August 9, 2014

Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,
August 9-10, 2014
Sacramento, CA 

Members Present
Jill Baron                     President
Scott Collins               Past-President
David Inouye              President-Elect
Leslie Real                  VP for Finance
Sharon Collinge          VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner             VP for Science
Julie Reynolds            VP for Education and Human Resources
Charles Canham         Secretary
Carmen Cid                 Member at Large
Stephen Jackson        Member at Large
Michelle Mack             Member at Large

Staff Present
Katherine McCarter    Executive Director
Elizabeth Biggs          Directory of Finance
Cliff Duke                   Director, Science
Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings
Teresa Mourad           Director, Education and Diversity
David Baldwin            Managing Editor
Sue Silver                   Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs
Regina Przygocki       Publications Office

Incoming Board Members
Evan Delucia
Monica Turner
Ana Elisa Perez Quintero

Guests Sunday, August 10, 2014
Hal Balbach    2014 Program Chair
Carol Brewer   2015 Program Chair
Jing Duan        EHS Managing Editor for China
Aaron Ellison  Editor in Chief, Ecological Monographs
Nancy Huntly Centennial Implementation Committee
Ed Johnson     Editor in Chief, ESA Bulletin
Debra Peters    Editor in Chief, Ecosphere
Josh Schimel   Publications Committee Chair
Don Strong     Editor in Chief, Ecology
Yonglong Lu   Editor in Chief, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

9:00 am, August 9, 2014, meeting called to order by President Jill Baron 

  1. Roll Call and Agenda
  1. Adopt Agenda
    Sharon Collinge moved and David Inouye seconded a motion to approve the agenda.  All aye.
  2. Ratification of Vote-Minutes from May 2014
    David Inouye moved and Sharon Collinge seconded ratification of the minutes of the May 2014 meeting.  All aye.


  1. Reports


  1. Report of the President

Jill Baron reserved comments for later in the meeting, and thanked ESA staff for all of their efforts on behalf of the Society.  She also stressed the importance of retention and recruitment of members.


  1. Report of the ESA Staff

Katherine McCarter previewed reports that will be provided by staff during the meeting.

Alison Mize summarized efforts of the Public Affairs office, particularly with reference to activities in Congress.  David Inouye suggested doing more to inform members of letters sent to Congress from the Society.  Sue Silver thanked the Frontiers editorial board for their efforts to keep the quality of articles high.  David Baldwin has been on leave in Mexico, and thanked Regina Przygocki and Publication Office staff for the smooth running of the journals in his absence.   Cliff Duke reviewed efforts by the Science Office, focusing on the new program on “Sustaining Biological Infrastructure” to offer short courses on non-profit management.  He also updated the board on activities related to the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.   Michelle Horton gave the board an update on the Sacramento meeting.  Growth in the size of the meeting program has required use of nearby hotels for some sessions.  Teresa Mourad noted that approximately 30 SEEDS students will be participating in the 2014 meetings.  She provided details of the recent SEEDS program review and noted that results will be presented in both a poster and an oral session during the meetings.  She summarized approaches for funding the program. A video will be shown in the opening plenary to encourage member donations to the program.  Regina Przygocki reviewed activities in the Publications Office, including major updates in the software infrastructure for the journals.  Elizabeth Biggs reviewed membership trends over the past 18 years.  There was an increase in membership following the launch of Frontiers in 2003.  Since then membership has fluctuated, but dropped below 9000 in 2013.  There was discussion of a number of new initiatives to strengthen the sense of community among professional ecologists, and recent efforts to increase participation by students and early career ecologists in activities of the Society.


  1. Financial Update


  1. Fourth Quarter Financials

Elizabeth Biggs and Katherine McCarter reviewed the budget and fourth quarter financial report.   Katherine noted that this is the first budget in many years that does not include a surplus that can be allocated to reserves.  Financial challenges with scientific publications continue to put pressure on the budget.  Subscription revenue over the past year was significantly below budget, in part because of restructuring of subscription fees that reduced subscription costs to a number of institutional subscribers.  Total revenue was more than $400,000 below budget, but expenses were lower by a similar amount, so it is anticipated that there may only be a small draw on unrestricted funds to balance the budget.


III. Discussion/Action Items


  1. FY 2014-2015 ESA Budget


  1. Proposed ESA FY 2014-2015 Budget

Les Real moved and Sharon Collinge seconded recommending to the Council the approval of a revised 2014-2015 budget.  All aye.


  1. Board Strategic Initiatives

There was discussion of two specific ideas for use of board strategic initiative funds, as well as discussion of the process by which resources from the Opportunity Fund are used for strategic initiatives.  There was sentiment that the topic should be discussed each year, but without a sense that the funds need to be used each year rather than accumulated over time for more substantive initiatives (such as the strategic review of publications).


