ESA Governing Board
August 5, 2000
The August 2000 meeting of the Governing Board was attended by Diana Wall (President), Steve Carpenter (President-Elect); Katherine Gross (Past-President), Pam Matson (incoming President-Elect), Lisa Graumlich (Secretary), James Clark (Vice President for Science), Timothy Schowalter (Vice President for Public Affairs), William Schlesinger (Vice President for Finance), Alan Berkowitz (Vice President for Education and Human Resources), Ariel Lugo (Member-at-Large), Rodolfo Dirzo (Member-at-Large), Robin Chazdon (Member-at-Large), Julie Denslow (Member-at-Large–Elect), Carol Brewer (Vice President for Education and Human Resources–Elect) and Executive Director Katherine McCarter. Incoming Editor-in-Chief Don Strong, Managing Editor David Baldwin, Associate Managing Editor David Gooding, SBI Director Mary Barber, Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn, and Financial Manager Elizabeth Biggs were present for parts of the meeting. The meeting was called to order by President Wall at 9:00 am on Friday, August 4, 2000 and adjourned at noon on Saturday, August 5, 2000.
- The Governing Board unanimously adopted the Agenda and approved the minutes from the May 2000 meeting.
- President Wall reported on activities related to the role of ESA in public affairs. Wall has been elected to the Governing Board of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents. ESA participated along with other scientific societies in the “Doubling the NSF Budget” effort. She also reported on discussions with Eugene Odum regarding gifts to ESA in his honor. Gene graciously donated $25,000 to be matched by ESA members for the ESA Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education. The first award will be given at the 2000 ESA meeting.
- Executive Director McCarter presented a set of written reports to the Governing Board summarizing the activities of ESA staff. Highlights of these reports include the following:
- McCarter reported that registration for the 2000 annual meeting at Snowbird is expected to meet or exceed last year’s total. The focus on the 10th Anniversary of ESA’s Sustainable Biosphere Initiative and carry-over from pre-meeting LTER All-Scientists’ Meeting may have contributed to the larger attendance at this year’s annual meeting.
- Sustainable Biosphere Initiative (SBI) Director Barber reported that SBI Scientific Program Office has released three scientific reports in the past six months, organized several briefings in DC, and revitalized the Ecological Information Network (EIN). The EIN Project has been undertaken in collaboration with the National Biological Information Infrastructure of the USGS. The EIN will be on online, electronic directory, which will list expertise of cooperating members. The Office continues to develop and increase awareness of its Ecosystem Services and Land-Use initiatives. Cathy Pringle is the new Chair of the SBI Steering Committee.
- Director for Public Affairs Lymn reported on activities that focus on conveying ecological information to the media and Congress, enhancing ESA’s ecological education programs, working with the broad scientific community to foster support for science, and publicizing the Society’s activities. The Public Affairs Committee and Public Affairs Office are working together to organize a community outreach program for the 2000 Snowbird meeting modeled after last year’s successful Dishman Hills Outreach Project. The 2000 project will feature a half-day workshop on Antelope Island focusing on the ecology and land use of the Great Salt Lake. Ecologists will interact with civic leaders from the local community as well as inform the general public regarding ecological issues in this region.
- Managing Editor Baldwin reported that during calendar year 1999 submissions to ESA journals declined relative to the previous year and that this was the first time that this has happened in the past decade. While the decline in submissions during the pat year will help reduce the publication backlog, any continuation of this trend would be a cause for concern. Baldwin reported continued progress in reducing the publication lag by increasing the number of published pages. He anticipates that during calendar year 2001, the Publications Office will be able to trim another three months from the lag between acceptance and publication of manuscripts. He also reported on plans to implement new software and computer equipment (including a web server) in the Publications Office in order to permit electronic submission and review of manuscripts. The new system should decrease the time elapsed from submission to a first decision (accept/reject/revise).
- Secretary Graumlich reported on changes in the leadership of the Future Meetings Committee. Donald Shure, Chair of the Future Meetings Committee, has indicated his intention to step down from this position at the end of the Snowbird meeting. He has suggested several replacements. Graumlich moved that the Governing Board thank Donald Shure for his distinguished service as chair of this committee. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. Graumlich moved that the Governing Board appoint Steve Chaplin as new Chair of the Future Meetings Committee. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
- Vice President for Finance Schlesinger reported on the FY 2000 budget. Both revenues and expenses fell below budgeted amounts for FY 2000. Careful management of cash flow allowed ESA to achieve a balanced budget during FY 2000 and to contribute $30,275 to the restoration of the pool of unrestricted funds that can support the Society operations. In addition, more that $33,000 has been contributed to the Millennium Fund since its inception in August 1999.
- Past President Gross updated the Governing Board on the National Parks Ecological Research Fellowship Program, which will be conducted in partnership with ESA. This program has been funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to encourage and support outstanding post-doctoral research in basic ecological sciences related to the flora of the National Parks.
- Member-at-Large Dirzo reported that he has been investigating how ESA might translate Issues in Ecology into Spanish. Dirzo reports that he is working with the current President of the Ecological Society of Argentina to find funds for this project.
