Ecological Society of America Announces New Appointments to Governing Board

December 8, 2022
For immediate release

Contact: Heidi Swanson, 202-833-8773 ext. 211, gro.asenull@idieh  

The Ecological Society of America is pleased to announce its recent election results for three Governing Board positions and two positions for its Board of Professional Certification. Those selected by the membership to serve on the Governing Board are President-Elect for 2024-2025 Stephanie E. Hampton, Carnegie Institution for Science; Vice President for Finance Jeannine Cavender-Bares, University of Minnesota; and Board Member James Rattling Leaf, Sr., University of Colorado-Boulder. Two Senior Certified Ecologists elected by the membership to serve on the Board of Professional Certification are Andrew P. Rayburn, The Nature Conservancy in Colorado and Kat Superfisky, Los Angeles City Planning.

Stephanie Hampton, Carnegie Institution for Science. Photo by Steve Katz.

ESA’s new president-elect for 2024, Stephanie E. Hampton, is a freshwater ecologist with expertise in environmental informatics and analysis of large environmental data sets. Her research includes analyzing the effects of climate change and other human impacts on lakes worldwide. From 2018 to 2022 she served at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) as the division director for the Division of Environmental Biology. While at NSF, Hampton remained a professor in the School of the Environment at Washington State University (2014-2022). Prior to WSU, she was deputy director of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at UC Santa Barbara. Hampton recently moved to the Carnegie Institution for Science, as deputy director of the new Division of Biosphere Sciences and Engineering, which aims to integrate biology from molecular to global scales.

“I am honored to serve the ESA community in this role,” said Hampton. “ESA has long been a leader in promoting the role of sound science in environmental policy, a need that continues to grow with the complexity of societal challenges. I have also appreciated that ESA has taken a proactive stance on issues broadly faced by STEM fields, such as the critical importance of diversifying voices in science, embracing open science and enhancing our discipline’s capacity for data intensive research.”

Hampton’s service to ESA includes chairing the Aquatic Ecology section (2011-2013), as well as membership on the Science Committee (2013-2015), and Sustainability Science Committee (2014-2015).

“Dr. Hampton will step into this role with a long history of leadership in the ecological and biological research communities,” said ESA President Sharon Collinge. “Her deep understanding of the science landscape, and her drive to enact positive changes within the discipline are closely aligned with ESA’s values of integrity, inclusion and adaptability.”     

ESA is also pleased to welcome two additional new governing board members for 2023-2026 that share collective responsibilities in determining the strategic direction of the Society and providing oversight. These new members are Jeannine Cavender-Bares, who will serve a second term as the vice-president for finance; and James Rattling Leaf, Sr., elected to serve as a board member.

Jeannine Cavender-Bares, University of Minnesota

Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Vice President for Finance, is a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior at the University of Minnesota and director of the NSF Biology Integration Institute. She is also a courtesy professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Florida. Formerly, she served as the chair of the Physiological Ecology Section of ESA. Bares was also a member of the NSF Biological Sciences Advisory Committee and of the Advisory Working Group for NASA’s Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting program. She served on the planning committee for the World Biodiversity Forum and as co-chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Multiscale Vascular Plant Biology. She was a coordinating lead author for the regional assessment of the Americas in the 2018 Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. Over the last two decades, she has led major research grants from multiple federal and state institutions and managed budgets for these projects. This is Cavender-Bares’ second and final term as Vice President for Finance.

James Rattling Leaf, Sr., University of Colorado-Boulder. Photo by Wahpe Hla Hla Photography.

James Rattling Leaf, Sr., Board Member, is a research associate at the Cooperative Institute Research Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado-Boulder, as well a co-principal investigator at the North Central Climate Adaptation Science Center. He specializes in developing programs that utilize the interface between Indigenous People’s Traditional Knowledge and Western Science. He has over 25 years of experience working with the U.S. federal government, higher education institutions and non-profits to develop and maintain effective working relationships with federally and non-federally recognized American Indian tribes, tribal communities and tribal colleges and universities.

The Board of Professional Certification also welcomes two new members who will serve three-year terms, starting on January 1, 2023, and concluding on December 31, 2025. ESA’s certification program aims to serve the needs of ecologists who wish to establish and validate their professional credentials, to define minimum standards of education and experience for professional ecologists, to encourage all practicing ecologists to meet such standards and to create and maintain public confidence in the advice and opinions of certified ecologists by establishing a procedure for critical peer evaluation based upon defined minimum education, experience and ethical requirements. This year’s newly elected members are Andrew P. Rayburn and Kat Superfisky.

Andrew P. Rayburn, The Nature Conservancy in Colorado.

Andrew P. Rayburn, ESA Board of Professional Certification, is the director of conservation science and planning at The Nature Conservancy in Colorado. Rayburn is a conservation ecologist who applies principles of spatial, landscape, community and restoration ecology to connect ecological patterns and processes across spatiotemporal scales. He has held previous positions in academic, nonprofit, private and government sectors. Rayburn received his Ph.D. from Utah State University, his M.S. from Iowa State University and his B.A. from Austin College. An ESA member since 2004, he became a Certified Ecologist in 2012 and a Certified Senior Ecologist in 2017. He has also been a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (SER) and a SER Certification Committee member since 2017. Rayburn has served as an Associate Editor for Ecological Restoration since 2016, and was formerly on the Board of the California Native Grasslands Association.

Kat Superfisky, City of Los Angeles. Photo by Bear Guerra.

Kat Superfisky, ESA Board of Professional Certification, is an urban ecologist, designer and educator who is dedicated to transforming urban areas into more habitable places for people, plants and other animals. Superfisky is currently the City of Los Angeles’ first urban ecologist. Prior to moving to LA, they helped manage 24,000 acres of parkland in metropolitan Detroit, and developed an environmental education program about sustainability in the built environment. In LA, Superfisky has spearheaded ecological planning and design efforts at a landscape architecture and urban design firm, and founded the nonprofit Grown in LA. They developed and taught college courses for over 10 years. Superfisky is a former Doris Duke Conservation Fellow and currently serves on the Executive Oversight Team for the LA Urban Center, California ReLeaf’s Board of Directors, City Plants’ Advisory Board and on the Expert Council and Interdepartmental Working Group for LA’s Biodiversity Index.

The current ESA Governing Board Members are President Sharon Collinge, University of Arizona, through August 2023; Immediate President-Elect Shahid Naeem, Columbia University; Immediate Past-President Dennis Ojima, Colorado State University; Vice-President for Finance Jeannine Cavender-Bares, University of Minnesota, whose current term will conclude in August 2023 before her second three-year term begins; Secretary Emilio Bruna, University of Florida, through August 2025; Board Member Diane Pataki, Arizona State University, through August 2024; Board Member Carmen Cid, Eastern Connecticut State University, through August 2024; Board Member Laura Petes, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Association, through August 2023; Board Member Jennifer Funk, University of California, Davis, through August 2024; Board Member Jay Lennon, University of Indiana, through August 2025 and Board Member Kelly Ramirez, University of Texas at El-Paso, through August 2025.

ESA thanks the dedicated ESA members who participated in the election.



The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the worlds largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at

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