The Ecological Society of America's SEEDS Program promotes opportunities to diversify and advance the profession of ecology.
To learn more about SEEDS, visit www.esa.org/seeds/
In this issue:
Upcoming Opportunities & Deadlines
SEEDS Chapter Deadlines
A reminder to all Campus Ecology Chapters that May 1 is the annual report deadline. Also, if your Chapter is in good standing, May 5 is the deadline for Special Project Grants. For more information and forms, visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/CampusEcologyChapters.php.
Lewis Reed, SEEDS Undergraduate
My name is Lewis Reed. I am currently an undergraduate senior in Environmental Studies at San Jose State University in California. My interests within this broad subject have ranged from sustainable agriculture systems to conservation biology, but I have become increasingly focused on grassland ecology. My fascination with ecology began very early as my parents toted me around on their shoulders during family excursions to wild places before I could walk. It was in a high school field biology class that I began to realize that studying the myriad forms of organisms and how they interact with their environment would be a potential career for me. I recognized the way my teacher, Rolland Carlson, inspired so many students and I thought what a neat job that would be to have. Shortly after graduating high school, I began working as a ranger aide with a local park called Sycamore Grove (that I essentially grew up in) and taking biology courses at a local community college. By the time I transferred to San Jose State University I had become a seasonal park ranger.
My work as a ranger has been very complimentary to my academic study. I have been exposed to a variety of real-world resource management challenges and spent a tremendous amount of time observing ecological interactions and processes in the park’s grasslands, oak savannas, and riparian woodlands. One of the most gratifying aspects of this work has been teaching the public about the intricacies of these ecosystems and how their function relates to our own lives. In addition to the ecological work I have done with the parks, I also spent a year teaching elementary school students about solid waste reduction for the Alameda County Waste Management Authority and nearly two years administering water conservation programs for the Santa Clara Valley Water District. Each of these jobs has taught me a great deal about our relationship as humans with the environment and, more importantly, they have provided me with an opportunity to share that understanding with others.
I am now looking forward to furthering my education in graduate school. Next fall I will begin workon my Masters degree under a Research Assistantship in the Department of Plant Biology at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. My research there will focus on the ecology and restoration of tall grass prairie ecosystems. The SEEDS program has played an important role in my decision to go to graduate school and in my opportunity to attend this program that is so well suited to my personal academic interests.
I found out about SEEDS from my Sustainable Agriculture instructor, Dr. Rachel O’Malley, who encouraged me to apply for the SEEDS travel grant to attend the 2005 ESA Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada. I was excited to receive the travel grant, but got so much more than I expected from the experience! Meeting so many researchers and students from different backgrounds who all shared my enthusiasm for learning about ecology was a tremendous inspiration. I was so impressed to see many of these students actively contributing to the field of ecology so early in there careers! In that single week with my SEEDS mentors, fellow students, and the numerous people I met during the conference, my prospect for attending graduate school to study ecology changed from being a distant possibility full of questions to a solid goal with several clear pathways. As it turns out, the assistantship under which I will be attending graduate school was introduced to me by my mentor at that conference.
The SEEDS program has provided me with other opportunities that have greatly influenced my academic development. SEEDS also allowed me to attend the International Conference in Merida in January 2005 where I met researchers from other parts of the world who share my interest in grassland ecology and I learned about some different potential careers for grassland ecologists. This summer I will be attending the SEEDS field trip to the Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Research Station in Kansas. This will be my first hand introduction to the tall grass prairie ecosystems that I will study throughout my Masters degree program! The SEEDS program has been a major positive influence on my academic development and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to be part of it.
University of Hawai'i at Manoa University Campus Ecology Chapter
The University of Hawai'i at Manoa Ecology Chapter (UHMEC) was recently established in the fall of 2005 to increase education and environmental awareness through experiences that the textbook, lecture, and laboratories cannot match. UHMEC students are actively involved with the community through outreach activities, ecological field trips, and educational programs in the Hawaiian Islands. Despite our short involvement we have been an increasingly active group at our University. We participated in a new event known as Campus Sustainability Day, which helped spotlight environmental, economic, cultural/social/political curricula and research, while promoting awareness of sustainability-related work. During this event the UHMEC developed several topics involving coral reefs, global warming, water quality, and native plants while conducting an outreach activity with 4th graders from Hokulani Elementary School.
