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ESA Policy Section Business Meeting: August 6, 2013

Attendance: Emily Cloyd, Cliff Duke, Dan Evans, Ariana Sutton-Grier, Brian Wee

Although we had only a small group of people who were able to make it to the Policy Section meeting (it was at 7 am, after all), there was a lot of discussion then and with many more section members during other portions of the Annual Meeting. There are great things happening and plans for what the section might do in the future.

First, some successes from this year’s annual meeting – and by no means is this list exhaustive! On Sunday, Rich Pouyat & Deborah Goldberg led a workshop aimed at graduate students and early career ecologists illustrating diverse career pathways; several section members participated as panelists and as attendees. On Monday, Nadine Lymn led a workshop on revising ESA’s An Ecologist’s Guidebook to Policy Engagement; if you have comments or suggestions on the handbook or are interested in helping with the revision, please contact Nadine ( Also on Monday, Alexis Erwin, Emilie Stander, and Joanna Bernhardt organized a symposium on “The Ecology-Policy Interface: Perspectives on Student Engagement”. And Monday finished with a celebration of 30 years of ESA Public Affairs. Wednesday included two Ignite sessions focusing on policy – “Demystifying Science Communication, Policy, and Decision-making: Experiences of Scientist-practitioners”, organized by Mari-Vaughn Johnson and Faith Kearns, and “The Endangered Species Act Turns 40: Lessons Learned for Conservation of Threatened and Endangered Species in the United States”, organized by Dan Evans and Terence Houston.

During the section meeting and in some conversations afterward, we started to outline some potential activities for the Policy Section over the next year and at next year’s Annual Meeting. See below, and stay tuned for more on these activities!

Mixer (likely DC-based) for policy-minded folks in the DC area, organized in concert with AAAS, ESA, and others. For more information, email Rich Pouyat (

Webinar focusing on how to give public comment (and how to find out about when public comment is being accepted). For more information, email Alexis Erwin (

Liaison from the Student Section: The new liaison to the Policy Section from the Student Section is Caitlin MacKenzie. If you or your students are interested in learning more about how the Student Section works with the Policy Section, you can get in touch with Caitlin (

Web-based communications: The section can have some space on the ESA website – once we have elections, the Chair and Secretary can look into this further. Another idea discussed during the meeting was starting a LinkedIn group for section members.

Activities at next year’s Annual Meeting – During the meeting, several ideas for sessions were thrown into the ring. These include:

  • Workshop on diverse career pathways: This year’s workshop was such a success, we’re hoping to repeat it next year (with some improvements and new content, too!). Since Rich Pouyat led it this time around, we’re hoping he’ll be willing to do it again. Dan Evans and Ariana Sutton-Grier are also interested in helping to pull this together. Contact Rich ( if you are interested in learning more.
  • Special Session on opportunities in state and local policy for ecologists: Given that the next Annual Meeting is in a state capital (Sacramento), and many of our activities have seemed to focus at more of the national level, several members thought that having a session focusing on state and local-level policy opportunities would be a great topic. The format for this type of session is pretty open; some ideas include inviting folks who work at state & local levels to come talk about their careers / opportunities / challenges, building on a discussion during this year’s meeting about how to expand the policy handbook to include more information about engaging at state & local levels, or something else along those lines. Although several people thought something like this could be great, no one yet had stood up to take the lead. Proposals for Special Sessions aren’t due until December – so there is still time. If you are interested, let Emily Cloyd know (, and she’ll fill you in on some of the discussion from the meeting.
  • Symposium on science in policy in California – lessons for the US: Again, taking advantage of the location in California – this time, to learn from how California uses ecology to formulate, implement, and evaluate policies. Initiatives including the Marine Protected Areas network, Ocean Science Trust, Ocean Protection Council, CalAdapt, California Climate Assessment, and others provide an opportunity to engage with the question of ecology’s role in the policy process. Alexis Erwin ( has agreed to help think about this one, but we’re hoping that someone else might also be interested in helping organize. If you are, please let Emily Cloyd ( know! Proposals are due September 12, so we need to get rolling.