number of scientific groups are asking for help with media training. (There could be some opportunity to generate income doing this.) 

ESA Graduate Student Policy Awards 
            Two to four graduate students are brought to Washington, DC each year for training and to make visits to Capitol Hill. 

Upcoming Activities
            Congressional field trip to Baltimore Ecosystem study, June 2010 (hosted by President-Elect Pickett)
            Policy & Media Training (e.g., for some of the ESA Board later this week)
            Policy handbook
            Possible event associated with Gulf oil disaster

Rapid Response Team
            Continues to be a great resource for the PAO. 

  • Regional Policy Award (Huenneke / Lymn)

Two nominees were tied for the third annual Regional Policy Award and the Board reviewed the details of both nominees:  A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the choice of Mayor Fetterman to receive the Regional Policy Award.

  • Natural History Section

A petition with 92 signatures (two of which were duplicates and 43 of which turned out not to be ESA members, but have been solicited by Secretary Inouye to join) was received.  Four additional Board members added their names so the requisite 50 votes were received.  A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board agrees to send the proposal for the new Section to the Council at the Annual Meeting.

  • EcoSummit 2012 

The meeting is proposed for September 30 – 5 October 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.  This would be the 4th EcoSummit, and ESA had a presence at the previous one in China.  Bill Mitsch is Program Chair and has approached ESA to explore a possible role, which could include being on the planning committee or serving as the US host.  There was discussion about the potential costs and benefits of participation.  It was pointed out that 8 of the 12 members of the International Scientific Committee are editors of Elsevier journals.  Mary Power, Terry Chapin and Katherine McCarter will call Mitsch with a request for some additional information about details of the proposed partnership.  Alan Covich, a member of their Scientific Committee, will also be asked for an opinion. 

  • Report of the Awards Committee

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the list of award nominations from the ESA Awards Committee. 

  • New Journal

We now have a hold with the Library of Congress on the name “Ecosphere”.  
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves name Ecosphere for the new electronic journal. 

A ‘cover page’ for the journal has been designed to add to the Publications Web landing page.  The mission statement has been refined:

The Scope of the new journal is as broad as the science of ecology itself.  The journal welcomes submissions from all sub-disciplines of ecology and interdisciplinary studies.  The journal’s goal is to provide a rapid-publication, online-only, open access alternative to ESA’s other journals, while maintaining the rigorous standards of peer review for which ESA publications are renowned.

There will be volume numbers but page numbering will start with 1 for each paper. The editor(s) will probably continue to reject some submissions without review.  A call for papers will be issued at the next Annual Meeting. We hope to have an Editor-in-Chief chosen by the fall, as new submissions start to arrive (the first papers will be drawn from the existing pool of accepted papers from the other ESA journals).  Don Strong will serve as Interim Editor-in-Chief, to get the journal up and running. 

Given that we will be encouraging all authors of papers in Ecosphere to become ESA members (through the reduced publication fee for members), we should consider the expense of mailing Frontiers to a large number of international members (anticipating that there will be many international authors submitting papers).  A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: Beginning in 2011 we will provide Frontiers to international members of the ESA via free online access.

Publications office is having weekly meetings about the new journal, and meetings are also set up with other people and organizations (e.g., Allen Press) that will be involved.  A two-page flow chart of steps that need to be taken in this process, with target dates, has been created.  New servers have been delivered, EcoTrack software is being installed now by Allen Press, and they will be ready soon.  Discussions are underway with Thompson-Reuters about getting the journal indexed ASAP, with an eye toward having an impact factor generated in three years.  The plan is to publish the first papers in July, with an official launch and call for papers at the Annual Meeting.  The Public Affairs Office has made plans to send announcements to ESA members, issue press releases, ESA will also have a table at the ESA booth at the Annual Meeting, notify institutional subscribers, host a reception at the ESA Headquarters, etc. 

