2016 ESA Regional Policy Award Recognizes Shannon Estenoz for Her Work in Everglades Restoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, 7 July 2016
Contact: Alison Mize, 202-833-8773 ext. 205, alison@esa.org

 

Shannon Estenoz

Shannon Estenoz

On Sunday, August 7, 2016, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its ninth annual Regional Policy Award to Shannon Estenoz, Director of Everglades Restoration Initiatives for the US Department of Interior during the Society’s Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

Estenoz coordinates the work of the three Department of Interior agencies that are responsible for Everglades restoration efforts: the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the US Geological Survey. The Everglades are recognized both nationally and internationally as one of the world’s unique natural and cultural resources. Encompassing nearly 18,000 square miles of the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, the Everglades and the greater Everglades ecosystem (spanning from the Kissimmee River basin north of Lake Okeechobee all the way south to Florida Bay) are also the focus of the world’s largest intergovernmental watershed restoration effort.

“The Society applauds Ms. Estenoz’s decades-long commitment to conservation and her work to protect and restore the Florida Everglades,” said ESA President Monica Turner. “As the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, the Everglades functions as both a national treasure and critical habitat for a diverse array of flora and fauna. ESA celebrates her collaborative efforts with researchers, policymakers and community leaders to protect this vital ecosystem from pollution, climate change, invasive species and other threats to this cherished ecosystem.”

Estenoz’s career encompasses a spectrum of prior leadership positions: Executive Director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Center, Everglades Program Director of the World Wildlife Fund, three terms as National Co-Chair of the Everglades Coalition, and Sun Coast Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association. Florida Governors Lawton Chiles, Jeb Bush, and Charlie Crist tapped her for public service during their tenures.

“I am very honored to be selected for this award by the Ecological Society of America. Strengthening the nexus between science and decision-making is a high priority for me and for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Everglades Restoration Initiatives,” said Estenoz.

Previous accolades given to her include many awards: Champion of the Everglades Award from Audubon of Florida (2010), Marjory Stoneman Douglas Environmental Award from Friends of the Everglades (2010), the National Wetland Award from the Environmental Protection Agency (2001) and Conservationist of the Year awards from the Florida Wildlife Federation (2002), the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation (2003), and Everglades Coalition (2009).

ESA President Turner will present the 2016 ESA Regional Policy Award at the start of the meeting’s Opening Plenary on Sunday, August 7 at 5 PM in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. The plenary will be open to the general public.

Everglades National Park. Credit, Julian Boed.

Everglades National Park. Credit, Julian Boed CC BY.


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

Thirty-one top scientific societies speak with one voice on global climate change

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Read the consensus letter (pdf)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 11:00 am EDT Tuesday, 28 June 2016
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In a consensus letter to U.S. policymakers, a partnership of 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies today reaffirmed the reality of human-caused climate change, noting that greenhouse gas emissions “must be substantially reduced” to minimize negative impacts on the global economy, natural resources, and human health.

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”

Climate-change impacts in the United States have already included increased threats of extreme weather events, sea-level rise, water scarcity, heat waves, wildfires, and disturbances to ecosystems and animals, the intersociety group reported. “The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added. It cited the scientific consensus of the vast majority of individual climate scientists and virtually every leading scientific organization in the world, including the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the U.S. National Academies, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Chemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Statistical Association, the Ecological Society of America, and the Geological Society of America.

“To reduce the risk of the most severe impacts of climate change, greenhouse gas emissions must be substantially reduced,” the group said, adding that adaptation is also necessary to “address unavoidable consequences for human health and safety, food security, water availability, and national security, among others.”

The 28 June letter, representing a broad range of scientific disciplines, reaffirmed the key climate-change messages in a 2009 letter signed by 18 leading scientific organizations. The letter is being released again, by a larger consortium of 31 scientific organizations, to reassert the scientific consensus on climate change, and to provide objective, authoritative information to policymakers who must work toward solutions.

“Climate change is real and happening now, and the United States urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt, executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We must not delay, ignore the evidence, or be fearful of the challenge. America has provided global leadership to successfully confront many environmental problems, from acid rain to the ozone hole, and we can do it again. We owe no less to future generations.”

