My experience at this year’s ESA Annual meeting was unforgettable. Returning as a graduate school student and SEEDS Alumni Mentor, I not only had the chance to connect with old and new participants of the SEEDS program, but I also had the opportunity to grow professionally and gain insight on atypical ecological careers paths â€“ several of which I am actually considering. Of all these great experiences, though, the most meaningful aspect of the meeting came when I realized how important the human dimension (mentorship, education, and community relations) is to the ecological sciences. Now looking back on my participation with the SEEDS program, experiencing this from a science society is what attracted me to the discipline in the first place.
Before leaving San Jose, I decided to continue with this important aspect of ecology. I joined an outreach planning committee initiated by SEEDS students, composed of both general ESA members and students. Already, we are making progress by planning a K-12 student/teacher outreach fieldtrip and possibly another field trip to a local grassroots project for ecologists to share their expertise with local environmental groups. I canâ€™t wait to see the results of our planning. I especially look forward to seeing what kind of impact we may leave on both Milwaukee residents and participating ecologists.
Contributed by Lauren McGee, Ohio State University