ESA Policy Training Workshops
ESA policy staff offer training workshops designed to help ecological scientists engage more effectively with policy makers. Featuring hands-on exercises, the workshops include overviews of the workings of Congress, tips on timing and developing a coherent message, and mock congressional meetings. The Society’s Annual Meeting often includes workshops featuring speaker discussions on engaging policymakers as well as interactive exercises giving participants a taste for collaborations with stakeholders with multiple perspectives on an environmental issue.
ESA Southeastern Chapter Communicating Science Workshop (February 2020)
Participants from across the southeastern US practiced their messaging and engagement skills in a day-long Communicating Science Workshop at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. The workshop was co-hosted by ESA’s Public Affairs Office, the ESA Southeastern Member Chapter, and the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS). Around 30 people including ESA members and students attended.
After icebreakers and introductions, participants spent the morning learning the basics of science communication and how to craft a meaningful, memorable message for varying audiences. After a lunch break on a beautiful, abnormally warm winter day, the workshop continued by touching on how to communicate with the media before diving into policy and government engagement. The workshop was wrapped up with small group work and practice on meeting policy makers and tailoring messages.
ESA Southwestern Chapter Communicating Science Workshop (June 2019)
The ESA Communicating Science workshop is designed to address the needs of ecologists to communicate scientific information in a variety of public and professional interactions. This workshop will build participants confidence and skill set for public engagement with media, Congress, and other audiences. It also provides a professional development opportunity to develop broader impact skills.
How to Participate in Public Policy and Communicate with Congress (New Orleans 2018)
The Public Affairs Office and ESA’s Policy Section offered this workshop during the 2018 Annual Meeting. How the policy-making process works may seem overly complex leading to the myth that citizens are powerless in the face of special interests and partisan politics—but, nothing is farther from the truth. Participants learned the ins and outs of working with Congress. This hands-on session will provide participants with an overview of national-level opportunities to participate in public policy, from weighing in on congressional legislation to advocating for federal funding for research. An overview presentation was capped by mock congressional meetings to give workshop participants an opportunity to test their communication skills.
The Federal Register Notices: How to Engage in Policy and Decision Making at the Federal Level (New Orleans 2018)
The Public Affairs Office and ESA’s Policy Section offered this workshop during the 2018 Annual Meeting offering training on the ins and outs of how the federal register works, how to comment effectively on a federal rule, and how to identify advisory role opportunities for scientists. The federal register is the tool that the government uses to post opportunities to comment on federal rules and also to serve on federal advisory committees. Many scientists are uncertain on how to impact federal rules and regulations such as the Waters of the U.S. Rule and to weigh in on public comment periods like those for the reviews of our National Monuments and National Marine Sanctuaries. Scientific information and input can influence how regulations are written and implemented.
Communicating Science (Bowie State University 2017)
This workshop, funded by an award provided by Wiley Publications and distributed by the ESA Governing Board, provided ESA members with the basics of science communication and public engagement. Attendees learned about effective science communication in a variety of settings and developed skills for engaging with the media, Congress, and other audiences.
How to participate in public policy and communicate with Congress (Baltimore 2015)
ESA offered a policy training workshop during the Baltimore centennial meeting. The workshop provided participants an overview of national-level opportunities to participate in public policy, from weighing in on congressional legislation to providing input during public comment periods on federal regulations. An overview presentation was capped by mock congressional meetings that gave workshop participants an opportunity to test their communication skills.
Linking Science and Public Policy: Strategies to Engage in Policy Change and Communicate with Policy Makers (Sacramento 2014)
This workshop included an overview of multiple ways to get involved in policy- from working with local and state legislators in drafting policy to providing public comment on federal policies. Through discussion, role playing, and individual exercises, the workshop covered the challenges of translating scientific findings to policymakers and advocates, and offered suggested tools for improving communications skills. A legislative staffer with the California state general assembly also offered his perspective on policy engagement.
Participating in Public Policy (Minneapolis 2013)
ESA offered a policy training workshop during the Minneapolis annual meeting. The workshop provided participants with an overview of national-level opportunities to participate in public policy, including congressional legislation and federal regulations. Several mini-lectures were capped by mock congressional meetings to give workshop participants an opportunity to test their communication skills.
Reaching Beyond the Ecology Bubble: How the Ecological Society of America Can Help You Connect with Other Important Groups, From Policymakers to Community Leaders (Portland 2012)
This interactive session emphasized communicating ecological information that resonates with decision makers and other important groups, using tips outlined in the ESA publication “An Ecologist’s Guidebook to Policy Engagement.” The session featured speakers experienced in working with policy, media, and other entities outside the ecological community.
Introducing ESA’s Guidebook on Effective Communication and Policy Engagement (Austin 2011)
This session at the Austin Annual Meeting featured several speakers with experience in policy and science communication. It showcased key elements covered in the recently released ESA policy and communication guidebook, including opportunities to: engage in policy at local, state, and federal levels; provide timely input to environmental laws; interact with federal agencies; and effectively communicate in meetings, written correspondence, and in the media. After the presentations, participants were invited to “speed date” by rotating from table to table and interacting with speakers and other experts to gain additional insights on interacting with decision makers, resource managers, and members of the press.
Step Up, Speak Up: Policy Training Workshop (Montreal 2005)
ESA teamed up with the American Society for Oceanography and Limnology to offer a Policy Training Workshop during the Montreal Annual Meeting. The workshop was designed to equip biological scientists with tools to participate in public policy. Scientists were coached in methods to influence policy, concluding with simulated congressional visits.
Public Policy Workshop at UMD (Solomons Island, MD 2005)
ESA and the American Society for Oceanography and Limnology offered a policy training workshop at the University of Maryland ‘s Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in January of 2005. About 25 students and faculty participated in the workshop which featured short presentations on the policy process, followed by break-out group activities. Mock visits with congressional offices allowed participants to practice meeting with policymakers and to effectively hone their message of the importance of environmental research.
Policy Training Workshop (OBFS/ ESA /AIBS Appledore Island, ME 2004)
About 23 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations participated in a training session for field stations staff who wanted to learn some important features of making their cases to elected officials. The day-long course was offered by ESA and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.