Policy Training

Faculty at Workshop

 ESA policy staff offer training workshops designed to help ecological scientists engage more effectively with policy makers. Featuring hands-on exercises, the workshops include overviews of the workings of Congress, tips on timing and developing a coherent message, and mock congressional meetings. The Society's Annual Meeting often includes workshops featuring speaker discussions on engaging policymakers as well as interactive exercises giving participants a taste for collaborations with stakeholders with multiple perspectives on an environmental issue.

ESA Policy Training Workshops


How to participate in public policy and communicate with Congress (Baltimore 2015)

ESA offered a policy training workshop during the Baltimore centennial meeting. The workshop provided participants an overview of national-level opportunities to participate in public policy, from weighing in on congressional legislation to providing input during public comment periods on federal regulations.  An overview presentation was capped by mock congressional meetings that gave workshop participants an opportunity to test their communication skills.

Linking Science and Public Policy: Strategies to Engage in Policy Change and Communicate with Policy Makers (Sacramento 2014)

This workshop included an overview of multiple ways to get involved in policy- from working with local and state legislators in drafting policy to providing public comment on federal policies. Through discussion, role playing, and individual exercises, the workshop covered the challenges of translating scientific findings to policymakers and advocates, and offered suggested tools for improving communications skills. A legislative staffer with the California state general assembly also offered his perspective on policy engagement.

Participating in Public Policy (Minneapolis 2013)

ESA offered a policy training workshop during the Minneapolis annual meeting. The workshop provided participants with an overview of national-level opportunities to participate in public policy, including congressional legislation and federal regulations. Several mini-lectures were capped by mock congressional meetings to give workshop participants an opportunity to test their communication skills.

Reaching Beyond the Ecology Bubble: How the Ecological Society of America Can Help You Connect with Other Important Groups, From Policymakers to Community Leaders (Portland 2012)

This interactive session emphasized communicating ecological information that resonates with decision makers and other important groups, using tips outlined in the ESA publication “An Ecologist’s Guidebook to Policy Engagement.” The session featured speakers experienced in working with policy, media, and other entities outside the ecological community.

Introducing ESA's Guidebook on Effective Communication and Policy Engagement (Austin 2011)

This session at the Austin Annual Meeting featured several speakers with experience in policy and science communication. It showcased key elements covered in the recently released ESA policy and communication guidebook, including opportunities to: engage in policy at local, state, and federal levels; provide timely input to environmental laws; interact with federal agencies; and effectively communicate in meetings, written correspondence, and in the media. After the presentations, participants were invited to “speed date” by rotating from table to table and interacting with speakers and other experts to gain additional insights on interacting with decision makers, resource managers, and members of the press.

Step Up, Speak Up: Policy Training Workshop (Montreal 2005)

ESA teamed up with the American Society for Oceanography and Limnology to offer a Policy Training Workshop during the Montreal Annual Meeting. The workshop was designed to equip biological scientists with tools to participate in public policy. Scientists were coached in methods to influence policy, concluding with simulated congressional visits.

Public Policy Workshop at UMD (Solomons Island, MD 2005)

ESA and the American Society for Oceanography and Limnology offered a policy training workshop at the University of Maryland 's Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in January of 2005. About 25 students and faculty participated in the workshop which featured short presentations on the policy process, followed by break-out group activities. Mock visits with congressional offices allowed participants to practice meeting with policymakers and to effectively hone their message of the importance of environmental research.

Policy Training Workshop (OBFS/ ESA /AIBS Appledore Island, ME 2004)

About 23 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations participated in a training session for field stations staff who wanted to learn some important features of making their cases to elected officials. The day-long course was offered by ESA and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.