CORRESPONDENCE TO POLICYMAKERS
The Ecological Society of America (ESA) recently joined over 275 organizations in sending a letter to farm bill conferees requesting the inclusion of several critical conservation programs in the next farm bill authorization. Specifically, the letter requests inclusion of the Senate farm bill’s conservation compliance and sodsaver provisions, both of which help protect wildlife habitat and natural resources affected by agricultural land use.
In a joint letter to federal biosphere reserve administrators ESA, joined by the George Wright Society and the Organization of Biological Field Stations, requested that administrators complete the paperwork required to allow the United States to continue its participation in the World Network of Biosphere Reserves. Biosphere reserves that fail to submit required periodic reviews before the end of calendar year 2013 will be delisted by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, which oversees the program.
ESA also spearheaded a letter to the House Natural Resources Committee in response to the committee moving on an increasing number of legislative proposals that would limit National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. The letter outlines the important role NEPA plays in ensuring federal environmental policy decisions are informed by public input, including comments from the scientific community. “Through NEPA, public knowledge of environmental risks are improved as are federal agencies’ ability to make policy decisions informed by the local communities who would be most affected by a suggested proposal.”
In September, ESA joined over 800 conservation organizations in a letter to House and Senate appropriators supporting funding for key fish and wildlife conservation grant programs.
ESA MEMBERS IN ACTION
ELENA BENNETT (McGill University) presented before the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers’ October 24 congressional briefing on "The Role of Ecosystem Science in Food Security."
KAI CHAN (University of British Columbia) blogged about his experiences participating in the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services expert workshop in Cape Town.
The Korean Broadcasting System visited the lab of JAMES MCGRAW (West Virginia University) in October to document his efforts to foster environmental stewardship of wild American ginseng populations.
LISA SCHULTE-MOORE and Stephanie Enloe (Iowa State University) gave a presentation to the Boone River Watershed Partnership on their efforts to improve water quality on private agricultural lands in the Midwest. The partnership’s members include the US Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Iowa Soybean Association and The Nature Conservancy.
SCOTT COLLINS (University of New Mexico, ESA President 2012-2013) reflected on his tenure as ESA president and the importance of effectively communicating research to policymakers in a recent edition of the Ecologist Goes to Washington (EGWASH) podcast.
Another EGWASH podcast featured MATTHEW HURTEAU (Penn State University) and his reflections on meeting with policymakers on Capitol Hill to discuss his research into wildfire management activities.
See Yourself Highlighted in the Next ESA in Action
If you’ve interacted with policymakers or media beyond the ecological community, we’d definitely like to highlight your work in the ESA in Action Winter edition. To be included, just send a blurb (with photo, if possible) to ESA’s Public Affairs Office at firstname.lastname@example.org by the end of January 2014.
SEEDS FIELD TRIP
In October, ESA's SEEDS Program (Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability) took a field trip to the Vieques Wildlife Refuge in Puerto Rico. Site visits were limited due to the government shutdown, but still included the Piedras River Aqueduct, the For Nature Reserve and the Northeast Ecological Corridor.
Two SEEDS alumni now lead a nonprofit organization named GAIA, which is a member of the over 20 organizations that make up the Northeast Ecological Corridor Coalition.
The November issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment focuses on the effects of climate change on ecosystems and human well-being. The special issue summarizes findings that will be outlined in the upcoming National Climate Assessment report, scheduled for release in 2014. In addition to highlighting the impact of climate change on ecosystem services, the report explains the assessment process and identifies how collected data can be used in climate mitigation and adaption activities.
The November issue of Ecology focuses on the migration patterns of female tiger sharks in the Northwestern Hawaii islands. The female sharks’ migration coincides with the tiger shark birth season between September and November and moderately corresponds with the period of highest shark bite risk between October and December. According to author Yannis Papastamatiou (University of Florida), the study disproves prior notions that tiger sharks stick to close territories.
'Follow' ESA activities on Twitter, Facebook
ESA's social media reach continues to expand. Our Facebook page has over 3,400 likes and we currently have 9,930 followers on Twitter. Keep track of science and policy developments, news about your fellow ecologists and join the conversation through our Facebook page and twitter.
CALLING ALL ESA GRAD STUDENTS – ESA NOW ACCEPTING 2014 GSPA APPLICATIONS
The Ecological Society of America (ESA) invites applications for its 2014 Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA). This award, offered annually to up to four winners, provides graduate students hands-on science policy experience in Washington, DC including interacting with congressional decision-makers, federal agency officials, and others engaged in science and public policy. Deadline to apply is Jan. 6, 2014.
ESA covers travel and lodging expenses associated with this event for GSPA recipients. The two-day event will occur this spring. Specific dates will be announced in coming weeks. For more information, click here.
UPCOMING FELLOWSHIP DEADLINES
American Geosciences Institute
Application Deadline: Dec. 11, 2013
California Science and Technology Policy Fellowship
*2014-2015 application period begins Dec. 1, 2013
White House Fellowship
*Application Deadline: Jan. 15, 2014