August 5, 2007

Minutes of the ESA Council 
August 5, 2007 
San Jose, CA

I. Introductions of Council Members present

Brendan Bohannon (Microbical Ecology), Steve Chaplin (Meetings Committee), Scott Collins (Long-Term Studies & Publication Committee), Abe Miller-Rushing (Student), Sarah Finkelstein (Paleoecology), Ed Johnson (Bulletin Editor), Jesse Ford (Traditional Ecological Knowledge), Richard Brugam (Paleoecology), William Michener (Board of Professional Certification), Alan Townsend (Biogeosciences), Dave Schimel (EiC, Ecological Applications), Ken Klemo (Mid-Atlantic), Bob Pohlad (Education), Dan Pavuk (Agroecology), Paul Mayer (Urban Ecology), Jenny Talbot (Student), Kiyoko Miyanishi (Meetings), Kerry Woods (Meetings), Randy Balice (Statistical Ecology), Robert Manson (Mexico chapter), Nancy Johnson (Soil Ecology)

Governing Board members present: Belnap, Christensen, Covich, Grimm, Inouye, Ojima, Parton, Shaver, Lowman, Jackson

ESA Staff members present: Katherine McCarter (Executive Director), Elizabeth Biggs (Director of Finance), Sue Silver (Editor), Teresa Mourad (Director of Education), Ramona Crawford (Development), David Baldwin (Publications), David Gooding (Publications), Cliff Duke (Science office)

II. Report from President Covich about recent Governing Board discussions and ESA activities and initiatives

  1. We would like to find ways to increase travel support for graduate student travel, to supplement the approximately 40 awards already made.
  2. We’d like to find ways to involve/reinvigorate regional activities. The Southeast Regional Knowledge Partnership is underway, and similar activities will be expanded to other regions in the future, including regional Rapid Response Teams.
  3. The Board has approved a new ESA-sponsored conference series, the Millennium Conference Series. One per year, 60-100 people, supported in part by the Society’s Millennium Fund. Topics will be high-profile and lead to publications in the Society journals. See the announcement on the inside cover of the program supplement for this meeting.
  4. ESA co-sponsored the EcoSummit held in Beijing this spring, and Alan Covich, Katherine McCarter, and Sue Silver represented ESA. The meeting was very successful and may be repeated.
  5. Outreach to Federation of the America and the International Association for Ecology (INTECOL) has been ongoing.
  6. Planning for the 100th anniversary meeting has begun. Some new kinds of activities, such as a film festival, may be included (and tested at some of the next few annual meetings).
  7. ESA member Dave Schimel is the chief executive of the NEON program, and there are many opportunities for ESA involvement. He highlighted two of them:
  1. Concept of a new major facility with NSF sponsorship is new to the ecological community so there is no legacy of methods for how to coordinate activities between large groups of researchers and facilities. How can the research community take advantage of the facility.
  2. Education integrated with research will be a hallmark of NEON activities, particularly in undergraduate education at 4-year institutions.

III. Review of ESA financial status, presentation of the budget proposal (Parton)

In short, we’ve had another good financial year. We have $1.2 million in endowment funds, which have brought in 10% interest/yr for the past two years. We have an unrestricted reserve fund of $1.6 million, with a goal of $5 million.

Assumptions made in planning the 2007-08 budget were reviewed. The proposed budget includes revenue of $6,369,433 (up from $6,025,838 in the previous year) and expenses of $6,369,307 (up from $6,023,652 last year). Last year revenue minus expenses were budgeted at $2,186, but un-audited actual was $262,444. The Governing Board has proposed establishing a routine increase in annual dues of approximately 2% beginning in 2008, with a 2% increase for student and developing member categories every other year (beginning in 2009).

A motion is moved, seconded, and approved: The Council approves the proposed 2007-2008 budget, including the proposed yearly dues increase.

IV. Approval of a new section

The Governing Board has recommended approval of a new ESA Researchers at Undergraduate Institutions section. A motion is moved, seconded, and approved: The Council approves the proposed new section, for ESA Researchers at Undergraduate Institutions.

A proposal for another new section (Environmental Justice section) will be sent to the Council by mail soon (it was just reviewed by the Board).

V. Reports from recipients of long-range planning grants

  1. Student section: 12 travel awards (registration and a little travel funding) were made to 7 domestic and 5 international students. The Real-Brown travel fund allowed funding of five more awards. There were nearly 80 applicants for travel awards. There will also be posters up at this meeting with information for students in particular.
  2. Agroecology section: developed a Web page, which should be up and running by the end of September.
  3. Education and Human Resources Committee and the Education section
    Partnered with Women Evolving Biological Sciences (WEBS) to fund two students to come to the meeting. The Education Committee initiative was to foster ecological education in many walks of life, and is funding an intern to do a national assessment of groups involved in environmental education. Funding to support travel by Richard Louv, who will be speaking on Tuesday morning in the No Child Left Indoors symposium.
  4. Public Affairs committee: Richard Pouyat, Chair of the committee, is (at this time) helping with a presentation supported by an award to that Committee.

VI. Carbon Offset program. 
The Governing Board would like to establish a committee (your suggestions are welcome) to develop an analysis of carbon offset programs in general and of particular programs in specific. A suggestion is made that the Society should find ways to facilitate off-site participation in the annual meetings, as a way of helping to reduce air travel. This could also help us to maximize use of information presented at the meeting by making it available to a broad audience.

VII. Information exchange among Council members; topics of discussion included:
How best to advertise meeting activities to local communities
Encouragement for members to read and use the Bulletin of the ESA
Changes in ESA publications to make them available more quickly online.

VIII. Recognition of Governing Board members leaving the Board
Nancy Grimm, Past President
Gus Shaver, Vice President for Science
Dennis Ojima, Member at Large

IX. Introduction of new Governing Board members
Norm Christensen, President Elect

Meeting adjourned at 3:45 PM

David Inouye, Secretary