August 8-9 & 14 2015

Members Present

David Inouye, President
Monica Turner, President-Elect
Jill Baron, Past-President
Evan DeLucia, VP for Finance
Scott Collins, VP for Public Affairs
Valerie Eviner, VP for Science
Julie Reynolds, VP for Education and Human Resources (via phone)
Charles Canham, Secretary
Carmen Cid, Member at Large
Ana-Elisa Perez Quintero, Member at Large
Leah Gerber, 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
Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers
Alison  Mize, Director, Public Affairs
Regina Przygocki, Interim Associate Editor, Publications Office
David Gooding, Publications Office


Dane Ward, Co-Chair, Student Section

9:00 am, August 8, 2015, meeting called to order by President David Inouye

Roll Call and Agenda

Adopt Agenda

Jill Baron moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve the agenda.  All aye.

Ratification of Vote-Minutes from May 2015

Scott Collins moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to ratify the email vote to approve the minutes of the May 2015 Governing Board meeting.  All aye.

Review of Governing Board Annual Meeting Activities

Katherine McCarter reviewed the schedule of Governing Board activities during the annual meeting. 


Report of the President

David Inouye began by expressing his thanks to staff and the Governing Board for their support and efforts during the past year.  He summarized his work with the Science and Public Affairs programs, and noted that he had been able to attend the SEEDS Leadership meeting earlier this year.   He noted his efforts to strengthen our ties with international ecological societies.  He will be hosting a meeting with leaders of 15 other ecological societies during this year’s annual meeting.  The publication transition has been a major focus of his efforts this year.

Report of the Executive Director and Staff

Katherine McCarter began by noting the extensive materials presented in the board book.  Alison Mize summarized efforts with Scott Collins to update the goals of the Public Affairs program, and efforts to engage with journalists covering the annual meeting.  Sue Silver gave an update on activities at Frontiers, particularly the Centennial special issue.  Regina Przygocki reported on activities in the Publications Office, and noted the growing backlog of manuscripts in Ecosphere.  Michelle Horton gave a preview of the annual meeting, noting that we hoped it might exceed the most recent Portland meeting in number of attendees.  Teresa Mourad noted that this was a successful year in fundraising for the Education Program and SEEDS, including a 4-year NSF grant.  SEEDS will be introducing a Certificate Program focused on longer-term mentoring.  Cliff Duke reviewed activities in the Science Program.  Jill Baron complimented the program for its various efforts to support the infrastructure for science.

There was discussion of ways to effectively inform ESA members of the enormous range of activities undertaken by ESA staff during the past year. 

Financial Update

Fourth Quarter Financials

Katherine McCarter and Elizabeth Biggs reviewed fiscal year 2014-2015 financials. The year ended with expenses exceeding revenue by $31,328 on total expenses of $6,090,691.  The year was notable for many unexpected expenses related to the transition to a new publisher, including additional staffing in the Publications Office, and consultants assisting in the transition. 

Investments and Asset Allocation

VP for Finance Evan DeLucia reviewed the guidelines for investment of ESA’s restricted and unrestricted reserves.  Our current balance of fixed income and equity investments is outside the current ranges set previously by the Governing Board, with more in fixed income than dictated by our current policy guidelines.  DeLucia will meet with our investment advisors to discuss bringing the balance back within our investment guidelines.   The signing bonus from Wiley will be allocated to budgets over the next seven years, but the total amount will be received in a lump sum that will be placed in the unrestricted reserves.

Discussion/Action Items

FY 2015-2016 ESA Budget

Proposed ESA FY 2015-2016 Budget

The Governing Board reviewed the FY 2015-2016 budget at the May 2015 board meeting, and voted to recommend that the Council approve the budget at its meeting on August 9, 2015.  Elizabeth Biggs reviewed modifications to the proposed budget due to expected changes to revenue (both positive and negative) related to the new contract with Wiley, and to changes in dues revenue, which is running higher than expected.  Given the many one-time expenses related to the publication transition the proposed FY 2015-2016 budget shows a $21,169 loss on total expenses of $5,801,726.  The shortfall will be met from a draw on unrestricted reserves.

Scott Collins moved and Jill Baron seconded a motion to recommend that the Council approve the amended budget at its meeting on August 9, 2015.  All aye.

Long Range Planning Grant Subcommittee

The FY 2015-2016 Budget contains $10,000 for long range planning grants to sections, chapters, and committees. A subcommittee of the Governing Board reviews the proposals and makes recommendations for funding.

The subcommittee has traditionally been composed of the Members at Large.  Ana-Elisa Perez Quintero agreed to chair the subcommittee.  Jill Baron noted that in past years the Governing Board has encouraged that the grants be used for strategic issues, rather than routine operation of the sections and chapters.   The call for proposals in recent years has reflected this more strategic focus. 