  • Board Vacancy

A vacancy for a Member-at-Large on the Board has been created by Deb Peters’ move to Vice President for Science.  The Board asked the two current members who will leave the Board this year if they would be willing to extend their service another year, and both agreed.  Josh Schimel was selected to fill the vacancy. 

  • Annual Meeting Issues

 

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: Lee Frelich is approved as Local Host for the 2013 Annual Meeting, and thanked for his willingness to serve. 

The Local Host for the Pittsburgh Annual Meeting has recommended designating the Center for Sustainable Landscapes Development Fund at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Garden as recipient for funding from the carbon offset project.  A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the recommendation from the Pittsburg Local Hosts to designate the Center for Sustainable Landscapes Development Fund at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanic Garden as recipient for funding from the carbon offset project.

After some discussion about carbon offset funding:

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved with one vote against, to reallocate all of the carbon offset funding to the choice of the local hosts, rather than splitting it between the local choice and national groups.  The current national groups will be reviewed in August when the issue will be revisited for the 2011 annual meeting.

  • Report of the Nominations Committee (Sunny Power)

Garth Redfield, Andrew Burton, Janet McFall, and Kenneth Klemow have agreed to run for the Board of Professional Certification. The remainder of the slate is currently incomplete, and will be announced soon (and future Past-Presidents are warned to start early on the task of assembling a slate of nominees!). 

  • South America Chapter Request for Support

South America Chapter Chair, Juan Armesto, has asked ESA to support travel of two individuals to the bi-national meeting of the ecological societies of Chile and Argentina, in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 8-13, 2010.  One of these would be a Board member, and the other a member of the Editorial Office or Publications Committee for a workshop about publishing. The fact that this meeting follows immediately our own Annual Meeting makes it unlikely a current Board member would be able to go. An AGU meeting is happening about the same time in Iguazu, and Rob Jackson volunteers to contact some recent ESA Board members who may be going to the AGU meeting to see if they would be willing to attend the Buenos Aires meeting as well.  We will suggest using Skype as a way to have someone from the Editorial Office or Publications Committee participate in the publications workshop, and look for an appropriate (perhaps Spanish-speaking) volunteer. 

            A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves funding up to $3,000 for a recent ESA Board member attending the AGU meeting in Iguazu in August to attend the meeting of the ecological societies of Chile and Argentina.   

  • New Business

NSF announced that around October 2010, it will require that all grant proposals include a data management plan in the form of a two-page supplementary document that will be subject to peer review. This step is part of the agency's efforts to address how best to make government-funded research accessible to the public. Bill Michener is on the Board for Dryad, “a permanent, stable, curated and updated online repository for … data”, based at NESCENT, and has sent a prospectus about Dryad to the ESA.  ESA could endorse their Joint Data Archiving Policy, become a partner, encourage authors to archive their data, appoint a representative to their Board, and implement an agreement of cooperation to integrate the journal’s manuscript system with Dryad’s data submission process.  

Michener will present a proposal to the Board at the August meeting about formalizing a relationship to Dryad. 

Meeting is adjourned at 12:00 noon. 

Submitted by David W. Inouye, Secretary

November 2008

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board 
November 18-19, 2008 
Washington , DC

Members Present: Sunny Power (President), Mary Power (President-Elect), Norm Christensen (Past-President), Laura Huenneke (VP for Public Affairs), Meg Lowman (VP for Education and Human Resources), Bill Parton (VP for Finance), David Inouye (Secretary), Josh Schimel (Member-at-Large), Emily Stanley (Member-at-Large), Ann Kinzig (Member-at-Large). Rob Jackson (VP for Science) arrives at lunch.

Staff Present:
Katherine McCarter (Executive Director), Cliff Duke (Director of Science), Elizabeth Biggs (Director of Finance), Sue Silver (Editor), Teresa Mourad (Director of Education), Nadine Lymn (Director of Public Affairs), Ramona Crawford (Development), David Baldwin (Publications).

Tuesday 18 November 2007. 9:05 meeting is called to order.

