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Policy Section Business Meeting: August 10, 2015

2Attendance: Emily Cloyd (chair), Sarah Anderson, Sarah Close, Cliff Duke, Daniel Evans, Terence Houston, Mari-Vaughn Johnson, Melissa Kenney, Kathy Lambert, Andrea Maguire, Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie, Duncan McKinley, Alison Mize, Ariana Sutton-Grier

Officer Elections

All of the section officers are up for election! We are looking for a Chair, Chair-Elect, and Secretary. The Chair is a one year term (Fall 2015 – Summer 2016), the Chair-Elect is a two year term (Chair-Elect Fall 2015-Summer 2016, Chair Fall 2016-Summer 2017), and the Secretary is a one year term (Fall 2015-Summer 2016). A full description of officer duties can be found in our section bylaws. If you would like to talk more about the duties of any of these officers, please contact Emily Cloyd (ecloyd@nullusgcrp.gov, 202.419.3484).

These positions and the section as a whole are really what the individuals and officers make of it. The Policy Section is still fairly new and is growing rapidly (we’ve doubled our membership in the last year!), and a complete set of officers plus additional volunteers to work on particular projects is essential to the section’s vitality. Officers work with section members and with ecologists from across the Society on policy-related activities throughout the year. Serving as a section officer is a great way to get more involved in the section, and all section members are eligible to run for a position, regardless of career stage or length of previous section membership.

Nominations for each of the three positions are open through Thursday, September 10. To nominate another individual, send an email to Emily Cloyd (ecloyd@nullusgcrp.gov) with the person’s name, contact information, and position for which s/he is being nominated. Candidates will be asked to accept the nomination and provide a short (~ 1-2 paragraph) statement providing the candidate’s background and reasons s/he desires to run for the position. Individuals may also self-nominate using our member survey.

Online Engagement: Website, Social Media, and More

We now have a website (www.esa.org/policy)! The website provides a place to share more information about our section, including cataloging past and future annual meeting sessions and other events. If you’ve organized a policy-related event at an ESA Annual Meeting or at another time, please take a moment to review our list and make sure your activities are listed (we can also add information, photos, links, etc. associated with the activities). Following this year’s Annual Meeting, we’ll update the page with a synopsis and photos from the field trip to Washington, DC.

We also have a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ESApolicy). This page provides a place to provide updates about section activities, alert members to policy-related opportunities within ESA, and post stories about the ecology-policy interface. If you are on Facebook, please like the page. Your contributions and suggestions of content for the page are appreciated!

ESA staff wanted to make sure that we’re aware of opportunities to contribute to conversations about ecology and policy within the Society. These opportunities include contributing a blog post to Ecotone (the ESA blog) and creating a webinar focusing on ecology and policy. We could organize one or more webinars based on the panels created for the DC field trip (legislative branch, education and outreach, and executive branch).

Volunteer opportunities. Fill out our member survey for more information and to volunteer for the following:

Mentorship and Connections across Section

In an effort to promote connections within the section, especially for members who aren’t able to attend the annual business meeting, we’re launching a cross-section mentorship program. The program is open to ALL section members and will match participants in small groups comprising student, early career, and mid+ career members. The specifics of the mentoring group relationship will be up to the members of individual groups, although we’ll provide some starter activities to get the groups rolling.

In addition, we’d like to make sure that Policy Section members who are living / working in the same geographic region can find each other. Regardless of whether you’d like to participate in the mentorship effort, we can help you connect with other section members in your area.

Get connected! You can sign up for the mentorship program and let us know that you’d like to connect with other members in your area by filling out our member survey.

Policy Section Awards

One way that we can recognize the work of ecologists working at the science / policy interface is through awards. Many sections offer awards for student travel or best student poster / talk. During the meeting, attendees suggested additional awards, including awards focusing on the work of early career ecologists and on impact (through publications or other work) by an ecologist. Although we currently have some money in our budget that we could use for one or more awards, we may want to consider partnering with one or more other sections (e.g., Science Communication, Early Career) so that we can offer a larger or more widely-competed award. A few section members (Kathy Lambert, Ariana Sutton-Grier, and Sarah Close) have already volunteered to serve on a committee to scope awards, and more people are welcome.

Help us shape awards! Fill out our member survey to let us know what award(s) you’d like to see the Policy Section offer and to volunteer to help with other award-related activities.

Publishing in Ecosphere

Ecosphere may have some opportunities to add people with policy expertise to their Editorial Board. If this is something that you are interested in, please contact Editor-in-Chief Deb Peters (debpeter@nullnmsu.edu). Please also contact Deb if you would like more information about how to serve as a reviewer for the journal.

Ecosphere is an open-access, broadly-scoped journal and welcomes submissions from across ecology. Deb asked that Policy Section members consider publishing in Ecosphere when thinking about places to publish on ecology and policy.

Preparing for ESA 2016

ESA has already published some calls for sessions for the 2016 meeting and the deadlines are fast approaching. Proposals for Symposia, Organized Oral Sessions, and Organized Poster Sessions are due September 17. Proposals for Ignite Sessions, Workshops, Special Sessions, and Field Trips will be due November 19 (check here for the call in late September 2015).

We discussed a number of possible session topics during the meeting:

  • National-level policy engagement
  • State and local level policy engagement
  • Centennial of National Parks Service
  • Everglades restoration
  • Invasive species (ESA is a part of the National Invasive Special Coalition)
  • Sea level rise

Organize a session! If you are interested in organizing a session, please do! If you’d like help connecting to potential collaborators, fill out our member survey. You can also let us know about your interest in helping to organize other Policy Section events at next year’s meeting (e.g., staffing the section’s booth, mentoring students, organizing the section’s mixer).