Ecological Society of America

Student Events


Daily 7:00 AM -10:00 PM
Blossom Hill I, San Jose Marriott
Student Lounge


Sunday, August 5, 2007 : 8:00 AM -5:00 PM
A4&5 (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
WK 7 - Communicating Science to the Public: The Where, Why, and How of Engaging Non-Scientists

Nearly everyone agrees that scientists have a responsibility to communicate their research findings to the public, especially if that research is funded by government agencies or has public policy or human health implications. Few would disagree that ecologists should also have an interest in raising general ecological awareness and interest. As researchers, we can play a critical role in facilitating public understanding of ecological issues and in increasing scientific literacy in our own communities and beyond. However, we can only do these things if we know how to identify avenues of communication and how to effectively engage our audiences. Unfortunately, instruction in how to communicate science to non-scientists is not part of most graduate programs. This one-day workshop will introduce the skills necessary for successfully communicating science to the public and how to identify avenues of communication, both traditional and non-traditional. We will discuss how to communicate with a variety of groups, including local organizations and school groups, print and broadcast media, and policy makers. We will also discuss other outlets for getting your message across, including websites, books, and non-scientific magazines. While this workshop will stand alone as an introduction to communicating science to the public, it is intended to compliment other communication workshops organized by the Aldo Leopold Leadership Program and the ESA Public Affairs Office that are being offered later in the week. A full description of this workshop, including speakers' names and topics to be covered can be found at

Organizer: Elizabeth M. Harp, Colorado State University
Co-organizers: Jessica Brown, SeaWeb/COMPASS
Nadine Lymn , Ecological Society of America

Monday, August 6, 2007 : 6:30 PM -10:00 PM
Almaden Blrm II (San Jose Hilton)
SS 16 - What Editors Want: Advice for Submitting Your Manuscript

Have you ever wondered what editors look for when combing through droves of manuscript submissions? Just how do you get your manuscript to the top of the pile? In this session participants will learn what editors from a variety of ecological journals look for when deciding which articles to consider for publication. Editors will describe themselves and their journals, outline the review process, and discuss strengths and common mistakes in submitted manuscripts. Speakers will also discuss current publishing trends. A question and answer session will follow the presentations, and the presentations will be kept short (5-10 minutes each) to allow plenty of time for lively discussion. More information about the session can be found at www. esa .org/students. This session is aimed at students, post-docs, and early-career ecologists, but attendance is open to all. Refreshments will be served, and beer and wine will be available for purchase.

Organizer: Sigrid D.P. Smith, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Co-organizers: Abraham Miller-Rushing, Boston Univ., Liz Ferguson, Blackwell Publishing Ltd

Speakers: Liz Ferguson, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, Rob Freckleton, Journal of Applied Ecology, Richard Hobbs, Restoration Ecology, Sue Silver, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment ( ESA ), Michael Whitlock, American Naturalist, Laura Zahn, Science

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
Blossom Hill I, San Jose Marriott
ESA Student Section Pizza Lunch and Business Meeting

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 : 8:00 PM -10:00 PM
A4&5 (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
SS 20 - How To Succeed In Ecology: Advice from Professionals

Ecology is a broad field with many opportunities; however, the path to success is often unclear. In this session, successful ecologists representing a diversity of career types will discuss specific strategies for success in ecology. Invited guests will offer practical advice on careers at research universities, liberal arts colleges, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and K-12 institutions. After a brief introduction to the session, rotating small groups will discuss various general topics, including: networking effectively, acquiring funding, interviewing and negotiating, publishing productively, and balancing different professional responsibilities. The small groups will provide an intimate and informal format for attendees to interact with professional ecologists. There will also be an opportunity for attendees and experts to discuss topics of special interest, such as conservation and restoration, ecology education and outreach, finding positions for married/partnered pairs, and science policy. This session should appeal to all ecologists, especially students and postdocs, whom we expect to motivate the discussions. Confirmed guests include: Lynne Trulio, Michael Mappin, Charles Nilon, Michael Vanni, and Maria Gonzalez.

