2014 Earth Stewardship Initiative Demonstration Project: sustaining and enhancing Earth’s life-support systems

The American River Parkway at the nexus of ecological science and design

ESA2014 Sacramento logo

99th Annual Meeting
The Ecological Society of America

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 28, 2014
Contact: Alison Mize 703-625-3628; Alison@esa.org


“Cities that Work for People and Ecosystems” is the theme for a full week of demonstration projects in the Sacramento’s American River Parkway from August 10−15 during the Ecological Society of America’s annual meeting. The 23-mile long Parkway faces multiple competing demands for water, flood control, habitat and recreation.

Blending ecological research and applied ecological understanding with landscape management can inform the design and management of the Parkway for long-term adaptive management.  A host of ecologists working with local urban planners, flood system managers and landscape architects will combine scientific experiments with landscape design. Field site installations along the American River and displays in the Sacramento Convention Center will compliment a robust schedule of special sessions and workshops during the week.

The 119-mile long American River headwaters begin in California’s High Sierra Nevada mountain range. The river plays an important role in the area’s history as gold was first discovered on along its banks in 1848, which ignited the Gold Rush. The almost 500,000 residents that call Sacramento home consider the American River Parkway the crown jewel of their city. Recreational opportunities abound along its 23-mile stretch of forests, beaches, bike paths and hiking trails.

The demonstration project is part of the Ecological Society of America’s Earth Stewardship Initiative, which seeks to provide the scientific basis for actively shaping trajectories of social-ecological change to enhance ecosystem resilience and human well-being. Human activities affect Earth’s life support systems so profoundly as to threaten many of the ecological services that are essential to society. Society has a window of opportunity in the next few decades to redefine our relationship with the planet to reduce risks of dangerous global changes. Ecologists are seeking to address this challenge with a new science agenda that integrates people with the rest of nature to chart a sustainable relationship between society and the biosphere.

“What better way to illustrate how the science of ecology can be put to use than with a demonstration project woven into ESAs annual meeting?” said ESA President Jill Baron.  “Many of our ecologists embrace the idea of using their knowledge for the public good; the American River Parkway provides a great example of ecologists working with practitioners to promote more sustainable urban ecosystems.”


Ecological Society of America’s 99th Annual Meeting, August 10-15th, 2014, in Sacramento, Cal.

Main * Program * Press Information * App

2014 Earth Stewardship Initiative Schedule

Many sessions, field trips and demonstration projects will delve into the benefits of ecological science and its applications that are useful for urban design, planning and adaptive management.

American River Parkway morning Photo by Robert Course_Baker

Morning lights the bike path on the American River Parkway in Sacramento, Cal. Cyclists share the easement with egrets, wild turkeys, deer, beaver and other wildlife. Credit, Robert Course-Baker.

Field Trip 10:  Urban Bioblitz Along The American River Corridor
Sunday, August 10, 2014: 8:30 AM-3:00 PM, J Street Entrance, Sacramento Convention Center

The American River Parkway within Sacramento is the site for this field trip’s urban bioblitz. ESA organizers will be joined by US Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologists and volunteers from the American River Parkway Foundation to help conduct an the bioblitz. Participants will collect and identify the biodiversity along the corridor in teams that will focus on plant diversity, birds, insects and macro aquatic invertebrates.  A reference collection from the bioblitz will be given to the local community.

Organizer: Gillian Bowser  gbowser@colostate.edu
Co-organizers: Harold Balbach and Luben Dimov


Field Trip 14:  Ecological Planning and Design Along the American River Parkway
Monday, August 11, 2014: 8:00 AM-1:00 PM, J Street Entrance, Sacramento Convention Center

This field trip is designed as an exploration of the American River Parkway employing ecological principles into the design landscapes to perform ecosystem services.