I. Roll Call & Agenda

  • The Governing Board unanimously adopted the proposed agenda.
  • The minutes from 2, 3, and 8 August 2008 were unanimously adopted.

II. Reports

  • Report of President Power
  • “I made it through the first three months of presidency!”.
  • During Board orientation yesterday, there was discussion about one issue President Power would like to pursue:  understanding the demographics of our membership, which has implications for attendance at the annual meeting (e.g., many people only come to one, and don’t return), fund raising, etc.
  • There will be an effort (led by Public Affairs) to share information with the new Obama administration about what the ESA considers to be priorities for actions related to ecological issues. 
  • David Baldwin points out that the ESA doesn’t have an official policy on privacy of personal information (such as the database of membership information).
  • Report of Executive Director McCarter and the Office Staff
  • INTECOL has declined the ESA’s bid to serve as secretariat.
  • British Ecological Society and ESA are combining their archives in JSTOR so that members of either society will have access to both sets of journals.
  • The agreement with CAPES, a Brazilian consortium, for distributing ESA journals, is close to completion.
  • Membership has dropped a little (9,971), as expected with the lower attendance at the Milwaukee annual meeting, but library subscriptions are essentially unchanged. 17% of the membership is from outside the USA. 
  • Development: Ramona hopes to increase the % of members who contribute to the Society (6.4% now). A mailing has been sent to about 250 potential SEEDS donors. The Development Committee membership will be updated soon. Ramona will ask Board members to help screen potential donors from the Consultative Group on Biodiversity.
  • Frontiers is getting more papers, more proposals for special issues (only 2 a year), and more letters (which as of next year will be put online as there is no longer enough room in the journal). As of December, issues to US addresses will not have a plastic mailing envelope (they are required for international addresses). 
  • Science: The biofuels conference and workshop are still having active outcomes, including publications.
  • Public Affairs Office: Opening plenary speaker for 2009 meeting has been chosen: Sandra Postel (Global Water Policy Project).  Many issues have been brought to the PAO (e.g., Asian oyster introduction to the Chesapeake Bay).  ESA is joining several other societies for a January congressional briefing on the science of climate change. PAO has helped with policy training for other organizations, and Nadine will join an AIBS colleague to help train young faculty at University of New Mexico this winter.  ESA will collaborate with NEON to lead a field trip for congressional staffers to the Smithsonian’s Conservation and Research Center (near Front Royal, VA, and outside the 35-mile radius within which some activities for congressional staff are restricted).
  • Publications: Society journals are doing well in terms of submissions, time to publication, and the new Web site, but there is a growing backlog of papers awaiting publication (editors were asked to help by increasing the rejection rate).
  • Education: The workshop about NEON sponsored by NSF for faculty education (development workshop on continental-scale ecology for faculty from undergraduate institutions) was very successful (Liz Blood from NSF was very pleased).  ESA has begun collaborating with a group focusing on ocean science education.  There are now 50 SEEDS chapters, and the program is growing, but there is only about one year of Mellon funding left. It would be nice to have more followup with SEEDS graduates to facilitate their entry into relevant employment.
  • Report of Vice President for Finance Parton 10:55 AM
    • First Quarter Financials (McCarter)

The budget is in good shape at present, but there is a lot of uncertainty about how the current economic situation will affect the Society, in terms of membership, subscriptions, and attendance at the annual meeting. Staff will monitor the revenue and expenses closely to detect any trends.

    • Investment Update (Parton)

Our investment portfolio has lost $162,000 since the beginning of the year (a 13% reduction in our portfolio).  The portfolio is 60% equity, 40% bonds.

III. Discussion / Action Items 11:15 AM

  • Ethics Complaint. 

Chair Pat Flebbe of the Professional Ethics and Appeals Committee joined the meeting by speaker phone and gave a brief summary of the history of the complaint filed by an ESA member concerning a paper published in an ESA journal.  The Board greatly appreciates the efforts of the Committee in investigating this case and making recommendations, and President Power will contact the parties involved to communicate the sense of the Board about this issue.