Organizer: Jennifer Riem, Ecological Society of America
Co-organizer: Vishwesha Guttal, The Ohio State University

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
N (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
WK 23 - Integrating Educational Outreach Into Academic Research

As ecologists we often feel the need to share our knowledge and love of ecology with the non-science community. Working with the community has benefits for both scientists and the community: research knowledge is disseminated to the public; the community understands why research is necessary, important, and beneficial; researchers can gain help with data collection; and students learn about ecology and the scientific method. However, researchers may find it challenging to get involved with students and community groups beyond merely presenting their research. Additionally, working with students and volunteers requires unique communication and coordination skills. This workshop is designed to assist graduate students and early-career scientists in incorporating outreach activities into their research. We will begin with several short presentations on the personal experiences of professors, graduate students, and outreach program coordinators in performing educational outreach and integrating volunteers into academic research. Some questions that we will discuss include: How do you initiate a project incorporating educational outreach? What are your goals and how do you know if you have met them? How can you interact besides just giving presentations? How do you find the right balance between educating and receiving help from the community? What kind of funding is available to support outreach? Presentations will be followed by coordinator-led small group discussions and mock outreach activities to help participants develop ways to integrate outreach into their own research.

Organizer: Rachel Schwartz, University of California, Davis
Co-organizer:Vikki Rodgers, Boston University

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
Guadalupe (San Jose Marriot)
WK 24 - Writing a 'Teaching Philosophy' Statement: Models and Suggestions

Although graduate students and recent PhDs applying for university or college jobs must submit a statement of “teaching philosophy” many don't know what to say or describe. In this workshop we will look at several statements written by ecology graduate students and at feedback from experienced faculty to develop criteria for a well-written statement of teaching philosophy. Our discussion will include different learning styles, teaching approaches, and the meanings of terms such as "inquiry," "student-active," and "evaluation." We will draw from our experiences on search/hiring and tenure committees at three different types of institutions--a large public research university, a medium-sized public primarily undergraduate university, and a small private college. We will answer questions you may have about teaching in these settings.

Organizer: Charlene D'Avanzo, Hampshire College
Co-organizer: John C. Moore, Colorado State University

Thursday, August 9, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
B1&2 (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
WK 26 - Climate Change Mitigation with an Emphasis on the Development of the Forestry Clean Development Mechanism

Climate change is a reality and there is scientific proof to support this statement(UNFCCC 2003). As a political response to this problem, a protocol was created as part of the Kyoto Protocol to achieve the last objective of the United Nations Marco Convention on Climate Change--stabilizing the greenhouse gas emmissions (GGE) at a level that is not dangerous for the environment. The protocol helps industrialized countries meet their obligations to reduce the 1992 average GGE levels by 5.2% and allows the countries that do not reduce their emissions to use one of three flexibility mechanisms. One of these is the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). This mechanism offers industrial countries the opportunity to pay energy and forestry projects carbon bonds or credits in exchange for emission permissions for the industrialized countries. Projects under the forestry CDM have a complex structure, with one of the principal problems being that it is difficult to demonstrate project additionality and land eligibility (Kyoto lands). These topics are discussed in the session by presenting examples of current projects for energy and forest project ideas, as well as valid projects at the Latin American level. One such project, the Forma Project, is part of the Global Change Department at the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) and is one of the projects carried out under the climate change mitigation topic. The Forma Project provides technical assistance for developing methodology, financial support, development of design tools which are appropriate for forestry projects and bio-energy and guides about key topics for developing the projects, and systemization of lessons learned. This session will provide examples of institutions responsible for facilitating support for developing forestry/reforestation projects and bio-energy under the Kyoto Protocal's Clean Development Mechanism.

Organizer: Raquel Argüello, CATIE, CR

Thursday, August 9, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
B3&4 (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
WK 27 - Show Me the Money: How to Write Successful Grant Proposals

Grant writing skills are essential to a successful scientific research career. Today, the increasing competition for grant funding has turned grantsmanship into both an art and a science. The purpose of this workshop is to provide information for students and postdocs on the processes and strategies of applying for research awards in ecological sciences. Participants will be able to communicate directly with a panel of representatives and reviewers from different scientific funding agencies and foundations about the opportunities and challenges of writing competitive grant proposals. Members of the panel will discuss the basics of how to choose the right funding agency, how to obtain and use proposal guidelines, and what to include as essential components of a grant proposal package. They will also cover the steps involved in preparing a grant proposal, including planning, researching data and resources, writing and submitting the proposal, and following up with a submission. The panelists will emphasize what reviewers look for in a grant proposal, what constitutes a good proposal, as well as what to avoid including in proposals (bad proposals). In addition, they will discuss how to develop working relationships with granting agencies and what to do if the proposal is rejected. By participating in this workshop, students will learn the fundamentals of the grant funding procedure and hopefully become motivated about the funding possibilities for their own research.