Discussion of Council Presentation

Katherine McCarter reviewed the agenda for the Council meeting, focusing on a presentation that will be given to the Council on the publication transition.

Publications Update

As a continuation of the discussion of the Council presentation, the board reviewed the status of the publication transition process.  The schedule calls for Wiley to assume publishing of all Society journals as of January 2016.

Ad Hoc Certification Review Committee – final report

The Ad Hoc Certification Review Committee, chaired by Carmen Cid, has submitted its final report. The report discusses the history of the program, the strengths and weaknesses of the current program, and provides a series of recommended actions organized into three phases.  The charge was to ensure that the program was robust, inclusive and relevant for professional ecologists.  The current program serves roughly 7% of the membership of ESA, primarily consultants or government scientists.  

The report outlined the history of the program and previous reviews.  It concludes that the current program has very modest requirements for academic training in ecology, and presented a list of both weaknesses in the current Board of Professional Certification process and recommendations in three phases for ways to improve the certification process to better serve the needs of ESA members.  A central recommendation is to implement an exam that new applicants would need to pass to become certified. 

The committee also reviewed the ESA Code of Ethics, and reminded us that all ESA members are governed by the Code of Ethics.  They recommended that the Code be displayed more prominently on the ESA website.

David Inouye thanked Carmen Cid and committee members Linda Heath, Luther Smith, Tom Mulroy and Elizabeth Binney for their thorough analyses and detailed recommendations.

Charles Canham moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve an allocation of up to $5000 from Board Strategic Initiative funds to support the implementation of Phase I of the committee’s recommendations. The task of defining core concepts was given to the Committee on Diversity and Education Fundamental Ecological Concepts Task Force.  The Task Force will report on those efforts at the November 2015 Governing Board meeting.  All aye.

Engagement with Busines

During the May board meeting, the board expressed interest in exploring ways that ESA could engage with the business community. Staff were asked to think about this engagement and prepare a document for the August meeting. After an open discussion among staff leadership, Director of Science Cliff Duke took the suggestions and comments and organized them in a document that outlines potential benefits of such engagement to both ESA and business.  After Governing Board discussion of the document, Leah Gerber was asked to lead an effort to determine the next steps.

Public Policy Recommendations

VP for Public Policy Scott Collins presented recommendations for public policy priorities for the coming year.  The recommendations were generated by ESA staff in the Public Affairs Office, led by Alison Mize, and the Public Affairs Committee.  In contrast to the often very detailed (and long) lists of priorities recommended in previous years, Collins presented a very focused set of priorities that acknowledge that the Society’s efforts in public policy often require very rapid responses to issues that arise during the course of the year.  Thus, the “priorities” focus on the types of activities undertaken by the Public Affairs Office, rather than a list of specific topics.  The three main priorities were:

  • Addressing federal policy issues affecting STEM research and education
  • Emerging environmental issues of interest to the ecological community
  • Fostering ESA member engagement in policy and science communication

Charles Canham moved and Julie Reynolds seconded a motion to approve the recommendations.  All aye.

Reproducibility in Field Sciences

Cliff Duke reported on a recent workshop on Reproducibility in the Field Sciences cosponsored by ESA, with AAAS and AGU.

National Park Service – Ecological Landmarks

Jill Baron gave an update on a plan of the National Park Service to designate 10 sites nationally that recognize major achievements in science.  Baron attended a meeting to nominate sites, and three sites – Hubbard Brook, Sapelo Island, and a set of the Florida Keys – are currently being considered for inclusion in the plan.  She noted that many of the other sites identified by ecologists are already on protected lands.  Jill Baron and Clarisse Hart (Harvard Forest) met on August 7 with NPS representatives from the National Landmarks Program, the Office of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers, and the Climate Change Response Program to discuss NPS needs and how ESA members can help address them.   They are exploring ways to incorporate stories about sites within the National Parks in elementary school science programs.

2017 Annual Meeting Program Chair

Kiyoko Miyanishi, Co-chair of the Meetings Committee recommended naming Chris Swan as the Annual Meeting Program Chair for the 2017 Portland meeting.  Dr. Swan is currently serving as the local host for the 2015 Annual Meeting in Baltimore.

Charles Canham moved and Scott Collins seconded a motion to appoint Chris Swan as the Annual Meeting Program Chair for the 2017 ESA Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.  All aye.

Certified Ecology Education Program

The Committee for Diversity and Education (CDE) has prepared a preliminary concept for an ESA Certified Ecology Educator Program that would initially be limited to the informal science sector which includes nature center/park naturalists, volunteer master naturalists, museum/natural history docents, etc. It would not include technical professionals like foresters. They have developed a concept paper that outlines the potential audience, the content of the program, and financial projections.