  • Presidential Centennial Committee (Christensen)

Christensen was asked by the Board to suggest names for a committee that would help to plan events related to the Society’s centennial celebration in 2015. Existing committees will also play significant roles, including the Historical Records Committee, Future Meetings Committee, Program Committee, the Publications Committee, and the Governing Board.  Older ESA members who have observed a significant part of the Society’s history might be appropriate members of the new committee.  We should ask all the ESA committees to think about how they might be involved in the celebration, including both celebrating the history and looking toward the future.  Ideas are proposed such as:  reviving the Ecological Classics column in the Bulletin, publishing similar papers with historical insights into significant ecological papers, developing an ecology-related board game (maybe reviving Steve Hubbell’s successful Extinction game, or an ecology-related version of Monopoly). 

  • Studies involving ESA members (President Power)

We have no official policy about collection of data from or ESA members, such as making the membership names and addresses available for surveys conducted by others on behalf of ESA, and archiving the original data collected from member surveys.  The data behind the original WAMIE study, for example, seem to be lost.  Some aspects of this issue will be addressed by the new privacy policy that will be drafted by Katherine and her staff.  A new data policy was adopted: “Whenever possible, and consistent with any IRB regulations imposed on the person or persons conducting the survey, data from surveys on behalf of ESA and involving ESA members shall be the property of the Society.”

  • Vegetation Panel (Jackson/Duke)

Since its original appointment in 1995 this has been a committee with successive three- or five-year appointments, and the current term ends 31 December, 2008. Jackson suggests that this be changed to make the panel a permanent standing committee.
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board supports extending the Vegetation Panel for an additional three-year term, and requests that the Council consider at the 2009 annual meeting a proposal to establish the Vegetation Panel as a permanent standing committee. 

  • Millennium Conference Series (Duke) 2:03 PM

The Science Office proposes a process and timetable for future ESA Millennium Conferences:  A call for proposals will be announced in early September two years before the target year, with proposals due by end of October. The Past-President will convene an ad-hoc committee of five to seven members to review proposals, and a winning proposal will be announced by early December. VP for Science will serve as an ex officio member of the organizing committee.  
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the proposal from the Science Office for a process and timetable for future ESA Millennium Conferences.

  • Principles for Involvement in Extramural Programs (Duke)

The Board is presented with a Draft Principles for ESA Involvement in Extramural Programs (revised from the July 2008 version). 
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the proposed Principles for ESA Involvement in Extramural Programs, dated October 2008.

  • TIEE

TIEE has been supported by ESA since 2004, hosting this peer-reviewed electronic publication and providing services of the ESA Education Coordinator.  NSF funding for this publication is ending, and Dr. Charlene D’Avanzo, who has led the effort to date, has asked ESA to assume responsibility for TIEE. The Publications Committee has prepared a report, which is presented to the Board.

A survey of members of the ESA Education Section (N=71 responses) found high support for TIEE. Estimated cost of maintaining TIEE is $27,000/yr (primarily Education office staff time, Webmaster time), but this may be an underestimate given the previous grant-funded budget.  There is one issue per year, with a significant number of pages; the 2008 issue is close to completion.  The Education and Human Resources Committee would need to be involved (one of Teresa’s staff members is essentially the managing editor at present), as would Publications (whose membership would have to be changed to reflect the new responsibility).

The Board consensus is that TIEE has been a valuable contribution to the ecological education community, but there are still some questions about the financial model and how the transition to ESA would be accomplished. Liz Biggs and Katherine will try to confirm the estimate for an operating budget for continuing TIEE, and the Publications Committee is asked to provide more detail on what should TIEE look like if it became one of our flagship publications, including the balance of pedagogy versus lab experiments, the identity of the journal's closest competitors, and any ways in which the peer-review process may need to change to make it consistent with ESA practices. 