UHMEC members also have a facilitation to find out about ESA fellowships, scholarships, field trips, and other opportunities that can expand students’ networks with ecologists and related professionals. Students were involved in the Ocean Science Conference, which was held in Honolulu last month.
Our most successful activity occurred very recently during our spring break from March 24-29 in the neighboring island of Maui. The East Maui Ecology Field Trip, sponsored through a SEEDS Campus Ecology Chapter Special Project Grant, helped expand student knowledge regarding the conservation of terrestrial and marine native species, while increasing appreciation and learning about Native Hawaiian culture and sustainable living.
UHMEC members camped throughout the trip in Maui. We first stayed at Waihe‘e Beach, where we participated in the restoration of edible native limu (algae). Local Hawaiian Scientist Napua Brown led the group in species identification, use, and different methods of algae restoration. Native algae (Codium spp.) were gathered, removed of invasive species (Hypnea musciformis), and entwined in natural fibers or secured to a piece of rock or coral. The fiber or rock with limu secured to it was placed back into the ocean wedge in the reef. Placement of the limu in this manner allows for the development of a holdfast and regeneration of edible native limu in the area. We then packed our tents and drove three hours past many waterfalls to East Maui Hana. Arriving at Ohe‘o Gulch, also known as the seven sacred pools, we readied ourselves to assist the Kipahulu ‘Ohana with their lo‘i, taro (Colocasia esculenta) pondfield. The Kipahulu ‘Ohana are a nonprofit organization, located within the limits of the Haleakala National Park, dedicated to educating residents and visitors on the “ways of old” through cultural demonstrations and hands-on activities. On our visit, members were involved in weeding patches, preparing for the East Maui Taro Festival, pounding kalo into poi (a Hawaiian food staple) and learning about sustainable Hawaiian living.
The trip concluded with a visit to the National Tropical Botanical Kahanu Gardens, known for their Polynesian ethnobotanical collection. We toured the grounds and learned about native and indigenous species. After the introduction to the Gardens, members pitched in to remove invasive species and clear the grown plants which where covering the Pi'ilanihale Heiau, an immense structure made out of lava rock believed to be the largest ancient place of worship in Polynesia.
Overall, we are interested in promoting the SEEDS mission of increasing the number of underrepresented students in the field of ecology. UHMEC hopes to broaden sustainable actions and raise awareness for the future generations in the Hawaiian Islands.
To learn more about the UHMEC Student President, Andrea Rivera, visit her fellow profile at http://www.esa.org/seeds/newsletter/mar06/Andrea.php
Dr. Judith Vergun, Chapter Advisor
Dr. Judith Vergun is a plant community ecologist, communications specialist, and a science educator. Her educational philosophy is based on free-choice learning concepts acknowledged in “Lessons Without Limit: How Free-choice Learning is Transforming Education” (Falk and Dierking 2002). She fosters opportunities that allow students to discover and develop their own special uniqueness and to learn to apply it to fulfill their lives and career objectives. She also serves on the ESA SEEDS Advisory Board.
She is a member of the faculty of the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, where she is funded by the NSF-Tribal Colleges and Universities Program to replicate her Oregon model for increasing the number of underrepresented students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Prior to joining the UH Manoa faculty, Dr. Vergun was a member of the faculty at the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University where in 1990, she and the Dean, Dr. Douglas Caldwell, established the Native Americans in Marine and Space Sciences Program. In 1993, she established the Diversity Internship Program for African American, Hispanic, and Asian American students. Comprehensive mentoring is the foundation for these programs that focus on undergraduate research internships and outreach. These programs provide intergenerational participation in unbroken pathways from preschool to K-12 through college and professional careers; involve families and communities in the educational process; offer core university classes addressing issues of difference, power and discrimination; and provide communications training similar to the Leopold Leadership training where Dr. Vergun was Director for the first 5 years of the program. As a result of receiving the 2004 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Engineering and Mathematics Mentoring, Dr. Vergun will convene selected colleagues from around the U.S. in a Summer 2006 three-day workshop in Honolulu to design and distribute guidelines for a model education program based on principles that have worked in the Oregon-Hawai'i programs and in their own programs.
