Policy > Activities
ESA sponsors or co-sponsors about three briefings each year, in which ESA members and other experts inform congressional staff on the science behind issues of importance to lawmakers, such as biofuels, wildfires, invasive species, and climate change. Recent briefings include:
Using Science to Improve Flood Management - November 2, 2011
On November 2, 2011, ESA sponsored a congressional briefing: "Using Science to Improve Flood Management." Emily Stanley (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and Jeff Opperman (The Nature Conservancy, Ohio Field Office) addressed the function of floodplains and managing rivers as systems and for multiple benefits.
Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation - January 8, 2010
ESA co-sponsored a congressional briefing that provided a scientific perspective on options for adapting to climate change in the United States.
- Michael MacCracken, Chief Scientist for Climate Change Programs, the Climate Institute
- Kristie L. Ebi, Executive Director, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2 Technical Support Unit - Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability
- Katherine L. Jacobs, Professor, University of Arizona Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department
- Susanne Moser, Director and Principal Researcher, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting
Water Resources in the West: Assessing Tradeoffs in a Changing Climate – July 13, 2009
ESA co-sponsored a congressional briefing on status and future of freshwater resources in the American West, and the role of ecological science in efforts to prevent and adapt to water shortages.
- Jill Baron, Ecosystem Ecologist, US Geological Survey, Colorado State University
- Darrel Jenerette, Assistant Professor of Functional Landscape Ecology, University of California, Riverside
- Diane Pataki, Associate Professor of Earth System Science and Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Irvine
Climate Change: Intersections of Climate and Policy - January 9, 2009
ESA co-sponsored a congressional briefing to address the scientific and public policy-related aspects of climate change.
- Timothy Wirth, former US Representative and Senator and lead US negotiator at the Kyoto Climate Conference
- Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who co-chaired Working Group 1 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment & Security
- Ted Parson, Professor of Law and of Natural Resources & Environment at the University of Michigan
From Agricultural to Urban Ecosystems: Nature's Services to Humankind - December 2, 2008
ESA co-sponsored a webinar on ecosystem services featuring presentations from both ecologists and economists:
- Jim Gosz, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education at the University of Idaho’s College of Natural Resources
- Rich Pouyat, former Vice President of ESA Public Affairs and research forester with the US Forest Service
- Scott Swinton, Professor of Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics at Michigan State University
- Steven Kraft, Chair of the Department of Agribusiness Economics at Southern Illinois University Carbondale
ESA co-sponsored a congressional briefing on land management following forest fires.
- Norm Christensen, former ESA President (2007-2008) and a forest ecologist at Duke University
- Dan Neary, a soil scientist with the U.S. Forest Service at the Rocky Mountain Research Station
- Stephen Swallow, a resource economist with the University of Rhode Island
The Sustainability of Cellulosic Biofuels - June 11, 2008
ESA hosted a congressional briefing on the ecological and economic impacts of producing biofuels from cellulosic sources—the leaves, stems, and other fibrous parts of plants.
- Phil Robertson, who specializes in crop and soil science at the Kellogg Biological Station at Michigan State University
- Doug Landis, an entomologist from Michigan State University
- Madhu Khanna, an agricultural economist at the University of Illinois
Congressional Field Trips
ESA periodically co-sponsors special field trips for congressional staff which showcase a particular regional site (in the greater Washington area) and corresponding ecological research. Most recently, ESA helped organize a day-long field trip to the Smithsonian’s Conservation Research Center that featured endangered birds and mammals and environmental observations.
Multiple times throughout the year, ESA’s public affairs staff arrange meetings for Society members to connect with policymakers and discuss issues of concern to the ecological science community. Society leaders, Rapid Response Team members, and ESA Graduate Student Policy Award winners are among those who meet with congressional offices. In addition, ESA public affairs staff meet with targeted staff to discuss areas of mutual concern and ways in which the Society can inform and serve as a scientific resource to developing policy issues.
Since 1998, ESA has participated in a science exhibition held on Capitol Hill which showcases research and education projects made possible by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Sponsored by the Coalition for National Science Funding, the annual event draws hundreds of congressional staff as well as several Members of Congress and top NSF officials.
Over the years, ESA exhibitors have showcased the Long Term Ecological Research Network, science education projects, stream restoration, African ecosystems, and climate change. Most recently, ESA sponsored Travis Huxman (University of Arizona) whose NSF-funded work includes the consequences of climate change on southwestern ecosystems.
ESA is active in several Washington, DC-based coalitions. These coalitions share information and engage in various policy activities throughout the year that are centered on supporting science. ESA participates in the following coalitions: