August 2001

ESA Governing Board
August 4-5, 2001
Madison, WI

The August 2001 meeting of the Governing Board was attended by Diana Wall (Past-President), Steve Carpenter (President), Pam Matson (President-Elect), Ann Bartuska (Incoming 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), Jill Baron (incoming Secretary), Sharon Collinge (incoming Member-at-Large, and Executive Director Katherine McCarter. Managing Editor David Baldwin, SBI Director Mary Barber, Director for Public Affairs Nadine Lymn, Financial Manager Elizabeth Biggs, Associate Editor David Gooding, Bulletin Editor Al Solomon, and Editor-in-Chief Don Strong were present for parts of the meeting. The meeting was called to order by President Carpenter at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, August 4, 2001 and adjourned at noon on Sunday, August 5, 2001.

I. Roll Call

  1. The Governing Board unanimously adopted the Agenda.

II. Reports

  1. 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. Some highlights of her report include the following:
      1. ESA Governing Board members and staff finalized the business plan and budget for the new publication to be called Ecos. We received grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Lucile and David Packard Foundation to create a Publications Fund which will support the initial start-up of the publication.
      2. At the time of the Governing Board meeting, there were 2600 people pre-registered for the Annual Meeting in Madison. The 2001 meeting is likely to be the largest ESA Annual Meeting since Albuquerque.
      3. The SBI/Science Office continues to develop and increase awareness of its Ecosystems Services and Land Use initiatives, and organize its activities into the following categories: 1) research definition and development; 2) cross-disciplinary activities; and 3) communicating ecological knowledge. Notable among the many activities of the SBI/Science Office is the planning of the Second International Nitrogen Conference to be held in Washington DC in October 2001. The 3.5-day conference will bring together 300-400 people from the scientific, policy, and nitrogen user and producer communities.
      4. The Public Affairs Office have focused on conveying ecological information to the media and to Congress, enhancing the Society’s ecological education programs, working with the broader scientific community to foster support for science, publicizing the Society’s activities, and outreach to ESA members. Highlights of the last year’s activities include meetings with 28 congressional offices, co-sponsorship of a Science and Technology Town Meeting, and development of 10 ESA statements ranging from genetically modified organisms to science appropriations.
      5. The Publications Office continues to publish all issues on time and has substantially reduced the publication backlog of accepted papers. The transition from Bob Peet to Don Strong as Editor-in-Chief of Ecology/Ecological Monographs was accomplished without any delay in the processing of manuscripts. The Publications Office has installed new software to permit online submission and review of manuscripts. This system will speed the process from submission to a first decision (accept/reject/revise) and save ESA considerable costs in terms of postage.
  2. Report of the Vice President for Finance
    1. Executive Director McCarter reported that the end of fiscal year unaudited financial statement indicates positive revenue for the year, including a substantial repayment to unrestricted funds. The stabilized budget means that ESA is now in a position to more confidently plan for improving operations and membership services.
    2. Vice President Schlesinger reported that the reserve (restricted) funds suffered losses due to the downturn in the stock market.

III. Discussion and Action Items

  1. Fiscal Year 2001-2002 ESA Budget
    1. Vice President Schlesinger presented the FY 2001-2001 budget proposal to be presented to ESA Council. The only change from the May 2001 draft proposal was the elimination of funds for Associate Editors for Ecology/Ecological Monographs. Schlesinger moved that the Governing Board accept to budget proposal for presentation to Council. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    2. FY 2001-2002 Committee Funds. The proposed FY 2001-2002 budget provides $5600 each for four committee meetings to cover travel expenses of members. Schowalter moved that the Governing Board fund three committees (Sustainable Biosphere Initiative, Education and Human Resources, and Public Affairs Committee) at $5600 per committee to cover travel expenses in the coming fiscal year. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved. The Governing Board further noted that the budget could cover one additional committee meeting to be determined at a later date.
    3. FY 2001-2002 Long Range Planning Grants. The proposed FY 2001-2002 budget recommends $5000 for grants to constituent groups for long range planning activities. Following the process from 1999 and 2000, a committee of the Board will review the proposals and award the grants. President Carpenter appointed the following members to the Long Range Planning Grants Committee: Jim Clark, Julie Denslow, Jim Gosz, Bill Schlesinger, and Tim Schowalter.
  2. Ecos. ESA has been awarded funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Lucile and David Packard Foundation that will allow ESA to move forward with plans to develop a new publication to be called Ecos. Ecos will be a timely, highly relevant, readable scientific journal that wil focus interdisciplinary ecological science on the most important environmental issues of the day. The Ecos Editor-in-Chief search committee made a brief report on progress in selecting the EiC. Implementation of the business plan was discussed with a projected first issue in January 2003.