Dr. Vergun has three daughters, two sons-in-law, and two grandsons who love to snorkel, dive, and downhill ski with her.
Dr. John Cusick, Chapter Co-Advisor
Dr. John Cusick is an Assistant Specialist at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Environmental Center. His undergraduate academic degree is in Geography, Latin American Studies, and Spanish, but a twist of fate after graduation led him to Japan for six years and eventually to the University of Hawai‘i for graduate school as an East-West Center Degree Fellow. His graduate research focused on the environmental history of biological and cultural diversity “hotspots” and the processes toward their protected area status.
He is currently a member of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Chancellor’s Sustainability Council and is assisting in the development of a sustainability studies program and coursework. This summer he will be in New Zealand as an external reviewer of a University of Georgia study abroad program whose focus is the human-environment relationship. The field studies component of this program highlights issues of natural resource management, indigenous rights, and sustainable development. He helped arrange the recent field trip funded by the ESA SEEDS program for Ecology Club members to the island of Maui.
Introducing the 2006-2007 SEEDS Fellows
The SEEDS Undergraduate Research Fellowship is an opportunity for students to conduct an independent ecological research project with the help of a mentor scientist. The 2006-2007 fellowship cohort consists of four students. Fellows are excited about this opportunity and have shared their thoughts.
"I must say, I am looking forward to going to the Konza Prairie LTER this summer and working with my mentor, Dr. Anthony Joern. This experience will be most beneficial to me and my future college and career goals. I feel very blessed and fortunate to have this kind of ecological research opportunity. I will learn what I can and make the most of it. Thank you SEEDS."
- Chris McLaughlin, University of Mary, Bismarck
“The SEEDS Fellowship is an incredible opportunity to grow as an individual who wants to be part of something bigger. I have been part of the fellowship for just a few months and in that time the incredible people (students, professors, researchers, administrators) I have met have given me the inspiration to follow my dreams and the energy to achieve them. This fellowship has opened many doors that were not there before. Soon I will be walking through them by interacting with other SEEDS students, participating in conferences, conducting research in the field that I love, and writing a mini-thesis that will be the seeds for my graduate career. My mentor is Dr. Luis Garcia Barrios of El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Chiapas, Mexico.”
- Colibri Sanfiorenzo, University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras
“The most exciting thing I am looking forward to is getting out there where the beaver are and gathering all the needed data to see if my hypothesis is correct. I recently went to Standing Rock to locate a research site and I believe I found one. While I was explaining my research project to the owners of the land one of them stated, "That's why we have beaver here, so we can have lots of water." I was thinking awesome!!! This is the place! I will be working with Dr. Carol Johnston of South Dakota State University for my research.”
- Marla Striped Face-Collins, United Tribes Technical College
“I am honored to be a part of this fellowship and can't wait to start my research. With this fellowship, I hope to grow as an emerging scientist and gain valuable field skills not learned in the classroom. I'm grateful for this program and hope to make a difference in the field of ecology. Dr. Mike Heithaus of Florida International University will be my mentor for the fellowship.”
- Ku'ulei Vickery, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Fellows will be attending the 2006 ESA Annual Meeting in Memphis in Memphis, Tennessee. For more information about the fellowship please visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/FellowshipsInfo.php
Marla Collins, SEEDS Fellow, Awarded Ms. AIHEC
SEEDS 2006-2007 Undergraduate Research Fellow, Marla Collins, of United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, North Dakota, was awarded Ms. AIHEC for 2006/2007! The Mr./Ms. AIHEC (American Indian Higher Education Consortium) competition recognizes outstanding tribal college students who will serve as ambassadors for 2006-2007. In 1982, enrollment at the tribal colleges stood at approximately 2,000 (O’Brien 1992). By 1996-97, however, enrollment over the 12-month academic period reached 24,363 undergraduates and 260 graduate students. Through the coming year Marla will share her tribal college story and her personal experiences at meetings, conferences, pow-wows, and other community gatherings. This prestigious honor awards a trip to one national gathering during the year of her term. To prepare herself for this competition, Marla had to understand and have knowledge of AIHEC and the entire tribal college movement, history, and future developments. The judging panel had criteria of a grade point average of 3.0, a candidate’s cultural experiences and involvement in their college and community, personal vision and future goals, intellectual development, pursuit of research, advanced studies, speaking ability, and overall personal presentation, as well as academic scholarships.