Organizer: Alexander J. Felson   alexander.felson@yale.edu
Co-organizer: Neal M. Williams


Special Session 8:  From Studying To Shaping: A Design Charette Bridging Site Analysis To Conceptual Design
Monday, August 11, 2014: 10:15 AM-11:30 AM, Camellia, Sheraton Hotel

Using the American River Parkway as a case study, this session provides an educational opportunity for ecologists to develop collaborative activities that build ecological resilience and sustainability principles into urban planning and landscape architecture.

Organizer: Alexander J. Felson   alexander.felson@yale.edu
Co-organizer: Jill Baron


Special Session 7:  Engaging with Business and Industry to Advance Earth Stewardship – Business and Biodiversity
Monday, August 11, 2014: 10:15 AM-11:30 AM, 204, Sacramento Convention Center

This session builds on ESA’s Earth Stewardship initiative to explore solutions that will help redefine our relationship with the planet and reduce the risks of degrading Earth’s life-support systems. It is the latest in a series of conversations, workshops, and demonstration projects from universities, agencies, land managers, religious communities and businesses.

Organizer: Jill Baron  Jill.Baron@colostate.edu
Co-organizers: Scott L. Collins, David W. Inouye, Teresa Mourad, Clifford Duke and Katherine McCarter


Symposia 14:  Green Cities: Ecology and Design in Urban Landscapes
Wednesday, August 13, 2014: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM, Gardenia, Sheraton Hotel

Over 50% of all humans now live in cities with increasing demands on sustainable water and food systems, waste infrastructure, social networks and human health. This symposium will explicitly feature examples of the synthesis of ecology and design in urban landscapes.

Organizer: Sharon K. Collinge   Sharon.collinge@colorado.edu
Co-organizers: Ari E. Novy and Alexander J. Felson


Workshop 38:  From Studying to Shaping Land: A Workshop Bridging Ecology with Design Performance Objectives
Wednesday, August 13, 2014: 8:00 PM-10:00 PM, 104, Sacramento Convention Center

Using the case study of the American River Parkway, this workshop will explore ways of extending the scope and rigor of a leading international program, the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Landscape Performance Series, to monitor and evaluate landscape solutions using environmental, economic and social outcomes as proposed design alternatives.

Organizer: Alexander J. Felson  alexander.felson@yale.edu
Co-organizers: Timothy Carter and  Emilie K. Stander


SYMP 24:  Ecological Design and Planning for Ecologists: Applying Earth Stewardship
Friday, August 15, 2014: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM, Magnolia, Sheraton Hotel

Ecology is undergoing a transformation from a field historically disengaged from the human- built environment to one that can provide insight into the understanding, design, and management of urbanized land. This symposium will present ecological design and ecosystem-based management strategies for large-scale green infrastructure and engineering projects.

Organizer: Alexander J. Felson   alexander.felson@yale.edu


Journalists and public information officers can gain access to full texts of all ESA publications by contacting the public affairs office. Email Liza Lester, llester@esa.org.

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.

To subscribe to ESA press releases, contact Liza Lester at llester@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.

Ecological Society of America announces 2014 award recipients

ESA2014 Sacramento logo

99th Annual Meeting
The Ecological Society of America

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 15, 2014
Contact: Alison Mize (202) 833-8773 x205; alison@esa.org
or Liza Lester (202) 833-8773 x211; llester@esa.org


The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present ten awards recognizing outstanding contributions to ecology in new discoveries, teaching, sustainability, diversity, and lifelong commitment to the profession during the Society’s 99th Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California. The awards ceremony will take place on Monday, August 11, at 8 AM in the historic Memorial auditorium near the Sacramento Convention Center. More information about ESA awards is available here.


W.S. Cooper Award: Scott Wing, Caroline Stromberg, Leo Hickey, Fleur Tiver, Brian Willis, Robyn Burnham, and Anna Behrensmeyer
The Cooper Award honors an outstanding contribution to the field of geobotany, physiographic ecology, plant succession or the distribution of plants along environmental gradients. ESA recognizes Wing, with the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and colleagues for their paperFloral and environmental gradients on a Late Cretaceous landscape,” published in Ecological Monographs. The study provides a unique insight into the ecological structure of a local community to understand large evolutionary, ecological, and biogeographic patterns from a single point in space and time.