Sharon Collinge moved and Steve Jackson seconded that $5,500 be allocated to support the Ad Hoc Certification Committee and $4,500 be allocated to complete SEEDS fundraising efforts begun last year.  All aye.


  1. Long-Range Planning Grant Subcommittee

Katherine McCarter reviewed guidelines the governing board adopted last year for awarding long-range planning grants to sections, chapters and committees.  Jill Baron appointed the Governing Board Members-at-Large to serve as the committee to review proposals for long-range planning grants.


  1. Discussion of Council Presentation

Katherine reviewed topics to be presented at the Council meeting on Aug. 10, 2014.


  1. Fundraising

Charlie Canham reviewed the fundraising strategy, with particular emphasis on the Opportunity Fund.  Discussion focused on identifying a limited list of the most compelling needs.   Coordinating fundraising efforts with Centennial activities was also discussed.


  1. Review of Governing Board Annual Meeting Activities

Katherine reviewed the schedule of events for the Governing Board during the Sacramento meeting.


  1. Sustainability Science Award

Sharon Collinge moved and Julie Reynolds seconded that the Society accept the recommendation of the Sustainability Science Award subcommittee to establish a second award in this category, entitled “The ESA Innovation in Sustainability Science Award”.  All aye.


  1. Annual Meeting 2019 – Recommendation

Meetings Co-Chair Kiyoko Miyanishi joined the meeting to present the recommendation that New Orleans be selected as the site for the 2019 Annual Meeting.  She summarized the pros and cons of the site.  In particular, the hotels are willing to guarantee room rates in 2019 that are lower than current hotel rates in Sacramento.  Valerie Eviner moved and Sharon Collinge seconded a motion to approve the selection of New Orleans as the site for the 2019 Annual Meeting.   All aye. There appears to be a consensus that the most popular meeting sites should be used repeatedly.


  1. Environmental Offsets

Susan Ustin, local host for the 2014 meetings has recommended that the environmental offset funds generated by the Sacramento meeting be awarded to the Yolo Basin Foundation, a local non-profit founded to assist in establishing the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area located in the flood bypass for the Sacramento River.  Steve Jackson moved and Julie Reynolds seconded awarding the environmental offset funds to the Yolo Basin Foundation.  All aye.

Julie Reynolds offered to draft a paragraph to provide more guidance to the local hosts about the environmental offsets.  She will have it for the fall meeting.


  1. Public Policy Recommendations

Sharon Collinge introduced the recommendations of the Public Affairs Office and Public Affairs Committee for public policy priorities for the coming year.  The Committee met in May and generated a list of issues in eight general areas: (1) energy and climate, (2) water quality and quantity, (3) disasters affecting ecosystems, (4) STEM education, (5) endangered species, (6) invasive species, (7) urban ecosystems, and (8) federal investment in natural resource and research agencies.  The list is not designed to exclude action on other issues.

Charlie Canham moved and Les Real seconded adopting the public policy priorities.  All aye.


  1. Earth Stewardship Update

Jill Baron reviewed the history of ESA activities that led to the Earth Stewardship Initiative, and summarized activities at the 2014 Annual Meeting that are motivated by the Initiative.


  1. Ad Hoc Certification Committee

During the May 2014 Governing Board meeting, the Board asked President Jill Baron to name and charge an ad hoc committee to review ESA’s certification program.  This request resulted from a discussion that was initiated by Linda Heath, former chair of the Board of Professional Certification. She noted that the program had not been reviewed since its inception in the 1980’s. Carmen Cid was appointed chair of the committee, and presented a synopsis of the charge to the committee, and a timeline for their work.


  1. Strategic Review of Publications

ESA has engaged Rising Tide to conduct a strategic review of ESA publications.  Katherine McCarter provided an update on the effort.


  1. Actively Engaging with NEON—Discussion

Jill Baron discussed the idea of creating an ad hoc committee to provide input from the ecological community to NEON.


The Governing Board went into Executive Session at 4:00 pm, and adjourned at 5:00 pm.


Sunday, August 10, 2014 – meeting called to order at 8:30 am


III. Discussion/Action Items (continued)


  1. 2014 Annual Meeting

Hal Balbach, 2014 Program Chair, gave an update on changes in the program planning process.  He thanked Susan Ustin for serving as the local host and coordinating field trips.  Jill Baron thanked Jennifer Riem for her extraordinary work on the program.


