ESA Policy News: October 24, 2022

In this issue:

Apply for the 2023 Katherine S. McArthur Graduate Student Policy Award
Applications are due January 1, 2023.

Call for climate and biodiversity experts to interact with the media
ESA seeks members willing to speak to the media ahead of international climate and biodiversity meetings.

Senate considering annual defense policy bill, which includes authorizes funding for tropical forest and coral reef conservation.

Executive Branch
President Biden designates a new national monument.

Alaska state agency cancels red king crab and snow crab seasons amid massive population declines.

IPBES seeks experts to participate in the business and biodiversity assessment.

Scientific Community
Plant ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer and ornithologist Joseph Drew Lanham are among this years’ “genius” grant recipients.

Federal Register opportunities

Apply for the 2023 Katherine S. McArthur Graduate Student Policy Award

Are you a science graduate student interested in the intersection between policy and science? ESA invites you to apply for the 2023 Graduate Student Policy Award (GSPA). Apply and come to DC to meet with your lawmaker on Capitol Hill!

Offered each year, this award gives graduate students hands-on training and science policy experience including interacting with congressional decision-makers, federal agency officials, and ecologists who work in the science and public policy arena. ESA covers all travel expenses and plans to hold the event onsite at its Washington, DC office Tuesday, April 24-25 unless events beyond our control occur. Applications are due Jan. 1, 2023, 12PM EDT.

For more information and to apply, visit the ESA website.

Call for climate and biodiversity experts to interact with the media

If you are interested in being featured in media advisories and serving as an expert for journalists writing about COP 27 or COP15, please complete this form.

Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference of Parties, or COP27, in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in November 2022, ESA seeks ecological experts to include in a media advisory highlighting our members’ expertise in climate change and biodiversity.

Additionally, we will be issuing the same advisory for the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, or COP 15, being held in December in Montreal.

ESA members who are contacted as result of this media advisory would be speaking on their own behalf as a subject matter expert and would not be speaking on behalf of ESA.


Senate: Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed (D-RI) and Ranking Member Jim Inhofe (R-OK) brought the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act to the floor. This annual must-pass bill sets defense policy for the next year and typically contains environmental provisions of interest. The manager’s bill package from Reed and Inhofe includes language from Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chair Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-MS) reauthorizing the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000. The language establishes a U.S. Coral Reef Task Force and requires the federal government to create a new national coral reef resilience strategy and new coral reef action plans. Another amendment from Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) reauthorizes the Tropical Forest and Coral Reef Act through FY 2027 and authorizes $20 million a year for the program. This law provides loan forgiveness for developing countries that meet specific benchmarks and agree to contribute to tropical forest and coral reef conservation.

Executive Branch

White House: President Joe Biden designated 53,800 acres in Colorado as Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument, protecting a historic World War II training site as well as habitat for Canada lynx, boreal toad, cutthroat trout, Rocky Mountain elk and more. This is Biden’s first time designating a National Monument, as permitted under the Antiquities Act. Biden also proposed withdrawing 225,000 acres nearby from new mining or drilling. The Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management plan to accept public comments on this withdrawal proposal once it is posted on the Federal Register.

White House: The US Global Change Research Program and the fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) have announced a call for art. Selected art submissions will be featured in NCA5, which will be used by hundreds of thousands of people across the country and around the world. The NCA5 is looking for visual art that aligns with the chapters and themes of NCA5. The goal is to depict climate change in ways that resonate with readers, connecting climate science with the lived experiences of the American people.

The White House announced two calls for art – one for adults and one for youth. The two concurrent calls for art will be open through January 27, 2023, to align with an upcoming public comment period on the draft report. More information about this call for art and the upcoming public comment period on the draft report can be found at

White House: The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) will meet Nov 9, 2022. The meeting will cover two topics – cyber resilience and the economic impacts of extreme weather. Additional information and the meeting agenda will be posted on the PCAST website.

White House: The National Climate Task Force convened Oct. 17. Topics included a briefing from Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry about the upcoming COP27 climate conference in Egypt, updates about the administration’s environmental justice work from Council on Environmental Quality Chair Brenda Mallory and discussion of how the administration will implement the Inflation Reduction Act.

White House: The Biden administration released a new national biodefense strategy and implementation plan to prevent future pandemics and address other biological threats. The plan endorses a One Health approach to human, animal and ecosystem health, noting that 75 percent of new and emerging diseases that threatened human health originate from animals. The report also recommends strengthening laboratory biosafety and biosecurity, maintaining a strong science and technology base and improving domestic and international public health infrastructure.

NSF: The agency issued a solicitation for a new multidisciplinary, world-class educational center at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico that aims to serve as a hub for STEM education and outreach. The goals of this center would be to promote STEM education, broaden participation in STEM, support applied STEM and STEM education research and to build and leverage new and existing collaborations and partnerships.

The decision means that NSF opts not to rebuild the telescope dish at the Arecibo Observatory, which was destroyed in late 2020. Smaller telescopes and facilities at the Arecibo site remain in use and could be incorporated into the educational center.

This announcement is consistent with a provision in the CHIPS and Science Act which encourages NSF to strengthen and expand the role of Arecibo Observatory. Full proposals are due by the end of February 2023. The center is expected to open in 2023.

NSF: The National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics released the data tables for the 2021 Survey of Earned Doctorates. The data shows that the number of doctorates awarded in 2021 dropped by 5.4%% from 2020 levels, the biggest decrease recorded since NSF started tracking this information in 1958. The number of doctorates awarded in the life sciences decreased by 5.8% from 12,549 in 2020 to 11,814 in 2021.

Another key finding is that the number of new Ph.Ds with definite commitments for either work or postdoctoral training increased to 70%, from 62% in 2016 — the last time NSF reported these numbers. Similarly, the number of life sciences Ph.D. with no definite commitment post-graduation decreased from 40.4% in 2016 to 30.2% in 2021.

NSF will release a report about the data in early December 2022.

More News:



IPBES: The international body is seeking nominations of experts to participate in the business and biodiversity assessment. IPBES is seeking experts and practitioners with expertise in impacts and dependencies of business on biodiversity and nature’s contributions to people from all relevant business and financial sectors. Experts should come from business and industry, government and civil society, and have expertise in a diversity of relevant disciplines including climatology, ecology, hydrology, public health and risk assessment. Nominations are due Nov. 1, 2022. Organizations and governments must confirm nominations by Nov. 15, 2022.

More News:

Scientific Community

Elections: Research! America will hold a post-election panel Nov. 15 to discuss the midterm election results and the potential impacts of the election on science, research and public health. The event will take place in person at the American Association for the Advancement of Science building in Washington, DC and will be live-streamed. To register for the livestream or the in-person election, visit the event website.

MacArthur Foundation: Plant ecologist Robin Wall Kimmerer and ornithologist Joseph Drew Lanham are among this years’ “genius” grant recipients.

Kimmerer is currently a Distinguished Teaching Professor and Director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her work combines her expertise in botany, the ecology of mosses, ecological restoration and her lived experience as a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the principles of Traditional Ecological Knowledge. She is a founding member of ESA’s Traditional Ecological Knowledge section and was a plenary speaker at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Notably, Kimmerer is the author of the 2013 New York Times bestseller Braiding Sweetgrass.

Lanham is Alumni Distinguished Professor of Wildlife Ecology and Master Teacher in the Forestry and Environmental Conservation Department at Clemson University. His research focuses on the impacts of forest management on birds and other wildlife. Lanham is an advocate for broadening, diversifying and sustaining engagement in the natural work and often speaks and writes about the implicit and explicit racism people of color often face when engaging with their natural surroundings.

The award provides an $800,000 grant that recipients are free to spend however they choose.

NASEM: The Board on Life Sciences is holding an online workshop entitled “Harness Microbial Diversity for the Bioeconomy” Nov 2. The workshop will discuss the scientific challenges and opportunities of the biodiversity of microbes and opportunities for harnessing knowledge about microbial function to design and develop processes and products to feed into the bioeconomy. Register here.

Wildfire: The Northwest Fire Science Consortium and the Oregon State University Extension Fire Program is hosting a webinar series about equity and environmental justice in wildfire. View information about the upcoming and recorded webinars here.

Duke University: The National Ecosystem Service Partnership and the Resilience Project, both based at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute are organizing a webinar series about current issues in nature-based solutions. The series will explore current nature-based solutions issues, discover promising practices, and hear from experts working in this field. The first webinar, to be held in Nov. 15, will focus on assessing the costs and benefits of nature-based solution, how to account for the benefits of nature-based solutions, how do to compare the costs and benefits of nature-based solution to more traditional (gray infrastructure) solutions and the return on investment for nature-based solutions. Register here.

ESAL: An October 27 workshop, sponsored by Engineering and Scientists Acting Locally, will give participants the tools to advocate through delivering public comments to their city council, local commissions, state legislatures or other local governmental bodies. The workshop will feature fellow STEM professionals who have gone through the process of advocating for issues they are passionate about and hand-on activities to walk through the process of delivering public comments. RSVP here.

NSF: The Division of Environmental Biology will hold its next Virtual Office Hour, ‘Opportunities for Research in Climate Change’ November 14. Representatives from each of the four clusters will be available to discuss specific programs and funding opportunities during an open question and answer period. Virtual Office Hours are held on the second Monday of every month; find recaps of previous months’ discussions here.

AAAS: Arati Prabhakar, newly confirmed director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science on the aims of U.S. science and technology Oct. 21. The speech was recorded and uploaded to YouTube here.

More News:

Register to Vote and Request an Absentee Ballot

The midterm elections are happening this November. On a national level, all seats in the House of Representatives and a third of the seats in the Senate will be contested. Several state governorships and many other state and local elections will also be contested. Be sure you are registered to vote in time to participate! Learn more about voting policies and rights in your state and register to vote at Rock the Vote, a nonprofit dedicated to engaging young people in politics.

Voting procedures and requirements for requesting an absentee ballot during the coronavirus pandemic vary by state. Visit your state board of elections website or for deadlines and to request a ballot.

ESA Correspondence to Policymakers

View more letters and testimony from ESA here.

Federal Register Opportunities

Upcoming Public Meetings:

Opportunities for Public Comment and Nominations:

Visit this page on ESA’s website for updates on opportunities from the Federal Register, including upcoming meetings and regulations open for public comment.

ESA’s policy activities work to infuse ecological knowledge into national policy decisions through activities such as policy statements, Capitol Hill briefings, Congressional Visits Days, and coalition involvement. Policy News Updates are bi-monthly summaries of major environmental and science policy news. They are produced by the Public Affairs Office of the Ecological Society of America.

Send questions or comments to Alison Mize, director of public affairs, or Nicole Zimmerman, public affairs manager,

Visit the ESA website to learn more about our activities and membership.