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Diverse People for a Diverse Science

ESA prides itself on not just being committed to principles of inclusion and diversity as a society, but on being a trailblazer in that regard. We take seriously the values explicated in our Diversity Statement and look to constantly improve as an organization that supports equity and justice for all who would join with us. In 2019, our work — whether at the Annual Meeting or as standalone programs — built on our past and looked ahead to an even better tomorrow.

Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability

ESA’s SEEDS program once again proved invaluable to diversifying the science of ecology and the member of ESA along with it. This award-winning education program advances the ecology profession as an option for underrepresented students by stimulating and nurturing their interests to participate and lead.

From April 25-29, 2019 we hosted 12 students to participate in a field trip to the Canyonlands Research Center in Monticello, Utah run by The Nature Conservancy.  The CRC is hosted at the Dugout Ranch, a working cattle ranch within the Bears Ears National Monument and right at the entrance of Canyonlands National Park – Needles District.  This amazing location provided an outstanding venture into understanding the unique landscape of southeastern Utah and the Colorado Plateau, and it’s rapid change as a reaction to climate change – the availability of water and the sustainability of livelihood through ranching in the area.

In August SEEDS brought 43 undergraduates and 4 alumni to the Annual Meeting in partnership with the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program. The SEEDS program included eight events during the week that engaged students participating with the program. Our SEEDS Partnerships for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Fellows were recognized during the ESA Diversity Luncheon.  Students came from 19 states and 29 institutions. Of the 43 students 22 students were funded by SEEDS, 16 by the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars program, and 4 students were sponsored by other organizations.  Each student selected an ESA member to be their mentor for the week and 45 of the 47 students presented their research at ESA.

From September 25-29, 2019 the SEEDS program hosted its yearly Leadership Meeting at the Virginia Coastal Reserve LTER in Cape Charles, VA! The theme of the meeting was “Border Ecology: the interactions between ecology and other fields.” and 20 students from all over the US participated in this event. We had a few distinguished ESA members present on their careers — ESA President Osvaldo Sala, Executive Director Catherine O’Riordan, and Malina Loeher, SEEDS alum and M.S. student at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science — which was key in making this a great event.  The students participated in outreach activities, collected data and had the opportunity to explore the amazing ecosystems of the barrier islands of the Chesapeake Bay, marine ecology, and climate change factors that are affecting these delicate systems.