ESA donates to PNW conservation orgs to offset envr costs of its meeting

By Nadine Lymn, ESA director of public affairs When 5,000 individuals from across the United States and around the globe convene for a scientific conference such as the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) recent meeting in Portland, Oregon it takes an environmental toll: The energy required to power the planes, trains and automobiles people use to travel to and from the meeting (although some attendees bike!).  And, the hotels and convention center that were built to provide the facilities needed to host thousands of people ate up habitat and displaced wildlife. As one way to offset these environmental costs, ESA contributes $5 for each meeting registrant which the Society then donates to a local project or organization in the city in which it meets.  This year’s meeting in Portland, Oregon was the Society’s largest and ESA donated $12,475 each to the Columbia Land Trust and to Friends of Trees. The Columbia Land Trust works to conserve the lands, waters and wildlife of the Columbia River region, from east of the Cascades to the Pacific Ocean.  It collaborates with landowners, local residents and government entities to conserve forests, ranch lands and critical habitats in Oregon and Washington states and uses a science-based stewardship program to restore and manage these areas. The Trust will use ESA’s donation for its Mt. St. Helens conservation project, which aims to protect working forest and habitat on some 20,000 acres at the base of Mt. St. Helens.  The area is under development pressure because of its alluring mountain views and scenic waters and is home to threatened species such as bull trout.  The acreage includes high elevations that, with global warming, may become increasingly important habitat for some species. Friends of Trees is a Portland-based organization that describes its mission as bringing people in the Portland-Vancouver and Eugene-Springfield metro areas together to plant and care for city trees and green spaces.  The organization also provides guidance to volunteers on restoration techniques and has planted nearly half a million trees and native plants since its founding in 1989. ESA’s donation will help Friends of Trees offset the Tree Scholarship Program during the 2012-2013 planting season. Each year, Friends of Trees provides scholarships to low-income families who want to plant with the organization, but cannot afford the $35-$50 cost. ESA’s donation will allow Friends of Trees to subsidize the purchase and planting of 275 trees for these families. The organization says the trees will go where they are needed the most and will provide benefits for the community for years to come. Last year’s ESA meeting was held in Austin, Texas and the Society donated to Bat...

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ESA gives environmental offset donation to bat and wildflower organizations

When 3,500 individuals from across the country and around the globe convene for a scientific conference such as the Ecological Society of America’s (ESA) recent meeting in Austin, Texas, it takes a toll on the environment.  There is the carbon footprint from the various modes of travel to get to the meeting.  But there is also the broader environmental cost of the habitat loss and the wildlife displacement that occurred to build a convention center and nearby hotels, the structures which make such a meeting possible. As one way to offset this environmental cost, ESA contributes $5 for each registrant at its annual meeting to an environmental offset contribution which it donates to a local project or organization in the city in which it meets.  This year, the Society gave $9,230 each to Bat Conservation International (BCI) and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, both located in Austin. BCI supports bat conservation worldwide, offering grants and scholarships, monitoring bat populations and caves, protecting bats colonies in abandoned mines, and supporting educational outreach.  Austin is a logical home for the organization since the city boasts North America’s largest urban bat colony, which lives under Congress Avenue Bridge.  BCI plans to put ESA’s donation towards protecting bats from White-nose syndrome, wind power and other threats. The mission of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is to “increase the sustainable use and conservation of native wildflowers, plants and landscapes.”  Among its activities are hosting ecological research, collecting and storing seeds of native plants, and hosting an online database of over 7,200 native plant species through its Native Plant Information Network. The Center plans to put the Society’s donation towards its environmental and ecological restoration projects. Photos: Little brown bats with white-nose syndrome, Nancy Heaslip, NY Dept. of Envr. Conservation; Wildflowers in Austin from Flickr by Spyderella  ...

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