Wednesday, August 6, 2008

PS 47-128: The explosive nature of SEEDS campus ecology chapters

Erin Vinson and Melissa Armstrong. Ecological Society of America

Background/Question/Methods SEEDS, the diversity initiative of ESA, aspires to ensure that the ecology profession is representative of the diversity of society in order to be a science that is strong and relevant to all.  The SEEDS program has been in existence since 1996.  During that time, almost 1,200 undergraduate students and over 300 ESA members have been involved in the program.  An important component of the success of SEEDS is the campus ecology chapters.  This poster will demonstrate the growth SEEDS chapters have experienced with regard to distribution, activities, SEEDS grants, and chapter students’ involvement in SEEDS events.  SEEDS’ institution demographics will also be presented.
Results/Conclusions One measure of the program’s impact is the growth of its campus ecology chapters.  Chapter membership in 2003 included 18 chapters found only within the continental United States.  By 2008, chapter membership expanded to 43 chapters found not only within the continental United States, but also Hawaii, American Samoa, and Puerto Rico.  Each of the 43 chapters is unique, implementing the SEEDS mission with different activities.  Chapter activities of all institutions in 2007 fall into one of the following eight categories: chapter recruitment/invigoration, community outreach, education, career development, field trips, research, and professional conferences/meetings.  Many of the chapters have gone beyond their everyday campus activities by applying for one or both types of SEEDS grants.  Special project grants, up to $5000 each, increased from a total dispersal of more than $17,000 in 2003 to almost $38,000 in 2006.  January 2008 saw the greatest number of special project grant proposals ever submitted during one submission period.  Projects funded during 2007 fall into one of the following seven categories: campus beautification, curriculum development, community outreach, education, faculty development, research, and student/career development.  Ecology campus chapters play a vital role in ecology education. They provide an opportunity for experiences that the textbook, lecture, and even laboratory cannot match, making them a critical element in the success of the SEEDS program.