The 28 June letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations:

  • American Association for the Advancement of Science
  • American Chemical Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • American Institute of Biological Sciences
  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Public Health Association
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
  • American Society of Naturalists
  • American Society of Plant Biologists
  • American Statistical Association
  • Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
  • Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
  • Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
  • BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
  • Botanical Society of America
  • Consortium for Ocean Leadership
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Ecological Society of America
  • Entomological Society of America
  • Geological Society of America
  • National Association of Marine Laboratories
  • Natural Science Collections Alliance
  • Organization of Biological Field Stations
  • Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
  • Society for Mathematical Biology
  • Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
  • Society of Nematologists
  • Society of Systematic Biologists
  • Soil Science Society of America
  • University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

 

Leaders of participating organizations offered the following comments:

“Climate change has far-reaching implications to everyone on our planet, as it is tied closely with national security, economics, human health, and food security. There is consensus in the scientific community – climate is changing. Now we need policymakers to act, to invest in research to understand the effects of climate change and opportunities to mitigate its drivers, and to adapt to its impacts.”

— RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (Ret.), president and CEO, Consortium for Ocean Leadership

 

“Climate change poses significant challenges to natural and managed ecosystems. Now is the time for scientists and policy-makers to work together to address the issue of climate change in order to protect agricultural productivity, global food security and environmental resources.”

— Harold van Es, president, Soil Science Society of America

 

“The environmental, social, and economic challenges posed by climate change are among the most important issues of our time. Comprehensive solutions grounded in understanding of ecological systems – our lands, waters, oceans, and atmosphere — and society are urgently needed. A sustainable future remains possible if we work together and act now.”

— Monica G. Turner, president, Ecological Society of America

 

“This letter, signed by a diverse set of scientific organizations, conveys the solid scientific consensus view that anthropogenic climate change is occurring. How climate change will manifest for specific geographic regions within the next decade and beyond is a topic of intense research. Statisticians are experts in making decisions when specifics aren’t clear and stand ready to work with decision-makers.” 

— Jessica Utts, president, American Statistical Association

 

“Geological studies have demonstrated that climate has changed repeatedly in the past and that future climate change is inevitable.  Understanding the complex processes involved in climate change is necessary for adaptation and mitigation.”
— Jonathan G. Price, Ph.D., CPG, President, Geological Society of America

 

“The reality of climate change is already upon us, and is affecting not only our lives but that of all life on earth. We must do all that we can to mitigate these effects using scientific knowledge and mobilizing society for action. It is the responsibility of our politicians to move us forward in these actions.”

—Dr. Robin L. Chazdon, executive director of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation,

 

“The phenomenon of human-mediated climate change is not a matter of opinion, but of careful evaluation of data from a vast spectrum of scientific disciplines.  What remains unclear is the degree to which climate change will cause environmental, social, and economic havoc.  Estimates range from severe to catastrophic.  We owe it to our children and to our children’s children to take bold action now so that our descendants do not pay the price for our generation’s greed.”

— Anne D. Yoder, president, Society of Systematic Biologists

 

 “Climate change is one of the most profound challenges facing our society. Consensus on this matter is evident in the diversity of organizations that have signed this letter. Science can be a powerful tool in our efforts to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change, and we stand ready to work with policymakers as they deliberate various options for action.”
— Christine McEntee, executive director/CEO of the American Geophysical Union

 

“Climate influences where plants and animals live. Rapid climate change will force species to find new habitat in hospitable conditions, but many species will not be able to and will go extinct. This isn’t good. It disrupts our ecosystems, which are the source for our food, and clean air and water.”

— Robert Gropp, Ph.D., interim co-executive director, American Institute of Biological Sciences


The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

ESA Announces 2016 Graduate Student Policy Award Recipients

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, 30 March 2016
Contact: Terence Houston, 202-833-8773 ext. 224 terence@esa.org

 

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) has selected the 2016 recipients of its annual Graduate Student Policy Award: Brian Kastl (University of California), Kristen Lear (University of Georgia), Matthew Pintar (University of Mississippi), Timothy Treuer (Princeton University), Jessica Nicole Welch (University of Tennessee), and Samantha Lynn Werner (University of New Hampshire).

The six students will travel to Washington, DC on April 27-28 to participate in policy training and attend meetings with their US Representative and Senators. The Biological Ecological Sciences Coalition, co-chaired by ESA, sponsors the event.

On Capitol Hill, students will team with other scientists to discuss with lawmakers the importance of federal funding for the biological sciences, particularly the National Science Foundation (NSF). Participants will attend sessions about how current political and fiscal issues may impact federal agencies. ESA graduate student policy awardees will also meet with federal ecologists to learn about their work within the federal government.

“Young ecological scientists who are confident in their ability to engage within the policy sphere are needed more than ever, whether they chose to pursue a career in policy or research. Proficiency in communicating science to lawmakers to inform policy decisions is a valuable skill for ESA members to attain, and it’s never too soon to start,” said Katherine McCarter, executive director of ESA.