  • Site Selection 2013/2015  3:30 PM

Kiyoko Miyanishi, Chair of Meetings Committee, joined the meeting by conference phone.  Both Minneapolis and Baltimore are good options, but because of potentially easier media access, she recommends Baltimore for 2015 (the centennial meeting), and Minneapolis for 2013, and the Board concurs. Minneapolis and Fort Lauderdale are offering free use of their convention centers, and ESA hasn’t met in Florida for several decades. Fort Lauderdale is a possibility for a meeting after 2015. 

  • Program Chair 2011 (Christensen) 3:56 PM

Norma Fowler will be local host at the Austin meeting. Sharon Strauss (UC Davis) is considering the invitation to be Program Chair and Norm has another person in mind if she declines. 

  • Broader Environmental Impacts for ESA Annual Meetings (Huenneke)

ESA includes in the cost of annual meeting registration an amount to be used to offset environmental impacts of the meeting.  The Local Host Committee was asked to recommend local organizations or projects to support and the Public Affairs Committee was asked to make a recommendation for national and international organizations/projects to which ESA can contribute.  The Public Affairs Committee did not have the opportunity to discuss this request and will do so at their upcoming meeting and make a recommendation in time for the May Governing Board meeting.  The Local Host Committee will make a recommendation at that meeting as well.  Broader impacts beyond the greenhouse gas emissions of travel, including those related to habitat destruction, introduced species, and the spread of human disease could be addressed, and an effort could be made to tailor the focus to local issues (e.g. focus on water at the Albuquerque meeting).

  • 2010 Annual Meeting Theme 4:10 PM

Frank Gilliam is the Program Chair for the 2010 meeting in Pittsburgh, and has proposed “Global warming: The legacy of our past, the challenge for our future” as a meeting theme. 
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board approves the proposed theme for the 2010 meeting.

  • Ecological Monographs

The Publications Committee was asked to discuss several suggestions related to Ecological Monographs that grew out of the report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Publications and in conversations with Don Strong, Editor in Chief of EM.  The Committee recommends that the name of the journal should not be changed, that Associate Editor Aaron Ellison be named Editor in Chief of Ecological Monographs, and that he be paid $5,000 for this responsibility 
A motion is moved, seconded, and approved unanimously: The Board supports these recommendations for changes in Ecological Monographs, to appoint Aaron Ellison as Editor in Chief with an initial term through December 2011, and offer him compensation of $5,000 per year

November 19, 2008
Executive Session 8:30 AM

  • Public Affairs Program Review (Huenneke/Lymn) 9:36 AM

ESA’s Public Affairs Committee dates back to 1954.  In the early 1980s a Public Affairs Office was established, which developed the Ecological Information Network, an ESA Newsletter and facilitated a Biotech Hill briefing.  Interactions tended to focus on collaborating with environmental policy and advocacy groups. The 1990s saw a shift to a facilitator role, press operations began, and there was ESA testimony on wetland issues.  There was a focus on science funding, the Public Affairs Officer position was created, communications training and policy sessions were instituted, the first ESA Congressional Fellow and Congressional Visits Day were initiated, as were press releases about papers appearing in ESA journals.  A half-time education position was also funded within the PA office.  ESA sponsored its first booth on the annual Hill science exhibition, and on average three Hill briefings were held each year.  Since 2000 the education position has become full-time and independent of the PA Office.  There are now about 20 Hill and Executive Branch meetings/yr, a Policy Analyst position was created, a second ESA Congressional Fellow was appointed, ESA sends about 10 letters/statements per year, and international media coverage has increased. 

The PA Committee has originated a number of initiatives for the Society, such as ESA position papers, the ESA Corporate Award, the Opening Plenary at the Annual Meeting, community outreach efforts, hosting policy staff at the Annual Meeting, and development of the Regional Policy Award.

