#IAmANaturalist storified
Sep10

#IAmANaturalist storified

On Monday, ESA’s Natural History Section asked you to tweet your naturalist identity with pride during their #IAmANaturalist campaign, and you obliged, coming through with humor, awe, and humility—sometimes fishy, sometimes muddy, and always with great style. Tweeters shared their love of natural history and testified to how it roots their life and their research, outreach, and education endeavors. We’ve storified some of the action here. It just keeps getting better, so don’t stop until you get to the end. [View the story “#IAmANaturalist” on...

Read More
#IAmANaturalist reclaim the name campaign celebrates natural history research
Sep08

#IAmANaturalist reclaim the name campaign celebrates natural history research

Are you a naturalist? Join the grassroots effort to reclaim the name. ESA’s Natural History section is calling on you to assert your naturalist identity with pride by tweeting a photo to #IAmANaturalist on Monday, September 8, 2014. Guest poster Kirsten Rowell explains why. [update: see some of the fantastic #IamaNaturalist photos and tweets in our September 10 collection or scroll down this post for more blog excerpts.]   I am a Naturalist — I use careful observations of the natural world to inform my daily life and research. My practice of natural history feeds my research program with questions, and answers. But I don’t think I’ve ever introduced myself as a naturalist. When was the last time you heard an ecologist introduce herself as a NATURALIST? Why do we reject that identity?  Isn’t natural history the seed of many ecological questions—and in some cases the answer? This is why we (@esanathist ) are starting a #IAmANaturalist campaign to raise awareness about the prevalence of naturalists in ecology and the importance of natural history. Without natural history knowledge, I would be lost.  In my research I look for patterns in nature and I ask questions about what shapes those patterns. In the absence of natural history information, our progress toward an understanding of complex ecological questions grinds to a halt. Impacts of climate change?  Depends on the natural history. Management of threatened populations?  The devil is in the details of how and where they live and die. Disease prevention?  Same story.  All of our sophisticated models are only as good as the natural history that informs them. The field of Ecology is young, and it stands on the shoulders of natural history. Many of the icons in ecology, such as G.W. Carver, E. Leopold, E.O. Wilson, J. Goodall, J. Lubchenco, S. Earle, R. Kimmer, etc. were and are fundamentally naturalists, observing and recording the natural world in situ and in its entirety with a keen appreciation to connections and interactions.  It is the first-hand experiences in nature that give us the ”Rachel Carlson / Gene Likens” insights that unlock mysteries and help solve major environmental solutions.  It is also the naturalist instinct that is open to the abundance of complexity in ecosystems, which fuels our passion for better scholarship. Yet most ecologists don’t teach natural history courses. Anecdotally, this seems especially true for junior faculty. Over the past decades we have seen a steady decline in the practice of natural history, perceived value of natural history, and natural history course work for biology majors (Tewksbury et al. 2014). These statistics beg the question, what will the field of ecology look like in a future without...

Read More

Building a community that thrives online

Sandra Chung knows social media. As a communications specialist for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) she handles all things multimedia, including spearheading NEON’s Twitter feed (@NEONinc, with Jennifer Walton), and Facebook page. Last week, Sandra wrote about the power of Twitter to open up a meeting (the Ecological Society of America’s 97th annual meeting, to wit) and start conversations both in the moment, and in the fallow days following the intense social mixer and heavy data-dump of the event. Here’s a sample: For a few days in early August, the annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America (ESA) was a hot topic on Twitter. I know that because #ESA2012 was trending (right). There among the Internet memes and celebrity names was #ESA2012, a hashtag code that Twitter users used to flag tweets related to the meeting. One of the hottest social media topics of the day was a scientific meeting. It wasn’t the first time that it happened, and it won’t be the last. …continue reading “Building a community that thrives online, offline and after the meeting” at NEON Notes. At ESA2012, Sandra teamed up with paleoecology postdoc and blogger @JacquelynGill to present a workshop on “Social Media for Collaboration, Outreach and Impact.” The duo covered the basics of Twitter operations and online etiquette, and delved into more complex questions with their audience, like how to engage personably while tweeting under the aegis of an organization. If you missed the workshop, flip through their slides, embedded in Sandra’s NEON Notes post, for an overview.  But to get the whole story, you really had to be there as Jacquelyn and Sandra passed the lead seamlessly back and forth, fielding continuous questions and comments from the audience (corporeal and Twitter-projected) in the best unconference style, and making this feat of facilitation seem easy. The conversation is ongoing. Check it out at #ESA2012. Find more Portland 2012 blog highlights under EcoTone’s ESA2012...

Read More

ESA and Twitter – Sunday

Computational ecologist Ted Hart is in Portland (OR), blogging ESA’s annual meeting at Dynamic Ecology. Here’s an excerpt from his Sunday post–thanks for sharing, Ted! In 2007 at ESA I and two other people were using twitter. Back then I didn’t understand it and had to ask what hashtags were. I gave up on twitter until 2010 and now with a new handle I think I finally get it. One of my favorite things to do with twitter is text mine it. So here’s a word cloud of the 745 tweets with the #ESA2012 tag from Sunday. Clearly Jane Lubchenco and the plenary sessions were on lots of people’s minds. …continue reading “ESA and Twitter — Sunday,” and check out Ted’s Monday talk itinerary at his blog Distributed Ecology. Follow Ted on twitter at...

Read More

Sharing ecology online

It is no secret that the world is becoming increasingly digital. The evening news has less of a role in disseminating leading headlines than a friend or colleague does. That is, social media outlets have become primary sources of news—in general, stories vetted by friends, coworkers and family members have gained more credibility than a random, syndicated news report. This change in interactive networking brings with it challenges and a unique potential to broaden and simultaneously deepen conversations about science. As a result, the Ecological Society of America, has launched a new Facebook page as part of its efforts to initiate dialogue about the Society and ecological research, policy engagement, education and other initiatives in general. The new Facebook page allows you to Like ESA, post on the wall, view or add photos and start a discussion. You can also subscribe to the new Facebook page on your phone or as an RSS feed to receive ESA news and updates from the ecological community. ESA also provides updates on Twitter @ESA_org. And during this year’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas, tweeting enters meeting attendees into a drawing for the new ESA t-shirt, “Ecologists Do It in the Field.” Use Twitter and Facebook to share your thoughts on Earth Stewardship—in addition to networking with colleagues and receiving real-time meeting and Society announcements. Join the conversation about Earth Stewardship using #earthsteward on Twitter and mentioning “Earth Stewardship” on ESA’s Facebook wall. All responses will be automatically entered into the daily drawing. To share information about the annual meeting in general, use #ESA11 on Twitter. The theme of this year’s meeting, “Earth Stewardship: Preserving and enhancing the earth’s life-support systems,”will be explored in the numerous presentations and discussions during the conference.  The Society hopes some participants will also use the Society’s social media venues to share opinions, ideas, insights and suggestions. With your help, these contributions can help ESA formulate the best approaches to enhancing Earth Stewardship. Participants MUST be attending the annual meeting in order to collect the prizes. Winners will be announced on Twitter through ESA’s Twitter page, using the @mention feature to notify the winner. They will also be announced on ESA’s Facebook wall. Prizes will be picked up at the ESA booth in the exhibit hall. Photo Credit: Karl-Ludwig...

Read More