George Mercer Award:Douglas Rasher
The Mercer Award recognizes an outstanding and recently-published ecological research paper by a young scientist.Rasher, now a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Maine, provides rich new insights forthe management and conservation of coral reefs in his 2013 “Consumer diversity interacts with prey defenses to drive ecosystem function,” in Ecology. The study, which he conducted as a graduate student at the Georgia Institute of Technology, shows that interactions between algal defenses and herbivore tolerances create an essential role for consumer diversity in the functioning and resilience of coral reefs.

Robert T. MacArthur Award: Mercedes Pascual
The MacArthur Award recognizes mid-career ecologist for meritorious contributions to ecology with the expectation of continued outstanding ecological research. ESA recognizes Pascual, with the University of Michigan, for her contributions to the theory of food web structure; the ecology, spread and evolution of infectious diseases; and the development and application of novel computational methods for relating climate to disease. Throughout her career, Pascual also has devoted enormous energy to fostering diversity of ecological researchers in the US and mentoring junior researchers worldwide.

Eugene P. Odum Education Award:ManuelC.Molles,Jr.
The Eugene P. Odum Award recipients have demonstrated their ability to relate basic ecological principles to human affairs through teaching, outreach and mentoring activities. ESA honors Molles, with the UniversityofNewMexico, for his outstanding contributions in science, service, and education for K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels. Using his writing gifts, he authored numerous publications including an acclaimed ecology textbook, Ecology: Concepts and Applications. Molles’ teaching philosophy fostered students’ critical and independent thinking. Many of his students’ pursued careers in ecology and also diversified into careers in environmental law, water resources management, and restoration ecology.

Eminent Ecologist Award:Jane Lubchenco
The Eminent Ecologist Award is given to a senior ecologist in recognition of an outstanding body of ecological work or sustained ecological contributions of extraordinary merit. Lubchenco’s career spans from academia to distinguished public service. She has studied marine ecosystems around the world and championed the importance of science and its relevance to policy making and human well-being. From 2009–20013, she made history as the first woman under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. Lubchenco has served as president for the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS), the International Council for Science, and the Ecological Society of America, and was a member on the National Science Board for 10 years. She has received numerous awards including a MacArthur “genius” award and 18 honorary doctorates. Lubchenco co-founded three organizations (The Leopold Leadership Program, the Communication Partnership for Science and the Sea [COMPASS], and Climate Central) that aim to communicate scientific knowledge to the public, policy makers, media and industry; she also co-founded a research consortium, PISCO, which studies the near-shore ocean along the coasts of Oregon and California.

Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award: Charles Nilon
This ESA award recognizes long-standing contributions of an individual towards increasing the diversity of future ecologists through mentoring, teaching or outreach. ESA honors Nilon, with the University of Missouri-Columbia, for his leadership in developing diversity-enhancing programs within the Ecological Society of America and working to improve minority access to all Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. His work illustrates the relationship between ecology, environmental justice and their impacts on disadvantaged communities.

Sustainability Science Award: Fikret Berkes
The Sustainability Award is given to the authors of a scholarly work that makes the greatest contribution to the emerging science of ecosystem and regional sustainability through the integration of ecological and social sciences. Berkes, with the University of Manitoba, explores the importance of local and indigenous knowledge as a complement to scientific ecology and its cultural and political significance for indigenous groups in his book Sacred Ecology, Taylor and Francis, 2008.


To learn more about the August 10–15, 2014 ESA Annual Meeting see:  http://www.esa.org/am/

The Ecological Society of America is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and the 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 or find experts in ecological science at http://www.esa.org/pao/rrt/.