November 2000

ESA Governing Board
November 11-12, 2000
Washington, D.C.

The November 2000 meeting of the Governing Board was attended by Diana Wall (Past-President), Steve Carpenter (President), Pam Matson (President-Elect), Lisa Graumlich (Secretary), Carol Brewer (Vice President for Education and Human Resources), James Clark (Vice President for Science), Timothy Schowalter (Vice President for Public Affairs), William Schlesinger (Vice President for Finance), Rodolfo Dirzo (Member-at-Large), Jim Gosz (Member-at-Large), Julie Denslow (Member-at-Large), and Executive Director Katherine McCarter. Managing Editor David Baldwin, SBI Director Mary Barber, Financial Manager Elizabeth Biggs and Robin Chazdon (Chair, Ad Hoc Committee on Member Services) were present for parts of the meeting. The meeting was called to order by President Carpenter at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, November 10, 2000 and adjourned at 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 11, 2000.

I. Roll Call

  1. The Governing Board unanimously adopted the Agenda and approved the minutes from the August 2000 meeting.
  2. Ratification of votes taken since August 2000. The Governing Board ratified two votes conducted via email in the period after the August 2000 meeting. Graumlich moved to affirm the vote to request that the ESA Council approve a constitutional amendment to allow the Governing Board to establish membership categories. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. Graumlich moved to affirm the vote to name David Schimel the Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Applications. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

II. Reports

  1. Financial Updates. Vice President for Finance Schlesinger reported that during the last quarter ESA’s Reserve (Restricted) Funds accrued value despite poor overall market performance. Executive Director McCarter reported that the operating budget is on target and that revenue from the 2000 annual meeting in Snowbird is higher than had been forecast. Fundraising for the ESA match to the Eugene P. Odum Award for Excellence in Ecology Education is going well. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board request that Gary Barrett continue his work with staff to solicit contributions to the endowment for the Odum Award. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  2. Editors-in-Chief Updates. President Carpenter reported that David Schimel will take over as Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Applications in September 2001. The Publications Committee is beginning to search for a new editor for the Bulletin to replace Alan Solomon who is stepping down.
  3. 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:
    1. McCarter reported on a number of staff activities and accomplishments. ESA received a grant from the Mellon Foundation to reimburse the Society for the costs of posting the 1997-1998 issues on line. These were “gap” issues falling between the JSTOR archive and the current issues. McCarter has been working with Ellen Cardwell to finalize arrangements for the annual meeting in Madison in 2000. She is also in discussion with the Society for Ecological Restoration regarding the possibility of meeting jointly with ESA in Tucson in 2002.
    2. Sustainable Biosphere Initiative (SBI) Director Barber reported that SBI Scientific Program Office continues to develop its Ecosystem Services and Land-Use initiatives. Under the Ecosystem Services initiative, SBI has been working with the Union of Concerned Scientists to develop two communication tool kits on water purification and pollination with kits on flood damage control and forest carbon sequestration under development.
    3. Director for Public Affairs Lymn reported on activities that focus on conveying ecological information to the media and Congress. Activities include the efforts of Lymn and Past President Wall to generate a short statement from the Society offering ESA’s perspective on genetically modified organisms. In addition, the Public Affairs Office’s annual meeting press activities resulted in multiple press releases from nine institutions and seven ESA releases. Other press releases produced in Autumn 2000 resulted in coverage by the New York Times, Science News, Nature and Environmental News Network.
      4. Managing Editor David Baldwin reported that ESA met our goal of publishing 25% more pages than in 1999. The lag time between acceptance/receipt of the final version of the manuscript and publication is slowly decreasing and Reports are appearing in print in Ecology relatively quickly.

