Monday, August 6, 2012: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
A106, Oregon Convention Center
Juliana C. Mulroy, Denison University
Dennis H. Knight, University of Wyoming
As we prepare for a celebration of ESA's first 100 years, many ecologists continue to be deeply immersed in the history of different aspects of our discipline(s), in the history of our units of study, and in re-examining the relationship between our personal and professional lives. ESA’s organizational structures, publications, and meeting programs seem to reflect a flood of new approaches and assimilation of “outside” advances and concerns, but historical perspectives indicate that much of what seems so new may only be a re-emergence or independent development of much earlier ideas and concerns. Our session is designed to encourage more ecologists to explore the relationship of history to their own personal and professional goals and to the direction of the Society.
We begin before “self-conscious ecology” with new insights about the relationship between early biogeography and the development of ecosystem ecology with Alexander von Humboldt, the first scientific “planetary thinker.” G. Evelyn Hutchinson’s knowledge of natural history was inextricably linked to his leading role in the development of ecosystem and theoretical ecology; not only his research but also his quiet environmentalism and mentoring of students helped shape our discipline. Two presentations focus on the influence of Aldo Leopold and others on the evolution of thinking and practice in wildlife management and conservation, including in Oregon and Missouri. We are fortunate to have a local speaker with over 50 years experience in conservation and its history in the Oregon Country. A remarkable collaboration of diverse individuals and institutions in Missouri 1930-1960 provides a model worth emulating, and worth understanding why it fell apart. More recent histories include examples from restoration ecology, sustainability, and creative use of private-academic-public partnerships to achieve land management, conservation, and research goals. All of these presentations will serve as a “common text” for our Closing Panel.
A recent survey of ESA members provides a “snapshot” of what respondents consider as personal and professional traits of “a good ecologist." Preliminary survey results will serve as a springboard for our final discussion. Speakers reflect on these traits with a longitudinal perspective, informed by their knowledge of diverse individuals and groups over time. We will explore these and other questions of continuing relevance to ecological disciplines and to ESA itself, concluding with thoughts on how we can best use this knowledge to inform our individual and collective directions.