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Strengthening Ecology Careers

As a professional society, the career advancement of our members is central to our mission. In 2021, our support for careers in ecology took a big step forward, and members responded by enthusiastically jumping into our programs.

Career Development by the Numbers

  • 180 certification applications
  • 6 CEU providers approved
  • 28 ecologists participated in management and communication courses
  • 36 participants in Graduate Student Policy Award
  • 75 participants at the Life Discovery — Doing Science Education Conference
  • $550k in grants to support ecology education

In addition to the record number of students who participated in the Graduate Student Policy Award, the Life Discovery — Doing Science Education Conference (which we co-host with the Society for the Study of Evolution and the Botanical Society of America) brought 75 participants to Estes Park, Colorado, to explore new best practices in biology education. This area of our work was additionally bolstered by grants from the National Science Foundation (nearly $550,000 in total) to support the implementation of the 4DEE framework and the participation of faculty from minority-serving institutions in the Life Discovery Conference.

Perhaps the biggest change to our professional development programs in 2021 was the formal adoption of new procedures and requirements to make our certification program more rigorous and relevant. Participants are now required to earn 44 units of continuing education over the course of their certification, and to give them ample opportunity to learn even beyond ESA, we began a process of recruiting content providers — private trainers, university extensions, agencies and other societies — whose offerings align with the requirements for continuing education in ecology. We also made the process to earn the certification more accessible by substantially lowering fees, which resulted in a record number of applications.