Organizer: Jenny Talbot, University of California Irvine
Co-organizer: George Wang, University of Louisiana at Lafayette


Sunday, August 5, 2007 : 8:30 AM -4:30 PM
Almaden Blrm I (San Jose Hilton)
WK 9 - Scientific Teaching and Interactive Learning: Strategies to Maximize Student Understanding in the Biological Sciences

We invite postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and early career faculty to participate in a workshop modeling scientific teaching, learning, and assessment in undergraduate science courses. We especially want to meet the needs of these future faculty and faculty early in their teaching careers. The workshop is based on current research about undergraduate science curriculum reform, how students learn, and how assessment improves student learning. We will focus on teaching in both large and small courses and address the hows and whys to 1) actively engage students in learning in classroom and laboratory environments; 2) use cooperative learning; 3) develop multiple kinds of assessments based on goals that provide substantive data about student learning; 4) analyze and use assessment data to improve instruction; 5) use technology-based tools to improve learning; and 6) use an assessment database. We also will address the realities of time (again and again), student course evaluations, faculty evaluations, and establishment of networks for intellectual and practical support in teaching. By the end of the workshop, participants should be ready to design their first course and implement these ideas on the first day of class. The fee includes lunch and snacks. For more information please contact: Diane Ebert-May, Michigan State University, 517-432-7171 ,

Organizer: Diane Ebert-May, Michigan State University
Co-organizer: Janet Batzli, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Sunday, August 5, 2007 : 12:30 PM -4:30 PM
Blrm Salon II (San Jose Marriot)
WK 13 - Developing a Strategic Plan For Grad School and Beyond

There is a need for graduate professional development that goes beyond research alone. For example, employers repeatedly request that students receive broader training and skill development than is typically obtained in a traditional masters or doctoral program. Desired skills, such as conflict management, negotiation, and listening cannot be readily learned from a textbook. Many of these "interpersonal" skills need to be learned by experience and benefit from practice. In addition, there is a wide range of competencies that future faculty and professionals will need. These core areas of competency include research, communication, collaboration, and administration/personnel management. However, determining what skills to learn and where to learn them can be a daunting task. In this workshop I offer a proposed "roadmap" and some benchmarks for graduate student professional and academic development. I outline several areas of skill development ("core competencies") that will serve future professionals as well as faculty in the natural sciences. Within each area we will discuss a developmental progression and approaches for gaining experience and skill. Workshop participants will learn some of the tools of advanced communication and collaboration, explore their personal interaction styles, complete a professional skills inventory, and develop a strategic plan for grad school and beyond. This is an active-learning workshop, so come prepared to participate! Students, postdocs, and faculty are all welcome.

Organizer: Teri C. Balser, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Speaker: Teri C. Balser, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Monday, August 6, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
C1&2, San Jose McEnery Convention Center
ESA Brown-Bag Lunch: SEEDS chapter highlights

This workshop will provide an opportunity for SEEDS Campus Ecology Chapters to share their accomplishments and for ESA members to learn more about the SEEDS program. Learn about SEEDS program components – field trips, undergraduate research fellowships, conference travel awards – with the highlight being presentations by the Chapters.

Monday, August 6, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
Blrm Salon IV, San Jose Marriott
ESA Undergraduate Student Orientation

All undergraduate students (including those who have just graduated this year) are invited to attend this event which includes a welcome from ESA Officers and Program Chair and information about the ESA , student events and awards, etc. This is a chance to get some hints about how to best use the meetings, and a great opportunity to meet peers from across the country and make new friends that you will likely see at future meetings. There will be refreshments.

Monday, August 6, 2007 : 6:30 PM -8:00 PM
Student Union/Blrm, San Jose State University
ESA Student Mixer

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 : 7:00 AM -8:00 AM
Blrm Salon IV, San Jose Marriott
ESA Graduate Student & Post Doc Bagels Roundtable with NEON leadership

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
K (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
WK 20 - How to Write a Scientific Publication

Publishing is an important part of the research process, but writing papers is not what attracted most of us to the field of ecology. Learning to write papers with minimal effort and maximum impact will help you for the rest of your career. To participate in this workshop, in addition to registering, you should complete a "Getting Started Exercise," which will form the basis of discussion and feedback in small groups. The exercise is available at We will also provide you with general advice on organizing your writing efforts and specific examples of the steps you will go through in preparing each section of your paper.