  1. Centennial

Nancy Huntly, Chair of the Centennial Implementation Committee, reported on activities related to the Centennial year.  A call for proposals has been distributed for funding available to Sections and Chapters for activities they would like to propose.   Huntly and Carol Brewer, 2015 Program Chair discussed changes to the meeting structure for the Centennial.  The Board encouraged them to be creative but cautioned that changes should not reduce the opportunities for members to make presentations.


  1. Publications Meetings


  1. Publications Committee

Josh Schimel gave an update on work of the Publications Committee during the past year. Several editors-in-chief were reviewed and reappointed during the year, and an effort is underway to recruit a new editor-in-chief for Ecological Monographs.  Dr. Yonglong Lu, Editor-in-Chief of the new journal Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, was introduced.


  1. Ecology

Don Strong, Editor-in-Chief of Ecology reported that Ecology is on an even keel, and that submission, acceptance, and rejection rates are stable, with acceptance rates in low to mid-20% level.  He is concerned about staffing support in the Publication Office and publication delays for the Journal.  He feels that the problems are structural and related to staffing.  He thinks there is an opportunity to pursue tighter linkages between Ecology and Ecosphere.


  1. Ecological Monographs

Aaron Ellison, Editor-in-Chief of Ecological Monographs echoed Don Strong’s comments that acceptance, and rejection rates are typical of 5-year averages, but that submission rates are down substantially during the past year.  The journal has experimented with Twitter, with some success.


  1. Ecological Applications

David Baldwin gave a report on Ecological Applications, including announcement of the first paper in a new format for “virtual invited features”, in which papers in invited features are published as they are ready, and will then be linked into a virtual special feature electronically.  Submissions during 2013 were up 15% over the previous year, and have been steady during the first half of 2014.   Ecological Applications has instituted a data archiving requirement for accepted papers.


  1. Ecosphere

Debra Peters, Editor-in-Chief of Ecosphere noted that the journal has its first impact factor to report.  Submissions are increasing, and the first special feature has been published, and can be done as “virtual” features that are linked once all of the individual papers have been published.


  1. Ecosystem Health and Sustainability

Dr. Lu gave a thorough presentation on the status and future of the new journal, with the first issue slated for January, 2015.  There was extensive discussion of the challenges of launching the new journal and achieving the goals of rapid publication of very high quality research.


  1. Frontiers

Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief of Frontiers reviewed the year at Frontiers, including efforts to reduce costs.


  1. Bulletin

Ed Johnson, Editor-in-Chief of the Bulletin reviewed plans for the next 4 issues of the Bulletin related to the Centennial celebration.  He would like to receive histories from sections and chapters.


Meeting adjourned at 12:00 pm.




Minutes of the ESA Governing Board,

August 15, 2014

Sacramento, CA


Members Present

David Inouye              President

Jill Baron                     Past-President

Evan Delucia               VP for Finance

Valerie Eviner             VP for Science

Julie Reynolds             VP for Education and Human Resources

Charles Canham          Secretary

Carmen Cid                 Member at Large

Ana Elise Perez Quintero        Member at Large


Members Absent

Monica Turner President-Elect

Scott Collins               VP for Public Affairs

Leah Gerber                Member at Large


Staff Present

Katherine McCarter    Executive Director

Cliff Duke                   Director, Science

Michelle Horton          Director, Administration and Meetings

Teresa Mourad            Director, Education and Diversity

Sue Silver                    Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers

Alison  Mize                Director, Public Affairs



Kate Gallagher            Student Section Co-Chair


Meeting called to order by President David Inouye at 8:30 am


  1. Information

David Inouye welcomed new board members, and thanked Jill Baron for her service during the past year.  He reviewed 2014-2015 meeting dates.  He described early planning for the program for the Centennial meeting.   Kate Gallagher described plans by the Student Section for a monthly newsletter, and liaisons with other sections.


  1. Discussion/Action Items


  1. Audit Committee

David Inouye appointed Jill Baron to serve on the Audit Committee.


  1. Meetings Format Recommendations

There was discussion of ideas for increasing the numbers of early and mid-career members attending the meetings, including high-profile named (and sponsored) lectures.


  1. Current Issues


  1. Centennial Celebration

Evan Delucia described fundraising efforts with foundations and corporations for support of activities at the Centennial meeting.


  1. Earth Stewardship

The landscape design project led by Alex Felson was a very active and visible activity during the meeting.   There is hope that a similar activity will be scheduled for the Centennial meeting.  Carmen Cid mentioned that the faith communities are expected to be active in the coming year in activities related to earth stewardship.


  1. Publications Strategic Review

An initial report from the strategic review of publications is expected for the November board meeting.


III. Other


Jill Baron mentioned contacts from other professional societies requesting that ESA provide booths at their annual meetings.


Meeting adjourned at 9:45 am