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About Us

The Inclusive Ecology section was established in the summer of 2016 in order to provide resources and support for all ecologists, regardless of physical/mental ability, gender identity, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, culture, nationality, family status, politics, religion, level of education, or age. During its establishment, concerns were raised that the Ecological Society of America (ESA) and its sections already strive to be inclusive, and that there are already several programs in place to address issues of diversity. Emerging patterns in our national socio-political climate have rendered establishment of this section especially timely. In the spirit of our mission, we are coordinating efforts to engage people from myriad perspectives in collegial conversation with a common goal of advancing ecological science.

Mission: To provide resources and support for all ecologists, regardless of race, sex, physical or mental ability or difference, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, socio-economic status, culture or subculture, national origin, marital status, parental status, politics, religion, level of education, or age.

The scope of what we are currently doing:

  • Workshop series (first one to be held at ESA 2017 meeting) to promote proper language when communicating with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Seminar series (first one to be held at ESA 2017 meeting) to listen and learn from diverse communities about being “different” in Ecology and related fields.
  • Promote and maintain initiatives during the ESA meetings that promote diversity and inclusion, such as gender-neutral restrooms and, ally ribbon.
  • Collaborate with other sections to promote diversity and inclusion.

Current leadership (2017-2018):

6 members stand together and pose for the picture in front of a glass window. Picture taken at an ESA Annual Meeting.

Chair: Aramati Casper (aramaticasper at
Vice-chair: Pending
Webmaster: Sam Davis (sam at

Inclusive Ecology Board: Eanas Alia, Tiffany Carey, Camilo Khatchikian, Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, and Kennedy “Ned” Rubert-Nason 
Former chair and founder: Elita Baldridge (elita.baldridge at


Wilnelia Recart is a PhD candidate at the University of California, Irvine. Her research focuses on the ecological and evolutionary impacts of invasive plants and drought on plant-pollinator interactions. She is passionate about generating and fostering venues that improve communication and promote action on issues regarding diversity and inclusion in ecology. She enjoys hiking, playing board games, cross-stitching, watching sci-fi shows, and petting animals. Send her an email if you have any suggestions for the Inclusive Ecology section or would like to be involved in our section!
  Aramati Casper is an ecologist whose research interests encompass ecology education and forest ecology. She is currently a biology education post-doctoral fellow at Washington State University, where her research focuses on helping undergraduate students develop scientific argumentation. At a larger scope, her education research interests are informed by systems thinking, and include ecological literacy, conceptual change, problem- and project-based learning. In ecology, she is interested in developing methods to help increase forest resilience within our changing climate, and her work includes citizen science collaborations. She is the vice-chair of the Inclusive Ecology section of the Ecological Society of America, and she has a strong commitment to developing practical ways to create equity in and out of the classroom. When not focused on research, Aramati also runs, hikes, teaches yoga, knits, gardens, and generally tries to find ways to spend time around trees and other plants.
A life-long treehugger, Sam Davis earned a Ph.D. in Environmental Science in 2015 at Wright State University and completed a postdoc at University of California Merced before leaving academia for greener forests. Sam is thrilled to be translating science into action with Dogwood Alliance. On the weekends, Sam enjoys hiking, home improvement, and gaming with friends and family.
Tiffany Carey currently serves as Science Education and Outreach Coordinator in University of Michigan’s Applied Wildlife Ecology (AWE) lab. She joined the ESA community in 2011 and has served on the Advisory Board for the Inclusive Ecology Section since 2016.  Given her combined passion for community organizing and urban ecology, she plans to pursue a dual Masters degree in Natural Resource Management and Urban Planning.
Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie is a David H. Smith postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute. She received an MS from the University of Vermont and a PhD from Boston University while partnering with the Appalachian Mountain Club and Acadia National Park respectively. She studies the paleoecology and historical ecology of alpine and subalpine plant communities in New England; her research supports conservation efforts by integrating across management scales and bridging stakeholder groups at federal, state, and local levels.
I teach chemistry at Madison Area Technical College, research the chemical ecology of plant-herbivore-environment interactions at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and am a former chair of the Inclusive Ecology section. I am broadly interested in complementary teaching/research/outreach initiatives that foster science literacy, advocate awareness of environmental issues, and empower citizens through engagement in the scientific process.


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