The mission of the PA office now is to work with media to convey ecological knowledge, inform national environmental and science policy, and foster federal support for ecological research and education.  Media outreach efforts include press releases, the press room at the Annual Meeting, creating podcasts, connecting media to ESA members, writing op-ed pieces, and communications and policy training sessions at the Annual Meeting.  Samples of the podcasts were played for the Board.

The current portfolio for the PAO related to federal support of ecological research and education includes budget analysis, congressional visits, the annual Hill exhibition about research and education projects funded by NSF, and working with coalitions that focus on different federal agencies of relevance to ecologists. Congressional visits to support funding for all federal agencies that fund ecological research are an important activity that has involved members ranging from graduate students to senior Society leaders. The environmental and science policy part of the portfolio includes conducting (or partnering) in Congressional briefings, field trips for Hill staff, press releases, writing statements (e.g., the recent biofuels statement) and letters (10-12/yr, e.g., the letter from President Power to the Bush administration about proposed changes to the Endangered Species Act), targeted hill meetings (smaller groups than briefings), and creating and supporting the Rapid Response Teams. 

Engagement with ESA members includes sending the bimonthly Policy News, the communication training at the Annual Meeting, PAC-sponsored sessions at the Annual Meeting, and the membership of the Public Affairs Committee.

Looking ahead:  PAC wants to:

  • Continue to interact with EHRC and Science committees, and with “Issues in Ecology”. 
  • Encourage regional rapid response teams; explore “toolkits” for members engaged in local or regional policy issues.
  • Evaluate the 2007 member policy survey
  • Recognize the new threshold of member expectations (e.g., those making visits to D.C. who want help arranging meetings with legislators)
  • Keep ESA’s reputation intact – play to strengths of being the world’s largest society of ecological scientists.

There may be additional ways to take advantage of the Annual Meeting, e.g., in terms of regional efforts related to the local region. 
It would be a good idea to remind the membership of the availability of the ESA Policy News listserv (ESANEWS).

  • Bioenergy Policy Paper Proposal 11:03 AM

ESA member Dennis Ojima has proposed development of an ESA Policy Paper “Bioenergy: Options for Decision-making”.  The intended audience for policy papers includes federal agencies, Congress, and the media.  A two-day meeting is requested, with a budget of $9,000 + publication costs (unspecified).

Concern was expressed about the feasibility of addressing this broad topic in a two-day meeting with a relatively small pool of participants.  It might be more appropriate to do something on the scale of an NCEAS workshop.  It’s also uncertain how much this effort would add at this point to the recent activity by the Society on biofuels. Although this is an issue that ESA should continue to be involved in, this particular proposal may be premature given the state of our understanding of the biofuels issue, and not well enough focused.  VP for Public Affairs Hunneke will respond to the proposal and encourage a potential future resubmission. 

  • Long-Range Planning Process (President Power) 11:25 AM

A proposal is presented for a continuous long-range planning process that will incorporate the current Program Reviews and Mid-Term Program Reviews. These operational-level reviews seem to be achieving the goal of adaptive management at the program level, but we need to make sure that a broader perspective on ESA priorities is also being addressed. The Board agreed that time beyond the normal semi-annual meeting is needed, and scheduled an extra day for the May meeting for this long-range planning.  Suggestions were made for a possible facilitator for this meeting.

  • Corporate Award

There is some risk in this award, in terms of public relations, but it is an opportunity to try and move industry toward more beneficial ecological activities by recognizing a corporation’s activities and holding them up as a role model.  Receipt of this award has not had an effect on corporate giving to the Society, and we have no information about how it may have affected corporate behavior.  Given the apparent cost/benefit ratio of this award, the consensus is that we should not give the award this year and should re-think the reasoning behind the award as part of our long-range planning. This could be considered as part of an outreach effort to a non-academic, private sector audience. 

  • May Meeting Dates

The May meeting is scheduled for 18-20 May 2009, with the first day to be devoted to a long-term strategic planning process.

  • New Business

No new business.

Meeting is adjourned at 12:16 PM. 

Submitted by David W. Inouye, Secretary