ESA’s 2nd annual Science Cafe Prize — take your science out of the box

Have a science story you want to tell? Send in your pitch for our public pub talk at the Ecological Society’s 99th Annual Meeting this summer


Apply here

Contest deadline: Friday, 30 May 2014


De Vere's Irish Pub, 217 E Street, Davis, CA 95616

De Vere’s Irish Pub, 217 E Street, Davis, CA 95616

At this year’s Annual Meeting in Sacramento, California, ESA is partnering with Professor of Chemistry Jared Shaw and the UC Davis Science Café series to present an informal public lecture (a “Science Café”) at de Vere’s Pub, in nearby Davis, California. De Vere’s is, according to local sources, a nice pub “with a proper ‘pub’ feel” and decent taps.

Davis is about 15 miles from the Sacramento Convention Center. (Why Davis: we decided to partner with an existing series rather than try advertise a stand-alone event. That series exists in Davis.) ESA will provide transportation for the speaker.

To choose a speaker, we are reprising our successful 2013 pitch contest.

Science Cafés typically have an informal atmosphere and often put you within arms-reach of your audience. You can expect an audience that is interested, but not necessarily knowledgeable about ecology. They often arrive ready to ask questions, but you can ask them questions, too! Discussion is a goal. Props and activities involving the audience usually go over well. And, if you wish, you can give your presentation with beverage in hand.


Same Data, Different Century. Sometimes I believe I was born to be a 19th century naturalist. Compiling long term records of flowering phenology involves stitching together old data (for example, this herbarium specimen from 1895) with new data (a phenology observation collected on a smartphone app in 2013). As I trek across Mount Desert Island in the 21st century, I am keenly aware of the naturalists who came before me; in my mind, I insert myself into the troupe of Harvard boys whose field notes and camp logs have become my baseline data. I really love S. A. Eliot's sweater. Caption, Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie. Image, Designed by Michael MacKenzie Herbarium Specimen courtesy of the College of the Atlantic Herbarium Smartphone Screenshot of original data courtesy of fulcrum app Photograph of the Harvard boys in 1880 courtesy of the Northeast Harbor Library Photograph of Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie by Lisa McDonough

Same Data, Different Century. 2013 runner-up Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie photobombed herself in among some of her favorite 19th century naturalist ‘collaborators’ for her 2013 Science Cafe entry. Read her pitch here.

How to enter:

The contest has two parts.

  1. a 250-word pitch introducing your topic and expressing why the subject is important to you.
  2. an image that evokes your topic. Cartoons, collages, photographs, and screenshots of raw data are all eligible imagery (as long as you have permission to use them). We hope you surprise us.

Detailed instructions are on the contest page.

Download a pdf copy of the ESA2014 Café Prize instructions.




Soil erosion….or not. STRIPs project - LIsa Schulte Moore presents at the Aster Cafe on Wednesday August 7 at 5:30pm

Soil erosion….or not. Lisa Schulte Moore won the inaugural ESA2013 Science Cafe Prize with her vision for change in modern agriculture based on ecological knowledge and experimentation. Read her pitch here. Photo, Dave Williams.





The winner of the 2014 Science Café Prize will present a one hour, interactive public lecture at de Vere’s Pub at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, August 13th, as a special guest of the monthly Davis Science Café. ESA will feature the winning pitch and honorable mentions here on Ecotone and on our homepage in the run up to the August meeting. ESA communications staff will stand the winner a beverage of choice at de Vere’s.




ESA2014 Sacramento logo

You must be actively engaged in ecological research, registered for the ESA 2014 Annual Meeting, and be available to speak at the Davis Science Café from 5:00-7:00 pm on the evening of Wednesday, August 13th. You must be of legal drinking age.


Ecologists at all career stages are encouraged to apply.