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ESA Policy Section Business Meeting: August 11, 2014

Key Dates:

  • September 8: Nominations for Policy Section Officers
  • September 25: Proposals for Symposia, Organized Oral Sessions, and Organized Poster Sessions
  • September 30: Proposals for ESA Centennial Grants
  • Early November (estimated): Proposals for Long-Range Planning Grants
  • November 20: Proposals for Ignites, Workshops, Special Sessions, and Field Trips

Attendance. Rebecca Aicher, Sarah Anderson, Kristen Averyt, Tess Carter, Emily Cloyd, Cliff Duke, Alexis Erwin, Melissa Kenney, Andrea Maguire, Julie Maldonado, Omar Malik, Barbara Martinez, Alison Mize, Richard Pouyat, Phyllis Pouyat-Thibodeau, Julian Reyes, Paul Ringold. [May be missing one or two others.]

Elections. We have three offices defined in our bylaws that we’ll hold elections for this fall: (1) Chair, (2) Chair-Elect (expected to take over as Chair at August 2015 ESA Meeting), and (3) Secretary. Please see the attached bylaws for a description of duties for each of the positions. If you would like to learn more about any of these positions before deciding whether to run, please contact any of the officers (Chair Emily Therese Cloyd,; Secretary Emilie Stander,; Past Chair Richard Pouyat, To nominate yourself for one of the leadership positions, please send an email to the current officers ( and with the following information, no later than Monday, September 8, 2014:

  1. Your name
  2. Position for which the person is being nominated
  3. A short statement including your background and why you would like to serve in the position

ESA Annual Meeting 2015. The call for sessions is now open for the Baltimore meeting ( – ESA’s Centennial Meeting! Proposals for Symposia, Organized Oral Sessions, and Organized Poster Sessions are due September 25. Proposals for Ignites, Workshops, Special Sessions, and Field Trips are due November 20. We would like to continue the Policy Section’s strong record of organizing policy-relevant sessions at ESA Annual Meetings. During the business meeting, we brainstormed several ideas for sessions. If you are interested in helping to plan any of the following, please contact Emily ( and she’ll put folks in touch with each other.

  • Symposium or Organized oral session, possibly in cooperation with Public Affairs and Science Communication Section: Ecology in the world
  • Workshop or Field trip: How do Congressional and other decision makers get science information? Possible speakers include Congressional staffers, executive branch staff (e.g., USAID on international resilience and adaptation), judicial branch staffers [note: any session in this vein will need to be structured in coordination with Public Affairs]

ESA Grants. ESA will have two grants for chapters and sections available this year: Centennial Grants and Long-Range Planning Grants.

The Centennial Grants will be provided to support activities that recognize and celebrate ESA’s centennial, either at the 2015 Annual Meeting or at another time during 2015. A total of $20,000 will be made available in the form of grants of up to $2,500 ($10,000 is available for proposals from the Student Section, and $10,000 for proposals from other sections, chapters, and committees). Proposals will be evaluated for relevance to the Centennial, feasibility, and contributions to breadth and impact of the overall suite of Centennial activities. Proposals are due by September 30. If you have ideas for activities that the Policy Section might propose (individually or in coordination with other Chapters and Sections) or if you’re willing to help write the proposal, please contact Emily ( As some fodder, the Centennial Committee provided the following list of activities and events that are already under development for next year:

  • A 5-minute video on ESA (contracted by ESA)
  • A historical timeline of ESA Presidents for website and Centennial meeting display (ESA’s Past Presidents, Historical Records Committee, and ESA History Section)
  • Special articles in each of the ESA journals, which also will be bundled as a virtual special issue available via the ESA website (Journal Editors and ESA Publication Office)
  • A yearly series of invited EcoTone blog posts covering ecological topics from each decade since ESA’s founding in 1915 (ESA Public Affairs Office)
  • A Climate Communication workshop to be held early in 2015 in the Washington DC area (ESA Public Affairs Office)
  • A Virtual Word Cloud to be displayed at the 2015 Annual Meeting, communicating big questions for Ecology in the next 100 years (ESA Public Affairs Office)
  • Facebook postings throughout the year (ESA Public Affairs Office)
  • Centennial Twitter account to communicate ESA work and history throughout the year and including a 100 Days, 100 Tweets campaign preceding the Annual Meeting (ESA Public Affairs Office)
  • Workshop on the future of ecology (ESA Science Office)

Information about Long Range Planning Grants for the coming year has not yet been announced, but should be available soon, and applications will likely be due in early November. Sections, Chapters and Standing Committees are eligible to apply for funds which are to be used for projects that move the Society towards long range planning goals. Only one application from a Section, Chapter or Standing Committee is permitted. More information is available at If you have ideas for what our section might propose, or if you are interested in helping write the application, please contact Emily (

Format of Abstracts for Annual Meeting. The current format for abstracts submitted to the Annual Meeting is very prescriptive and relies heavily on providing specific results. However, some section members have noted that review and synthesis studies, which are often very useful for policy discussions, may not have the same type of specific results that arise from field and laboratory studies. When abstract authors have been asked to provide additional details or revise their abstracts prior to final acceptance, the Annual Meeting Program Committee has not always been prompt in responding to these changes. If you’ve had this issue and could help craft a short statement that the Policy Section could submit to the Annual Meeting Program Committee to explain the issue, please contact Emily (

Other Items for Section Consideration. A few additional items that we did not have a chance to discuss during the Business Meeting, but which the Chair would like to highlight. If you are interested in helping with or have thoughts about any of the following, please contact Emily (

  • Section membership: Please remember to check the box for the Policy Section when you renew your ESA membership – and remind your colleagues to do the same! Every ESA member will be asked to join at least one Section / Chapter when they renew for 2015 (first Section / Chapter included in dues, additional Sections / Chapters are only $5 each).
  • Website and social media: ESA provides each Section and Chapter with space for a website, built on WordPress; we’re hoping to get our site up and running soon. The website could also be a place where we could put the database of ESA members with policy experience (once we develop it!). We also have a Facebook page (; please like the page and post to it.
  • Policy Section Logo: Should our section have a logo? Do you have an idea for a logo?
  • Awards: Many sections provide awards for travel, best student paper, best student poster, etc. Should we offer awards?
  • Fundraising: If we are to offer awards or sponsor other Section activities through the year, we’ll need the funds to carry out our ideas. Other sections have silent auctions, sell t-shirts, etc. Any ideas for fundraising ideas for our section?
  • Events during the year: The Business Meeting, Mixer, and policy-related sessions are fun when we’re at the Annual Meeting, but we’d like to have year-round engagement. What could the Policy Section be doing during the year to better serve its members?
  • History of the section: The ESA Historical Records Committee is collecting a lot of information about ESA’s first 100 years ( and has asked each Section / Chapter to write a short history themselves. We’ve only been around as an official Section since 2011, so that should make it pretty easy to cover most of our activities. If you helped organize Section events at the Annual Meeting in 2011, 2012, 2013, or 2014, please send Emily a quick note with the relevant information.
  • Thank you to Paul Ringold and Emily Cloyd for serving as mentors for students during the Annual Meeting.