Organizer: Ruth D. Yanai, SUNY- ESF

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 : 11:30 AM -1:15 PM
B3&4, San Jose McEnery Convention Center
WK 20 - Introduction to TIEE (Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology): A peer-reviewed electronic publication designed to help ecology faculty teach better

Join a community of ecology educators committed to transforming teaching and learning of ecology. TIEE (Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology; is designed to help faculty do more active, inquiry-based teaching (e.g., students describe and analyze figures and tables, ask questions in lab, work with LTER data). TIEE is sponsored by ESA and supported by NSF. TIEE Issues (mainly for lecture) and Experiments are written by ecology faculty and peer reviewed. This workshop is an introduction to TIEE and the underlying pedagogy. By working with the site, participants will become familiar with TIEE materials and learn about student-active approaches appropriate for a range of institutions and classes plus formative (ongoing) evaluation and non-traditional tests. In addition, this workshop will describe new directions we are taking to promote scholarship of ecology education by publishing practitioner research in TIEE. We welcome graduate students, new faculty, and more experienced teachers looking for some new ideas. Bring a laptop computer if possible. Participants will be given the latest TIEE CD.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 : 8:00 PM -10:00 PM
A2&7 (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
SS 18 - How to Land and Keep a Job at a Small Liberal Arts College

Are you a graduate student or postdoc considering an academic career at a small college or university? Do you have a love for teaching and ecological research, but want to do both well? Many of us are trained to be productive researchers at primarily research institutions, but too often we leave graduate school having no idea how to get a job at a small college or university. If you would like to understand how small schools hire, how professors juggle research and teaching early in their career, or are just plain curious about the academic life at small colleges, this session is for you. Join us for a discussion led by professors at small institutions. A panel of college faculty will answer questions regarding the processes of grad school preparation, hiring of faculty, tenure application, and getting funds for faculty/student research. We will then have small “break-out” sessions where a few audience members team up with each faculty member so that you can get more in-depth answers to your queries. We will then reconstitute the entire group and discuss any major themes or concerns we have discovered.

Organizer: Andrew C. McCall, Denison University
Co-organizer: Richard Niesenbaum, Muhlenberg College

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 : 8:00 PM -10:00 PM
A2&7, San Jose McEnery Convention Center
SS 26 - Bridging the gap: Establishing outreach activities at ESA meetings

Each year, over 3,000 ecologists gather in a city to participate in ESA annual meetings, but there is little interaction among meeting participants and community members. Join us for a discussion about community outreach initiatives, where the gap between ESA ecologists, future ecologists, and local communities can be linked. One of ESA 's goals is to raise the public's awareness of the importance of ecological science. This special session will focus on the outreach field trip activity with San Jose's public high schools. The goal of this special session is to develop ideas to implement education and outreach activities in future ESA meetings. The special session will use the outreach field trip, an activity organized by SEEDS students with San Jose's public high schools, as an example on what the accomplishments can be on a local level. ESA members who attended the field trip are highly encouraged to attend, and we welcome anyone interested in closing the gap between ESA members and the communities hosting ESA meetings.

Organizer: Andrea Rivera, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Co-organizers: Colibri Barnhard, University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras, Christina Wong, Occidental College, Jorge Ramos, University of Texas El Paso, Melissa Armstrong, ESA

Speaker: Melissa Armstrong, ESA

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 : 8:00 PM -10:00 PM
C3&4 (San Jose McEnery Convention Center)
SS 29 - Do Scientists Sound Like a Flock of Dodos? Science Communication without Jargon

This special session focuses on science communication, as scientists struggle to be heard (and understood) by the public and the media in our global world. Debates about issues for which there is relative scientific consensus (e.g., evidence for global warming, evolution versus intelligent design) illustrate difficulties the general public (and often, policy makers) have in determining what "is" science, and whether evidence supporting different views is objective and unbiased. The session includes two parts: 1) a film screening (Randy Olson's “Flock of Dodos”, 84 minutes) that demonstrates the difficulty many scientists have in communicating "science" without jargon; followed by 2) an "experimental" panel session. The panel will include a multitude of voices, with well prepared one minute responses to the film, in other words, "Speed Responding." Panelists will be sent a DVD copy of the movie to view prior to the San Jose meeting, and given detailed directions to assist in the preparation of their statement. The panel will include a diversity of opinions, including representatives of communication, science, government (i.e. school boards), and religion. If you are interested in being a panelist, please contact Carolyn Lundquist ( by March 30, 2007 , and include 2-3 sentences (maximum) describing what "opinions" you represent so that we can select a diverse panel. The session will give a tremendous demonstration of the case in point: we, as ecologists, need to improve our ability to relate our science to the general public in order to influence policy, management, and general thinking about ecological issues and the natural world on which we depend.

Organizer: Carolyn J. Lundquist, National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd.
Co-organizer: Elise F. Granek, Portland State University
Speakers: Randy Olson, Filmmaker, "Flock of Dodos", Margaret Lowman, New College of Florida

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