ESA 2018 Wrap-Up

Lots of people congregate around a display table at a conference
Lots of new and current C&E Section members flocked to the Section booth each night. (Photo: © 2018, Bethann Garramon Merkle)

Wowza, ESA 2018 was epic!

There were nearly 40 sessions that related to communication and engagement, careers, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Your C&E Section officers led, co-organized, or presented in 10 sessions, and section members were active in several more. We also led an invited workshop for ESA’s first career fair, held as part of the annual meeting. And, we were involved with on-going discussions about how engagement is integrated throughout ESA.

By the most conservative estimates, some 885 participants were involved with all these sessions, and we’re still waiting for final numbers from several session organizers. Our Inspire session, Talking about the Hard Stuff: Using the Science of Scicomm to Effectively Engage and Communicate about Ecology, was almost standing-room only, and Jane Zelikova of 500 Women Scientists successfully presented remotely, from Colorado, via a pre-recorded presentation and Skype for the discussion.

We were honored and deeply moved to be part of INS 5: Expanding Ecology: Your ESA Sections and Chapters Focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion led by the Inclusive Ecology Section. The INS was scheduled at 8:00 AM and was well attended. We appreciate what we learned from many other amazing and active ESA Sections. WK 35: Building Scientist-Community Partnerships and Best Practices: Lessons from New Orleans Post-Hurricane Katrina and Other Extreme Events was transformational for many in the room. We had an incredible line-up of community members that we only wish we’d had more time with. We hope to co-create something from the session to share widely. We commend ESA for budgeting for the (new in 2018) Community Awards applications that resulted in registration waivers for some of the invited speakers in the workshop.

At our booth, 40+ people contributed to our annual #SketchYourScience gallery. ESA members who co-founded Plant Love Stories joined us at the booth, where they, too, collected stories and videos. It was great to learn more about PLS and to share our space as a way to lift up an initiative by section members. If you’d like to partner like this in 2019, do get in touch.

Finally, we were thrilled to co-host a packed mixer with the ESA Policy Section and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thanks to those that joined us!

We hope to make something similar happen in 2019.*

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*Stay tuned for our next newsletter, where we’ll have an update with more about ESA 2019.