There was extensive discussion of the feasibility of the concept.  There was a general sense of the Board that the idea is worth pursuing.  Valerie Eviner moved and Leah Gerber seconded a motion to encourage the CDE to continue exploring the concept.  All aye.

Membership Discussion at ESA Council Meeting

Monica Turner summarized points she made in a recent editorial in the August 2015 issues of Frontiers about expanding efforts to serve Society members and expand our membership.  There will be a 30 minute session at the Council meeting on August 9, 2015 on this topic.  The goal of the session will be to solicit input from the Council on how to ensure that the Society remains relevant and important to ecologists.


Charles Canham led a discussion of fundraising ideas.


Meeting adjourned at 4:00 pm for executive session

Meeting called to order Sunday, August 9, 2015, at 8:40 am


Donald Strong, Editor-in-Chief, Ecology
Aaron Ellison, Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Monographs
Aimee Classen, incoming Editor-in-Chief, Ecological Monographs, 2016
Debra Peters, Editor-in-Chief, Ecosphere
Yonglong Lu, Editor-in-Chief, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability
Edward Johnson, Editor-in-Chief, ESA Bulletin
Sue Silver, Editor-in-Chief, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Colette Bean, Vice President and Publications Director, US Global Research, Wiley
Hannah Smith, Senior Editor, Life Sciences, Wiley
Mark Jacobsen, DeltaThink (ESA Publications Transition Manager)
Daniel Scholes, Chair, Early Career Section
Kiyoko Miyanishi, Chair, Meetings Committee
Carol Brewer, Program Chair
Nancy Huntly, Centennial Implementation Chair

Discussion/Action Items (continued)

2015 Annual Meeting

Program Chair Carol Brewer thanked ESA staff for their extraordinary efforts organizing the program.  She noted that a record number of abstracts had been submitted.  She noted that the Earth Stewardship Initiative efforts constitute a meeting within the meeting and that it should be brought into the regular annual meeting structure in the future.  The Governing Board thanked Carol Brewer for her efforts on behalf of the annual meeting program.

Centennial Implementation Committee

Nancy Huntly, Chair of the Centennial Implementation Committee reviewed activities and projects planned to celebrate the Society’s Centennial.  The Governing Board thanked Nancy Huntly for coordinating the special annual meeting centennial activities.

Meeting with Editors in Chief and Wiley Representatives

Colette Bean and Hannah Smith from Wiley joined the meeting to discuss the publication transition.  The Board and the Editors in Chief were briefed on the arrangement between Wiley and ESA and afforded the opportunity to ask questions about the transition and the changes to our current processes.


Friday, August 14, 2015, 8:30 am, meeting called to order by President Monica Turner

Members Present

Monica Turner, President
David Inouye, Past-President
David Lodge, President-Elect
Frank Davis, VP for Public Affairs
Charles Canham, Secretary
Ana-Elisa Perez Quintero, 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


Winslow Hansen, Chair, Student Section


2015-2016 Governing Board

Incoming President Monica Turner welcomed new board members and outlined plans for the coming year.  The Fall 2015 meetings will be held November 4-6, 2015, and the Spring 2016 Governing Board meetings will be held May 11-12, 2016, both in Washington DC.

Discussion/Action Items

  1. Audit Committee

            David Lodge and Frank Davis were appointed by President Turner to fill the two vacancies on the Audit Committee, which is chaired by Charles Canham.

Current Issues

  1. Membership

The Committee on Diversity and Education will have a meeting this fall.  Board members noted that there are obvious ties between this committee and potential membership growth.

  1. Publications Transition

There was discussion of the Issues in Ecology series in the context of the publications transition.  As currently structured, the series is not suitable for incorporating in the suite of journals to be published with Wiley.

Monica Turner led a discussion of the challenges of defining ESA program priorities under new budgets made possible by the agreement with Wiley.

Sue Silver reported that the Frontiers editorial board has approved the idea of a new series of articles on non-academic careers for ecologists.

  1. ESA and NEON

Monica Turner gave an update on the ESA-NEON relationship.  The Governing Board needs to continue recent momentum towards improving transparency and communication on NSF’s part.


There was a brief discussion of the two resolutions proposed by Jean-Luis Martin, President of the French Ecological Society, for consideration by the 15 ecological societies at the dinner hosted on 10 June by David Inouye. There was consensus to approve the first (with a minor wording change) and not the second (which was more relevant for European societies).

Teresa Mourad announced that a new award from NSF has been recommended for a joint workshop with the Society for Conservation Biology to consider next generation career paths for biologists. This might lead to a future RCN on the topic.