August 2003

ESA Governing Board
August 2-3, 2003
Savannah, GA

The August 2-3 meeting of the ESA Governing Board was attended by Ann Bartuska, President, Bill Schlesinger, President-Elect, Jill Baron, Secretary, Jim Clark, Vice President for Science, Norm Christensen, Vice President for Finance, Carol Brewer, Vice President for Education and Human Resources, Sunny Power, Vice President for Public Affairs, Sharon Collinge, Member-at-Large, Oswaldo Sala, Member-at-Large, incoming officers Jerry Melillo and Margaret Palmer. Pam Matson, Past President, and Ed Johnson, Member-at-Large, were present for August 3. Also attending were Katherine McCarter, Executive Director, Elizabeth Biggs, Finance Director, Jason Taylor, Education Director, Clifford Duke, Science Director, Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief for Frontiers, David Baldwin, Managing Editor, David Gooding, Assistant Managing Editor, Allen Solomon, Editor-in-Chief for the Bulletin. The meeting was called to order by President Bartuska at 9:00 am on Friday August 2, 2003, and adjourned at 12:40 pm on Saturday August 3, 2003.

I. Roll Call

  1. The GB unanimously adopted the agenda.
  2. The minutes from the May 2003 meeting were approved.
  3. Votes taken via email since last meeting on position papers (Invasive species, fire ecology, and biodiversity) were ratified.

II. Reports

  1. Report of the President. Updates were provided on several actions from the May GB meeting: 1. The Ad-hoc Committee on Position papers developed a resolution on how papers would be handled in the future; 2. The Frontiers EiC position was placed as a staff position under the Executive Director and a Science and Policy Advisor (Pam Matson) was named to work with Sue Silver; 3. VP Powers and Bartuska had a follow-up discussion with Public Affairs Director Lymn regarding the Public Affairs plan – results to be provided during this meeting; and 4. The Portland meeting theme was clarified and resolved. 
  2. Report of the Executive Director and Staff.
    1. In addition to the written reports contained in the GB meeting package, Executive Director McCarter mentioned a request from Jorge Rabinowitz from Argentina that ESA develop an award for a young Latin American researcher in honor of Dr. Angel Capurro. In consultation with Vice President for Finance Christensen, they propose guidelines for fundraising in order to support this and other proposed awards: those wishing to develop an award must raise $10,000 within three years of proposal in order to build enough capital to begin to support the award.
    2. In a conversation with Cynthia Robinson, director of the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program (ALLP), Executive Director McCarter learned that ALLP is considering other organization affiliations then ESA, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), although there will still be ESA members on the steering committee. ALLP is hoping to reach out to a broader science base than ecologists alone. ESA would like to continue to see as many ESA members as possible included in ALLP programs, and explicit training sessions in leadership and communications presented to ESA members at annual meetings.
    3. Executive Director McCarter noted that ESA invited two Congressional staffers to attend the ESA meeting; both accepted but ultimately only one was able to participate.
    4. Finance Director Biggs noted that membership is up 325 people over last year, bringing ESA membership to 8025, with more expected to join before the end of the year. She attributes this in large part to the new journal. Subscription revenues and institutional subscriptions are down; there are 100 less library subscriptions than last year at this time, partly due to Rowecom failure. The GB asked that the names of these libraries be made available to GB in November, and published in the ESA Bulletin, and members from those institutions be contacted to ask them to speak up for ESA journals. Staff were requested to provide a trend analysis of ESA subscriptions for presentation at the Nov GB meeting. GB and HQ will consider this information in light of the ESA Publication Visions report at the November meeting
    5. Managing Editor Baldwin noted manuscript submissions to ESA journals were up 9% in 2002 and 11% so far in 2003. Acceptance rates are steady at ~30% of submissions.
    6. Science Director Duke reported on a task recently completed by the Science Office that coordinated a data access challenge to the Forest Service on goshawk management. President-elect Melillo suggested this type of activity may require a legal opinion. Secretary Baron would also like to see an evaluation of the process and consequences of data access challenges discussed in print, perhaps in Frontiers.
    7. Editor-in-Chief Silver noted the availability of an online membership survey of Frontiers in order to poll readers after six issues of publication. Pam Matson has agreed to serve as Science Advisor for Frontiers. Expenses for publication are below projections, but revenues are below target. GB suggested that news stands be approached for stand-alone sales, particularly those frequented by staffers in Washington D.C. GB asks HQ revisit the business plan for Frontiers to ensure we are not missing opportunities.
    8. Education Director Taylor presented a wonderful booklet describing the history and success of SEEDS, noted interest from Air Force and USGS in supporting the program, and acknowledged NSF funding in support of SEEDs participation at the annual meeting. 
  3. Report of the Vice-President for Finance
    1. 1. The fourth quarter financials show that ESA had a strong year in 2002-2003, due in large part to a very successful annual meeting, to careful budgeting in the headquarters office, and in spite of fewer journal subscriptions. Funds are being put back into the ESA reserve funds. Member-at-Large Collinge requested the finances be presented to the Board as longer time series than the current and previous years, so that we can look at trends. She requested the budget, subscription numbers, membership numbers be presented this way beginning with the November meeting.
    2. Investments are climbing in value slowly, and Vice President for Finance Christensen recommends we leave them alone. Sale of the Foxglen Property in Phoenix yielded $14,600 in revenue to ESA. 
  4. Ecological Visions Committee
    Margaret Palmer, head of the Visions Committee updated the Board on progress of the committee, input from breakfast meetings with corporate, government, NGO, and professional society representatives, the online survey, and a meeting with Don Kennedy, the EiC of Science. Of the respondents, 60% stated that public understanding of ecological issues is the most important challenge facing ecologists and the Society. The Visions document is expected to be completed by end of December, and two articles will be submitted to Science in anticipation of publication concurrent with the 2004 ESA annual meeting. Another set of manuscripts will be submitted to Frontiers. Palmer plans to develop formal linkages with other societies in order to promote Visions, including AGU, CSSP, AGU. 
  5. Meeting of the Americas
    The meeting of presidents and representatives from Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina with ESA on August 1, 2003 yielded a number of opportunities for collaboration to enhance communication across the Americas. Member-at-Large Sala, in conjunction with Executive Director McCarter, will write a description of an overall fundraising package for support that ESA will propose to agencies, foundations, and international programs. EHRP is interested in providing input to this activity. A report will be made to the Board in November. President-elect Schlesinger asks that funds for translations of Issues be folded into this proposal, and requests that ESA HQ keep track of how many Spanish versions are downloaded.

