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.
Making a More Inclusive Society
Over the last 30 years the Ecological Society of America has been monitoring the diversity of its membership and developing an award-winning mentoring program for students underrepresented in STEM, in an effort to broaden the range of human perspectives engaged in the practice of ecology (History | 20th Anniversary of SEEDS (esa.org). These efforts are even more important today because so many of the current global environmental problems target people of color and diverse community engagement is urgently needed to apply ecological principles in providing environmental solutions.
Today’s ESA members have organized groups of diversity-focused ecologists who work to heighten awareness of the human dimension in ecological practices and highlight the interests and representation of diverse environmental professionals. These affinity groups in the society include: the Asian Ecology, Black Ecologists, Communication and Engagement, Environmental Justice, Human Ecology, Inclusive Ecology and Traditional Ecological Knowledge sections and the Latin America and Caribbean chapter.
Over the years, the ESA Committee on Diversity and Education combined its education and diversity-focused efforts, developing many great teaching and mentoring initiatives. On the education side, ESA has focused on developing a multidimensional approach to improve our effectiveness in providing inclusive pedagogy and career skills needed to train the future environmental workforce (www.esa.org/4DEE). On the diversity side, ESA has grown its SEEDS student mentoring program to increase diverse participation in the environmental careers. But in the last four years, the urgent need to increase diversity of ecologists was made clearer by the Black Lives Matter movement, and the disproportionate impact of COVID19 and climate change on people of color.
Thus 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. The ESA Governing Board 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, which included forming a separate ESA Diversity Committee.
In September 2021, a separate ESA Diversity Committee was established and charged to build awareness, build support and build a network of partnerships to more effectively address DEIJ issues, implement the DEIJ Task Force’s recommendations, and work to increase the diversity and support for ecologists of diverse backgrounds.
The ESA Diversity Committee is responsible for 1) advising ESA on the development of programs to enhance recruitment, training, and retention of underrepresented and marginalized groups in the ecological sciences, and 2) encouraging equitable treatment and representation of people of all genders, ages, races, ethnicities, abilities, sexual orientations, and cultural backgrounds. The Diversity Committee engages all ESA sections, chapters, and committees to address diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within ESA and across the field of ecology. We also interact with the ESA Nominations Committee to help recruit a diverse pool of applicants for all ESA Awards, including the Commitment to Human Diversity in Ecology Award.
Current membership includes:
|Member Name||Term Length|
|Carmen Cid, Chair||(2021 - 2024)|
|Arvind Bhuta||(2021 - 2024)|
|Concepcion Rodriguez-Fourquet||(2021 - 2024)|
|Robert Newman||(2021 - 2023)|
|Skylar Bayer||(2021 - 2024)|
|Jacoby Carter||(2021 - 2023)|
|Priyanga Amarasekare||(2021 - 2023)|
Contact Carmen R. Cid (ude.tcnretsaenull@dic), Chair of the ESA Diversity Committee for information on how ESA is implementing its DEIJ Task Force recommendations.
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. Please check ESA website for travel grant updates.
ESA Diversity Programs
ESA diversity-enhancement programs include the Excellence in Ecology Scholarships program, environmental career development programs (SEEDS, EcologyPlus) and the 2022 intersociety environmental partnership network funded by the National Science Foundation LEAPS initiative.
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 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
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.
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.