Brian Kastl

Brian Kastl

Kastl’s research on ecosystem services aims to inform the design of policies that support sustainable watershed management. In 2012, he was selected by The Nature Conservancy to lead a policy study in Micronesia to reduce the impact of deforestation on water security. He was subsequently awarded a travel grant to present his research at the 2013 United Nations Environment Program Global Land-Ocean Connections Conference. He is a PhD student in ecohydrology and decision science at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara, and a recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.

 

Kristin Lear

Kristen Lear

Lear worked with a Mexican non-governmental organization to develop science-based conservation policies for the Mexican Long-nosed bat. Her NSF Graduate Research Fellowship has been critical in providing professional development and in funding her bat conservation research. She is pursuing a PhD in Integrative Conservation and Forestry & Natural Resources at the University of Georgia.

 

Matthew Pintar

Matthew Pintar

Pintar’s graduate school experiences with the National Park Service and the US Forest Service shaped his interest in policy engagement. Internships with the Prince William Forest Park and the Sawtooth National Recreation Area provided him with unique insight into policy management decisions. As an undergrad, he studied the effects of acidification on ovenbird territory size within the Bear Brook Watershed in Maine. He is pursuing a PhD in Biology from the University of Mississippi.

 

Timothy Treuer

Timothy Treuer

Treuer’s NSF-funded research developed a technique using arrays of microphones, synced by GPS, to investigate how acoustically active species interact and coexist in their environment. Through participation in the Civics and Conservation Summit and the Climate Project, he led legislative and advocacy engagement efforts with Alaska’s state and federal lawmakers. He is a PhD candidate in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University.

 

Jessica Nicole Welch

Jessica Nicole Welch

Welch studies threats to bats caused by invasive species and analyzes the extinction risk of threatened bat species to better inform conservation efforts. She is involved with a diverse array of public outreach and volunteer work promoting science education. As Coordinator for Tennessee Darwin Day event, she applied for grants and solicited donations to offer Tennessee schoolteachers instruction on how to teach climate change and evolution. Welch has also presented at the 2012 and 2015 ESA annual meetings and served as a SEEDS mentor during the latter centennial meeting. She is working towards her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee.

 

Samantha Werner

Samantha Werner

Werner hopes to provide policymakers with a better understanding of the link between agro-ecological sustainability and economic vitality through her Master’s degree research in environmental economics at the University of New Hampshire, funded by the US Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. As an undergraduate, Werner got her start in research investigating the impact of climate change on ecosystems in northern Sweden with support from NSF. She presented her research during ESA’s centennial meeting.

 

The Graduate Student Policy Award is one of several ways ESA works to offer its graduate student members opportunities to gain public policy experience. The Society also provides policy training during its annual meeting and by request throughout the year. ESA graduate student members may run—through ESA’s Student Section—to serve on several ESA standing committees including the Public Affairs Committee (PAC). ESA’s Washington, DC-base Public Affairs Office works closely with the PAC and focuses on activities to engage ecological scientists with policymakers and the media.

Reflections from past recipients are available on the Graduate Student Policy Award alumni network page.

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The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

ESA announces 2015 Graduate Student Award Recipients

Graduate students from University of Illinois at Chicago, Princeton University, Oregon State University and University of Texas at Austin will speak with federal lawmakers about sustaining support for science.

ESA 100 years logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 25, 2014
Contact: Terence Houston, 202-833-8773 ext. 224, terence@esa.org

 

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ecological Society of America (ESA), the world’s largest professional society of ecological scientists, is pleased to announce this year’s Graduate Student Policy Award winners. The award affords ESA graduate students the opportunity to participate in two days of science policy activities, including meetings with congressional offices. This year’s winners are Sydney Blankers (University of Illinois at Chicago) Cleo Chou (Princeton University), Natalie Hambalek (Oregon State University) and Emlyn Resetarits (University of Texas at Austin).

All four students demonstrate a commitment to engaging in public policy and the ESA Award allows them to build on their prior experiences. Blankers, Chou, Hambalek and Resetarits, will participate in a congressional visits event in Washington, DC, this May, sponsored by the Biological Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) and co-chaired by ESA. The event brings together young scientists from across the country to meet with lawmakers. The scientists will highlight the benefits of biological research and education in their respective states and the nation. Participants attend sessions about how current political and fiscal issues may impact federal agencies. ESA graduate student policy awardees also meet with federal ecologists to learn about their work and that of their respective agencies.

 

2015 ESA Graduate Student Policy Award winners

Sydney Blanker

Sydney Blanker

Sydney Blankers is pursuing a Masters in urban planning and policy with a concentration in environmental planning. She studies regulatory and economic techniques for influencing development and resource use in a manner that is more in tune with urban community ecosystems. She will present her thesis on urban and natural interconnectedness at the American Planning Association National Conference in Seattle in April 2015. Through her work with the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce in Chicago, she has interviewed sustainable businesses and showcased their work through a marketing campaign.