III. Discussion/Action Items

  1. Fiscal Year 2003-2004 Budget
    1. 1. GB approved the ESA budget for presentation to the ESA Council on August 3.
    2. Committee funds for a mid-year meeting for the Public Affairs Committee and the Education and Human Resources Committee were approved.
    3. $10,000 was approved for dispersion among sections, chapters, and committees for long-range planning grants when the budget was adopted. The four members of the GB who will review proposals for the grants are Vice-President for Science Clark, Vice-President for Finances Christensen, Secretary Baron, and Member-at-Large Sala.
  2. Position Papers
    Member-at-Large Collinge reported that comments from open review by ESA members of the GMO position paper came to 40 pages (as long as the manuscript). There were 17 responses and five solicited reviews. She hoped the unsolicited comments were helpful to authors, and noted that ESA respondents were pleased at the opportunity to comment. Collinge reported the effort did not take undue time for her to compile comments, and recommends ESA ask for member comments with the next position paper. 
  3. Public Affairs Plan/Goals
    There was a brief discussion of the future activities of the Public Affairs Office, but it was noted that this will be revisited in response to the Visions Committee recommendations and upcoming discussions of the Public Affairs Committee. It was agreed that public affairs activities should be split evenly between supporting science funding and science policy issues.
  4. Board of Professional Certification
    A number of compelling reasons why members of the Board of Professional Certification should be elected, not appointed, were presented to the Board in a letter from Jeffrey Klopatek, Chair of the Certification Committee. A motion to alter the ESA bylaws was withdrawn. The Bylaws for election of ESA members to the Board of Professional Certification will stay as they are. 
  5. Editor-in-Chief, ESA Bulletin
    Dr. Allen Solomon has agreed to remain as Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin for one more year. The Publications Committee will be asked to identify potential candidates and make a recommendation for a new EiC to begin January 2005; Al Solomon will provide some names to the Committee 
  6. Proposed Frontiers Editor-in-Chief Bylaw change
    After much discussion, the Governing Board decided to leave the Bylaws addressing the roles of the Managing Editor and Editors-in-Chief as they are. The Publications Committee will be asked to provide advice on progress of Frontiers, as part of their package of journal reviews.
  7. Data Access
    Publications Committee chair Jim Reichman made a presentation to the Board on data access issues with the plan of eventually asking ESA to endorse the provision of open access to data that are presented in ESA publications. The ultimate goal is to make ecological data very broadly available. No action was requested at this time, but the Publications Committee will come back to the Board with a request that ESA begin to publicize the data registry under development by NCEAS, Mellon Foundation, the LTER Network Office, and others and request metadata (at a minimum) for results that are published in ESA journals. This project will be done in conjunction with the Visions Committee.
  8. Annual Meeting Issues
    1. Program Chair Swetnam proposed, and the Board agreed, changes to next year’s meeting operations. Contributed oral sessions organized around specific themes will be invited, and all contributed sessions will move to a 10 paper/session, 15 minute time/ea format. More abstracts will be moved to posters to accommodate the extra time needed per session.
    2. The Board agreed on a list of potential program chairpeople for 2006 (Memphis) and 2007 (San Jose) meetings. Kiyoko Miyanishi has agreed to serve as the program chair for Memphis.
  9. Future Meetings – Mexico
    1. 1. Meetings Committee Chair Steve Chaplin presented initial findings about holding an annual meeting in Mexico, or another Latin American country. Vice-President for Public Affairs Power moved, and President-elect Schlesinger seconded the motion that ESA begin by holding a smaller, thematic meeting in Mexico in 2005-2006. The motion was agreed to unanimously.
    2. Member-at-Large Collinge asked the meetings committee to consider the idea of selecting 3-5 locations for ESA annual meetings and stop searching for new locales.
    3. Past President Matson moved, and Vice-President for Finances Christensen moved that we adopt Milwaukee as the location for the annual meeting in 2008, but also have Meetings Committee consider 3-5 cycle return sites. All voted in favor except Member-at-Large Sala, who voted against. 
  10. New Business
    Vice President for Education and Human Resources Brewer presented a request to the Board for funding for the EHRC committee to meet to redo the 10-year-old Women and Minorities in Ecology (WAMIE) Report, convene an ad hoc 2003 WAMIE committee to review results of the survey and provide recommendations for the next 10 years in time for the Portland 2004 annual meeting. The motion was made by Vice President for Finance Christensen, seconded by Past President Matson, and agreed by all Board members, to allocate $11,000 from the remaining budget for committee meetings.

Respectfully Submitted,

Jill Baron, Secretary