Monday, August 6, 2012: 4:30 PM-6:30 PM
Exhibit Hall, Oregon Convention Center
Sally L. White, Morrison, CO
When ecologists set out to explore the history of their discipline, they head into a different “field,” where they are challenged to learn new tools. As we explore the history of subdisciplines such as wildlife management and vegetation classification and a few of the people who made significant contributions to early 20th-century ecology and ESA, we’ll be demonstrating the variety of tools available to ecologists who want to pursue facets of our discipline’s history. Among these are archival research, personal interviews, and the vital skill of finding that one stone that should not be left unturned--as it might overturn our whole understanding.
We use case studies to show the benefits of historical research into the background of ecology and the unexpected discoveries that sometimes await. Treasures appear in unlikely places. Who would guess that the origins of ESA lie in a letter between two young colleagues beginning their careers at separate institutions, or that original ESA documents could be found among personal papers scattered around the world? What motivates American ecologists? What was the composition of ESA’s founding cohort and what backgrounds and expectations did they bring to the new organization? What challenges did three generations of women face in ecology and how did they shape their careers? How has our approach to wildlife management, vegetation classification, and restoration ecology changed during the past century? What does the human influence on historic migration patterns mean for wildlife species conservation?
How do we weave such disparate threads into an integrated understanding of the discipline and its challenges today? This session aims to reveal some of the ways history informs current practice and future directions through the use of case studies from a spectrum of ecological research.