  3. Report of the Vice President for Science. 

    1. Vice President Clark reported on the successful NSF proposal, written by Clark, President Carpenter and Past President Wall, which funded a workshop at NCEAS to develop a science plan for Ecological Forecasting. The workshop took place in October 2000 and included ecologists, climatologists, economists, and managers. Products from the workshop include a report to NSF on research needs for Ecological Forecasting and a paper that appeared in the 27 July 2001 issue of Science.
  4. Report of the Vice President for Public Affairs

    1. Vice President Schowalter reported on joint efforts on the part of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC) and the Public Affairs Office (PAO) to increase ESA visibility in Washington DC as well as outreach to other audiences. These include participation in Congressional Visits Day and various Congressional committee and subcommittee briefings. The PAC and PAO developed two public activities for the Annual Meeting in Madison: an evening discussion of “Community-Based Stewardship of Natural Lands” and a Public Plenary by noted author Sara Stein.
    2. Schowalter provided an update on the status of position papers currently under development on: 1) Balancing Human and Ecosystem Needs for Freshwater; Genetically Modified Organisms; The Ecosystem Function of Biodiversity; and Invasive Species.
    3. Schowalter reported on ESA staff participation in a meeting to discuss and develop a statement related to the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s role in conservation. The statement, which highlights the need for increased science and technology support to private landowners, has been refined over a period of months and is now being sent to a number of professional societies for endorsement. President Carpenter asked Mary Barber to clarify the role of the document and to report back to the Governing Board.
  5. Report of the Vice President for Education and Human Resources

    1. Vice President Brewer reported on a wide range of activities. The “Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology” (TIEE) project, supported by NSF, continues to develop web-based, peer-reviewed, interactive resources to support undergraduate teaching. The SEEDS project, a collaboration between ESA, the United Negro College Fund, and the Institute of Ecosystem Studies, began its fifth year in 2001 and continues to support undergraduate engagement in ecological sciences at historically black colleges and universities. Members of the Education and Human Resources Committee are presenting a wide array of symposia, sessions, and informal events at the 2001 Annual Meeting. Finally, Brewer and the Education and Human Resources Committee have identified the following priority areas for attention in the coming year: professional development; scholarship in ecological education; recruiting and retaining ecologists from under-represented groups; developing internet resources for professional development and scholarship in teaching and learning about ecology; and accessible meetings for people with disabilities.
  6. Report of the Members at Large

    1. Member at Large Dirzo reported on fundraising ideas for translating ESA materials (e.g., Issues in Ecology) into Spanish and other languages. President Carpenter asked staff to work with Dirzo in pursuing these ideas. 
  7. Ecology and Weed Science Meeting.

    1. The Governing Board received a proposal for a joint conference with the Weed Society Science Society of America to link the science of ecology with weed science. The conference would be held in fall of 2003 with the expectation that attendance would be approximately 300. Products might include peer-reviewed articles and implementation strategies. Gosz moved that the Governing Board enthusiastically move forward with planning the joint conference with the Weed Science Society of America and that planning include an ESA member as the co-chair. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
  8. Report of the Program Committee Chair.

    1. Program Committee Chair Paul Zedler presented a written report to the Governing Board and discussed current and long-range program issues. Zedler expressed gratitude to Ellen Cardwell and other ESA staff members who worked to organize and run the 2001 Annual Meeting. He reported that electronic abstract submission and program assembly using the Allen Press software went well. He reported on an innovation, suggested by Ellen Cardwell, of instituting a session on “latebreaking and newsworthy papers.” He had specific suggestion for the Governing Board for program improvement. He suggested that a non-refundable abstract fee would be an acceptable measure to discourage last minute cancellation of papers. He also noted that the number of symposia has increased as numbers of sections and chapters have increased. Zedler suggested that the number of symposia be reduced and that the unwritten rule that each section and chapter is entitled to a symposium be discontinued. The Governing Board took Zedler’s comments under advisement.
  9. Report of the Future Meetings Committee

    1. Steve Chaplin, Chair of the Future Meetings Committee, provided a report that compared Reno, Sacramento, and Portland as replacement meeting sites for 2004. The Governing Board had previously approved Indianapolis as the site for the 2004 meeting, but the City developed a conflict with another larger event. Brewer moved that the 2004 Annual Meeting be held in Portland. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.
    2. Chaplin presented ideas for new activities and roles for the Committee.
      1. The Governing Board asked Chaplin to work with staff to gather information from the ESA membership regarding criteria for choosing annual meeting locations. In particular, the Governing Board encourgaed Chaplin to focus on respondents that represent groups and issues that are targeted by the Long-Range Plan as being critical for the long-term vitality of ESA.
      2. Chaplin suggested that members of the Future Meetings Committee take the lead on advance planning once a site is selected and before the Program Chair is involved. For example, he suggests that Committee members could recruit other societies for joint meetings and events, develop themes, recruit symposia, workshops, and contribute sessions on the theme topic, and develop promotional material. The Governing Board asked Chaplin to assign one member of the Future Meetings Committee to work with the Program Chair and the Local Host Chair to strategically develop a plan for a given meeting site.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lisa J. Graumlich, Secretary