 

Cleo Chou

Cleo Chou

Cleo Chou is expected to obtain her Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology this year. Her dissertation is on carbon and nutrient cycling in tropical rainforests. She is a fellow in the Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars group, an interdisciplinary group of PhD students from energy and climate-related fields. She also serves as project coordinator and co-author of a publication on nuclear fusion technology as an energy source in the Andlinger Center Energy Technology Distillate series, geared towards policymakers as well as academics. As an undergrad at Columbia University, she planned and organized events designed to bring timely and social-relevant science to the student body and local community.

 

Natalie Hambalek

Natalie Hambalek

Natalie Hambalek’s policy engagement began while as an undergrad at Sonoma State University where she called on California state lawmakers to pass legislation to expand access to education at the university level, including the California Dream Act. She’s been a presenter for Discovering the Scientist Within and Advocates for Women in Science, Engineering and Math. Her honors include a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Honorable Mention. She is also a Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Scholar. In pursuing her Ph.D. in zoology, she is studying the physiological effects of pesticides on amphibian declines and management efforts to mitigate adverse outcomes.

 

Emelyn Resetarits

Emlyn Resetarits

Emlyn Resetarits has collaborated with Shoal Creek Conservancy and the city of Austin watershed department to conduct a biodiversity assessment of the Shoal Creek watershed. Her Ph.D. research focuses on expanding metacommunity theory and bridging the gap between theoretical and empirical work. At the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, she helped alert local government entities to a harmful algal bloom genus that produces a neurotoxin that causes amnesiac shellfish poisoning in humans. During her time as an undergrad at Columbia University, she worked as an environmental liaison between the university and student body to find sustainable solutions on campus issues. She is also the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

 

The Graduate Student Policy Award is one of several ways ESA works to offer its graduate student members opportunities to gain public policy experience. The Society also provides policy training during its annual meeting and by request throughout the year. ESA graduate student members also may run—through ESA’s Student Section—to serve on several ESA standing committees, including the Public Affairs Committee, which works closely with ESA’s Washington, DC-based Public Affairs Office and focuses on activities to engage ecological scientists with policymakers and the media. Reflections from past recipients are available on the Graduate Student Policy Award alumni network page.

 


The Ecological Society of America (ESA), founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes six journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.

California State Senator Darrell Steinberg named as ESA Regional Policy Award winner

ESA2014 Sacramento logo

99th Annual Meeting
The Ecological Society of America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Contact: Alison Mize (703) 625-3628; alison@esa.org

 

On Sunday, August 10, 2014, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its seventh annual Regional Policy Award to California Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg during the Society’s 99th Annual Meeting conference in Sacramento, CA. The ESA award recognizes an elected or appointed local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing policy decisions with ecological science.

“Darrell Steinberg exemplifies leadership in promoting sustainability” said ESA President Jill Baron.  “As the California Senate President Pro Tem he championed bills to foster renewable energy, clean water and parks. He sets a high standard for policymakers everywhere.”

Elected to the California Assembly in 1998 and to the Senate in 2006, Steinberg ascended to Senate leader in late 2008. During his time in the state Senate, Steinberg authored SB 375, the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (signed into law by Gov. Schwarzenegger), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles through transit-oriented urban growth. This year, he spearheaded a framework of permanent funding for mass transit, sustainable community development and transit-oriented affordable housing using the state’s Cap and Trade revenue, and also formulated a drought relief bill that prioritizes projects focusing on water conservation. In addition, Steinberg successfully passed legislation to modernize the California Environmental Quality Act.

“Despite the deniers who bury their heads in the sand and ignore global warming, the crisis of climate change is a very real threat. It’s a threat we need to meet head-on by embracing new concepts of where we live and work, how we get there, and how we create sustainable industries and communities,” said Senate Leader . “I’m humbled by this honor, and confident that those who follow in our Legislature will continue to carry the mantle of California’s leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

ESA President Baron will present the 2014 ESA Regional Policy Award at the start of theOpening Plenary on Sunday, August 10 at 5 PM in the Memorial Auditorium of the Sacramento Convention Center.Kip Lipper, Steinberg’s Chief Counsel for Energy and Environment, will accept the award on his behalf.

Learn more about the August 10 – 15, 2014 ESA Annual Meeting.


 

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge. ESA is committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 10,000 member Society publishes five journals, convenes an annual scientific conference, and broadly shares ecological information through policy and media outreach and education initiatives. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.