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Diversity in Ecology

ESA Diversity Statement

The Ecological Society of America is dedicated to the science and study of ecology. The society welcomes and encourages participation by all individuals regardless of age, culture, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, national origin, physical or mental difference, politics, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or subculture. We strive to cultivate a society built on mentorship, encouragement, tolerance and mutual respect, thereby engendering a welcoming environment for all. Ecologists believe in the need for interdisciplinary study, both in terms of disciplines and participants. We believe in biodiversity both in terms of ecosystems and membership. We will vigorously and proactively reject prejudice and stereotyping wherever it is encountered in our profession. ESA further promotes diversity in all areas of activity, including fostering diversity in membership, leadership, committees, staff, outreach, public engagement, recruitment, and all other areas of societal activity.

— Adopted November 2014


Making a More Inclusive Society

ESA takes the equitable inclusion and safe participation of all members of our community seriously, so we encourage everyone to share your thoughts regarding structural barriers in ESA. Here, you can report particular barriers or suggest other ways we can improve. Together, we can better create a safe and welcome environment in ESA.

Task Force on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

The ESA Governing Board has formed a Task Force on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice (DEIJ).  Several blog posts summarizing what the Task Force learned from listening sessions and input from ESA leaders and members are available in the ESA EcoTone DEIJ series. The Task Force submitted a set of recommendations to the ESA Governing Board in November 2020, also reported in the EcoTone DEIJ series. 

Members of the DEIJ Task Force include:

  • Pamela Templer, Chair, VP for Education and Human Resources, Boston University
  • Anjali Boyd, Duke University
  • Jacoby Carter, U.S. Geological Survey Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
  • Jacquelyn Gill, University of Maine
  • Zakiya Leggett, North Carolina State University
  • Robert Newman, University of North Dakota.

In June 2020, ESA’s leadership emphatically committed to redoubling efforts to diversify the Society and the science of ecology, and provide more support for minority scientists. Read it here.

ESA Community

ESA includes many subdivisions that reflect the human diversity as well as the scientific diversity of the field. Explore our diverse sections and chapters for opportunities to connect with our diverse ecological community.

Our awards program includes the Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award.

You can follow our ongoing blog series on diversity, equity, inclusion and justice.

Submission guidelines to the DEIJ Blog Series


ESA Annual Meeting

We take seriously the safe and welcoming experience of attendees at our Annual Meeting, and have built a number of practices into our meetings process. These meeting FAQ (and the special FAQ for the 2020 virtual meeting) provide a summary. We additionally require that all participants adhere to our Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics, and provide these guidelines for social media related to the meeting.

Every year, we bring underrepresented undergraduates to the Annual meeting to participate as part of the SEEDS program. We also make travel grants available for students and others to enable those to attend that may not have access to funds, including the Diversity and Inclusion Annual Meeting Travel Scholarships. The 2020 meeting also includes a robust body of registration grants to enable participation by those who lack funding.


ESA Diversity Programs

Strategies for Ecology Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS)

SEEDS is ESA’s flagship award-winning education program. Its mission is to diversify and advance the ecology profession through opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students to participate, and to lead in ecology. Focused mainly at the undergraduate level, with extension services for communities, high schools, graduate students, and international collaborations, the SEEDS program promotes an ecology profession with wide representation to ensure environmental understanding and a sustainable future for all.

EcologyPlus: Where Diversity Meets Opportunity

EcologyPlus aims to connect diverse college students and early career scientists with timely and relevant career opportunities and a community of peers and professionals in ecology and related careers across all sectors.  EcologyPlus is both an alliance and an approach to integrate available partner programs that foster the participation of underrepresented minorities in a broad range of career pathways where ecology plays a role. EcologyPlus recognizes the need for diverse ecological expertise in a wide variety of fields.

This project is made possible with an award from the National Science Foundation through the NSF INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) program.


Reports and Other Resources

Resources For Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice (DEIJ)

We compiled resources shared during the Listening Session “Speaking of Race” on June 3, 2020, and combined those materials with other content available to the Society. This page includes science-focused resources for those working in the lab environment, and general resources that can be of use to anyone trying to stay informed on how we can approach issues of diversity from a variety of perspectives.

Explore the collection of articles on:

  • Resources for PIs, academic administrators and program faculty
  • How to be an Ally
  • Educational Reform
  • Understanding Racism
  • Testimonies from the Field
  • Demographic perspectives

Women and Minorities in Ecology (WAMIE) Committee Reports 
ESA established the Committee on Women and Minority Affairs in 1988. In 1991, it became a Standing Committee of the Society. This committee provides leadership and recommendations for ESA diversity initiatives.

» WAMIE II Report (2006) 
» WAMIE I Report (1993)
» Report of the Standing Committee [ESA Bulletin]  (1992)

Profiles of Ecologists Report
This report was the result of a 2005 survey of the ESA membership to: (1) determine the pattern of graduate degrees in ecology earned; (2) determine ethnicity and gender composition in the field; (3) catalog the nation’s environmental science capabilities; and (4) analyze current patterns of employment.