ESA Annual Meeting
SEEDS is gearing up for the 2006 ESA Annual Meeting to be held in Memphis, Tennessee, August 6-11. Thank you to all who applied for travel awards. Through these awards, approximately 35 students, 20 Chapter faculty, and 5 alumni will be attending the meeting. SEEDS is also pleased with the enthusiastic response from ESA members to the call for meeting mentors for SEEDS students at the Meeting. The SEEDS program in Memphis is quite full this year with orientations, mixers, and a Sunday workshop on what educators can learn from minority students.
Konza Prairie Field Trip
SEEDS is also gearing up for it spring field trip, which will be held in Kansas, June 5-9. Many exciting and enriching activities are planned. In Lawrence KS, we will receive a behind-the-scenes tour of the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas, one of the best in the nation. We will also tour the wetlands near Haskell Indian Nations University and learn comprehensive ecological, cultural, artistic, and historical perspectives on this unique area. We will then travel to Manhattan, KS, to learn more about the research being conducted at the Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Research site. There we will meet many ecologists, participate in their research, and learn more about their career paths through a career panel discussion. SEEDS field trips are aimed at providing students with a well rounded experience with ecology – scientific, personal, cultural – and this Kansas trip is sure to measure up. A summary of the field trip and photos will be found in the July newsletter.
The SEEDS program is undergoing an important program assessment. Over the last six months, SEEDS staff have participated in several assessment meetings with representatives from the Institute for Learning Innovation. The results of these exciting efforts will be seen in upcoming activity evaluations, student surveys, and a comprehensive database to help us understand how well the SEEDS program is meeting its mission, and where there is room for improvement.
SEEDS at Livingstone College
SEEDS Student Coordinator Jeramie Strickland visited with Livingstone College April 7. Jeramie’s presentation to Freshman Biology for non-majors and Biology for majors focused on career options in the ecology field; the importance and need for minorities in the field; and why it is important to get involved with ESA and SEEDS. He also distributed information about internships, scholarships, and other opportunities that are available for students that wish to pursue ecology degrees. In addition, he was given a tour of the campus by Chapter Advisor Dr. Sashi Sabaratnam and Chapter students who discussed their planning for the Butterfly Garden and Green House Special Projects. Thirteen students joined Jeramie for lunch at a restaurant near campus for further discussion about Jeramie’s career pathway into the ecology profession and other insights about career development including how to apply to graduate school and create a winning curriculum vitae. For more information about Livingstone College and other SEEDS Chapters please visit http://www.esa.org/seeds/activities/CampusEcologyChapters.php.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Center for Tropical Forest Service (CTFS) Research Grants Program
Location: Varies, 18 sites in 15 countries Participation Dates: Varies, 3 months to 3 years in length
The Research Grants Program of the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute supports research associated with the CTFS network of Forest Dynamics Plots. This grants program is intended to provide opportunities for senior researchers, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students to utilize existing Forest Dynamics Plots and to conduct research with scientists associated with these plots. The CTFS network of FDPs includes 18 sites in 15 countries. Anyone working directly in a Forest Dynamics Plot (FDP), analyzing data from a plot, or generating complementary data that strengthens FDP research programs is eligible to apply. Projects can be field-oriented, laboratory-based, or analytical, and scientifically, basic or applied in nature. The CTFS Research Grants Program will make awards for projects three months to three years in length.
Benefits: Grants will range from $3,000-$30,000.
Eligibility: This opportunity is open to all researchers from graduate students to senior scientists. Applicants are welcome from all nationalities.
Application & Deadline: http://www.ctfs.si.edu - July 28, 2006
Contact: Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute CTFS Grants Program, Apartado 0843-03092, Balboa, Ancón, Panamá, República de Panamá; 507-212-8144
Help Support SEEDS
We invite you to contribute to ESA's SEEDS Program to help support and encourage greater diversity in the ecology profession. Contributions to the SEEDS program are tax deductible and are used to support special initiatives for underrepresented students. To contribute, visit www.esa.org/seeds/supportSEEDS.php
Please contact us at email@example.com. Send mail to: SEEDS Program, Ecological Society of America, 1400 Spring Street, Suite 330, Silver Spring, MD, 20910.