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Annual Meeting

ESA 2020 – Virtual Meeting

The Natural History Section is sponsoring and organizing several activities at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America, August 3-6.  We hope you will join us for any or all of these opportunities to connect with other Section members and the broader ESA community.

Inspire Session

Natural History: The Passionate Heart of Ecology

Natural history provides the essential empirical foundation and passion for ecological science. Moreover, natural history provides the basis for effective conservation, and, as is increasingly clear, necessary grounding for healthy human individuals and cultures. Because humans evolved to practice natural history–to pay careful attention to the world in which we live–we remain predisposed toward natural history engagement. Thus, the wonder and mystery sparked by natural history provide inherent portals for people of all backgrounds to connect with the science of Ecology.


Pre-recorded and available online 24/7 throughout the week, with ongoing written Q & A.


Thomas Lowe Fleischner, Natural History Instiute: Natural History: The Practice of Falling in Love With the World

Mary E. Power, University of California, Berkeley: Living with Catfish

Cristina Eisenberg, Oregon State University: Natural History: Beneath the Guard Hairs of an Ecologist

Iza Schwartz, HawkWatch International: Unveiling Connections

Judith Santano, Stanford University: Finding Myself in Unexpected Places

Ann Marie Gawel, Iowa State University: Charismatic Microfauna and Big, Bad Megafauna — Ecology of Invaded Island Systems

Jorge Ramos, Stanford University: ¿Y Tu de Donde Eres? Applying and Learning Natural History Through Time

Louise Weber, University of St. Francis: Ecology for a New Generation: An Ecology Course that Teaches Students to be More Whole

Sam Sharpe, Kansas State University: Other, Neither, Both

Special Session

Story and the Ecological Imagination

One of the most fundamental human commonalities is a need for, and response to, story.  Stories connect us – to one another and to place.  They provoke feelings in us, and prompt us to action.  As the foundation of ecology, natural history – historia naturalis, literally, the story of nature – is rich with stories that can captivate a wide variety of audiences with ecological themes.  Writers will share excerpts from their work, and, with the audience, will reflect on how to tell compelling ecological stories. This is a special session hosted by the Natural History Institute and the King’s English Bookshop. ESA registration is not required for this event.


Tuesday, 4 August, 5:00 pm MDT



Julia Corbett; Thomas Lowe Fleischner; Susan M. Gaines; Cylita Guy; J. Drew Lanham; Nalini Nadkarni; Richard Nevle; Stephen Trimble

Natural History Section Mixer

Come meet other members, and we will announce the results of officer elections!


Thursday, 6 August, 2:00 pm MDT

National Biodiversity Championship Competition

Last year in Louisville, the Natural History Section organized the first National Biodiversity Championship, in which teams of Annual Meeting attendees and people in the local community competed to document the most species in the areas of Kentucky and Indiana near the meeting site. The goal of the NDC was to link attendees to the biogeographical areas and local community. We planned a similar event for Salt Lake City — but a completely virtual meeting makes this a unique opportunity to create transacademic, intergenerational community through natural history, biodiversity science and the Ecological Society of America.

We invite all attendees of the 2020 Annual Meeting, as well as their colleagues, students and others who are not attending, to participate in four days of science, education and community. 

For more information, check out the International Biodiversity Championship page.