III. Discussion/Action Items
- Fiscal Year 2000-2001 ESA Budget. Vice President for Finance Schlesinger outlined a proposed budget for Council approval. We anticipate increased revenues for the Society, resulting from an increase in membership dues, proposed for Council approval, and the increase in institutional subscription rates that was approved by Council beginning in 1999. The proposed budget anticipates only modest increases in overall expenses. Purchase of a new manuscript tracking system for the Publications Office in Ithaca accounts for a substantial, one-time increase in the equipment budget for FY 2001, but these costs are partially defrayed by monies for the Millennium Fund. Carpenter moved that the Governing Board accept the proposed budget to be forwarded to ESA Council for final approval. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
- The proposed budget allocates funds for three committees (seven people at $800 each for a total of $5600 per committee) to meet during FY 2000-2001. Gross moved that the Governing Board authorize committee funds to be used by the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative Steering Committee, the Education and Human Resources Committee, and the Public Affairs Committee. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
- Report of the Membership Committee. Member-at-Large Chazdon, chair of the Ad Hoc Committee on Membership, presented a series of 11 motions for Governing Board discussion and action. The Governing Board recognizes the importance of this report and is enthusiastic about the recommendations.
- Gross moved to recommend a change to the ESA By-Laws to allow the Governing Board to add or modify membership categories with approval by ESA Council. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
- Chazdon moved to add four new membership categories to ESA, including 1) Post-Doctoral Level (up to two years after receiving Ph.D.); 2) Associate Level (K-12 educators); 3) Student Membership in Developing Country; and 4) Developing Country regular membership without a journal. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
- The Governing Board encourages ESA staff members to assess the costs of implementing direct internet subscription and updating of membership information. Databases for meeting and membership should be in the same database format, with the goal of integrating meeting and membership databases into a single, interactive membership database.
- The Governing Board encourages ESA editors and Publication Committee to work out a mechanism to highlight cross-cutting disciplines and to divide the journals into thematic sections.
- Fundraising. The Governing Board asked the staff to investigate the possibility of starting a new funding/development activity for ESA with the assumption that we would utilize the services of a professional fundraiser. President Wall asked Vice President for Finance Schlesinger to ask the Fundraising Committee to work with staff to refine toals of the fundraising effort.
1. On a related matter, Schlesinger moved that the ESA membership forms be modified as follows: 1) delete the check off for endowment; and 2) add and advertise two new check off categories: Millennium Action Fund and Millennium Endowment Fund. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
- Report of the Vice President for Education and Human Resources (EHR). Vice President Berkowitz reported that one of the key objectives of the EHR Committee for the coming year is to define and promote scholarship in ecological education. Towards that end, the Governing Board encourages the EHR Committee to work with the Editors-in-Chief to explore how best to publish peer-reviewed research on ecological education.
- Report of the Vice President for Public Affairs. Vice President Schowalter responded to a request by the Governing Board for an update on the invasive species white paper. Schowalter contacted Tom Stohlgren and requested an updated outline clarifying the approach of the paper and the means by which a balanced perspective will be ensured. The Governing Board asked Schowalter to solicit a formal proposal for the white paper on invasive species for the November 2000 meeting. President Wall appointed Member-at-Large Denslow as monitor for the white paper in invasive species.
- Report of the Vice President for Science. Vice President Clark covered a range of issues related to science programs and publications.
- Magazine Business Plan. The Governing Board asked staff to develop a draft business plan for a new ESA magazine. A plan was developed using the outline provided to the Governing Board in March. The working draft envisions a new world-class magazine that brings ecological science, both basic and applied, into focus on the pressing environmental challenges and problems, and enhances communication among professional ecologists, applied scientists, and public policy makers. The Governing Board received the draft plan with great interest and expressed gratitude to staff, especially Liz Biggs, for their input. After discussion, President Wall asked President-Elect Matson to work with staff and other Governing Board members to further develop the business plan, including outlining a funding strategy, and to report back to the Governing Board in November.
- Sustainable Biosphere Initiative Review. Vice President for Science Clark presented to the Governing Board a review of the Sustainable Biosphere Initiative (SBI). David Policansky chaired the Ad Hoc Committee on SBI Effectiveness. The Committee reported that SBI’s program is extensive and productive and that the staff has developed an effective program on a limited budget. The committee also reported that SBI has helped the ESA to become known as a proactive leader. Respondents to the Committee’s survey noted that SBI has been an effective facilitator in the areas of Land Use and Ecosystem Services and that such activities as congressional briefings were well received. The Governing Board accepted the report and forwarded it to the SBI Steering Committee and staff for implementation.
- Annual Meeting Abstract Guidelines. At its May meeting, the Governing Board asked incoming Program Chair Paul Zedler to propose guidelines for the submission and review of annual meeting abstracts. Zedler circulated a draft of the guidelines to the Board prior to the August meeting. The Governing Board discussed the guidelines with Zedler and encourages finalization of the guidelines.
- Editor-in-Chief for Ecological Applications. Vice President Clark updated the Governing Board on suggestions for a new Editor in Chief to replace Lou Pitelka when he steps down as EiC of Ecological Applicatons after the 2001 annual meeting. The Board discussed options and asked Clark for further information.
- Report of Board for Professional Certification. Virginia Dale, Chair of the Board of Professional Certification, requested to meet with the Governing Board. The Board of Professional Certification would like to increase the number of ecologists who are certified. They requested permission to spend $2000 to print a brochure to mail to all members and would like to offer a streamlined application process for Senior Ecologists which would run for a limited period of time. Schlesinger moved to allocate $2000 to print brochures for the Professional Certification Program and to approve a two-year trial basis for streamlined application process for Senior Ecologists. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
Lisa J. Graumlich, Secretary