III. Discussion/Action Items

  1. New ESA Publication. President Elect Matson led the discussion of progress on the development plan for a new ESA Publication aimed at a broad audience. A Board subcommittee worked with staff to revise the draft business plan, which was presented to the Governing Board.
    1. Wall moved that the subcommittee move forward with the plan by initiating discussion with potential funders and business partners. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    2. Wall moved that the subcommittee move forward with the plan by soliciting seed money to develop a comprehensive business plan, including a market survey. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    3. Matson moved that the subcommittee survey ESA membership to solicit feedback on format and content of the proposed new publication. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  2. Fundraising. Vice President for Finance Schlesinger reported on the work of the fundraising subcommittee of the Governing Board. The Governing Board had requested that a small group of staff and Board members explore options for fundraising. Schlesinger reported that the group decided not to recommend the hiring of a fundraising consultant or staff member at this time. Rather, the group recommended that development efforts should be embedded into other activities, such as the launch of a new publication.
    1. To complement this effort, President Carpenter requested that the staff arrange for four to six senior ecologists with experience in fundraising meet with the Vice President for Finance to develop options and strategies for fundraising.
  3. The Governing Board enthusiastically received a report on the membership survey conducted by the Ad Hoc Committee on Membership. The Committee reported that membership in ESA is stable but increasingly diverse. The survey also indicated that journals play a critical role in membership services: receiving journals was the most frequently selected membership service of respondents. A vast majority (86%) of those surveyed reported that they have used the ESA website and rate it highly.
    1. President Carpenter requested that the Committee move forward by establishing priorities and strategies for implementation. Carpenter further requested that Member-at-Large Dirzo and Future Meetings Chair Chaplin be added to the Ad Hoc Committee on Membership.
  4. White Papers. The Governing Board received a status report on current white papers.
    1. Schlesinger moved that ESA rename white papers to position papers which may articulate any and all clear policy implications of the state of science. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    2. Schlesinger moved that the Vice President for Public Affairs initiate three position papers on 1) fire management, 2) genetically modified organisms, and 3) invasive species. Initial efforts should be directed towards identifying lead authors and soliciting a one-page prospectus for each position paper. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  5. Future Sustainable Biosphere Initiative (SBI) activities. President-Elect Matson led a discussion of potential ways for the Governing Board and the Research Committee to provide input to the SBI Steering Committee to assist with agenda setting. The discussion focused on ways in which the SBI Office could outline the ecological dimensions of the new sustainability science agenda, particularly as sustainability science is evolving into a more integrative, and interdisciplinary endeavor.
  6. Nominations Committee. President Carpenter charged Past President Wall to create a Nominations Committee to identify candidates for the election to be held after the August 2001 annual meeting.
  7. ESA Awards. The Governing Board discussed a proposed policy on the presentation of awards. Schlesinger moved that the following policy apply to those who cannot attend the ceremony at the annual meeting in the year in which they win an award.
    • The award symbol (e.g., plaque) and any cash award will be mailed to the recipient immediately after the annual meeting when they are named a winner.
    • No travel funds will be provided.
    • If the recipient attends the next annual meeting, they will be recognized from the podium, but will not be asked to come to the stage for a formal presentation.
    • This policy will not apply to an Honorary Member who by current policy is given a choice of two years in which to attend the ESA meeting and receive his/her award. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  8. Vegetation Classification Panel. The Vegetation Classification Panel was named by the Governing Board in 1995 for the purpose of assisting federal efforts to develop a national vegetation classification standard. The Governing Board considered a request for permanent status and the naming of an Executive committee to develop a draft charter for the next phase of the Vegetation Classification Panel.
    1. President Carpenter charged the Vice President for Science to appoint a small ad hoc committee to evaluate the advisability and strategies regarding the potential establishment of a permanent Vegetation Classification Panel and secretariat at ESA. The plan should include funding needs, possible funding sources, and continuing budget plans.
    2. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board recognize the contributions of the initial Chair, Orie Loucks, and the current Chair, David Glenn-Lewin, of the Vegetation Classification Panel for the service in fostering the development of a U.S. National Vegetation Classification. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa J. Graumlich, Secretary