Impact on the Ecological Society of America
The Ecological Society of America has benefited from Bill Robertson and the Mellon Foundation’s vision to diversify the scientific workforce and to support the dissemination and preservation of scholarly materials. ESA’s award winning SEEDS diversity program was launched with the support of the Foundation and has grown in its scope and effectiveness over the more than 18 years since its inception. This program has nurtured over 600 undergraduate students interested in careers in ecology. As the SEEDS program gained attention and garnered awards, ESA was able to enhance this program and add additional educational activities to its portfolio. In addition, the Foundation asked ESA to lead an effort to encourage other ecological and biological societies to contribute journal backfiles to JSTOR (journal storage project). As a result of this program, ESA was able to move its own journals to an online platform and to digitize all of its backfiles for archiving in JSTOR. The development of ESA’s top ranked journal, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, also would not have happened without Bill Robertson and the Mellon Foundation. Their support enabled the planning and launch of the new journal by providing money to establish a publication fund and by helping the Society raise additional funds. This base of support allowed ESA to fulfill its desire for a journal designed to reach new audiences and sustained Frontiers as it evolved into an innovative and highly ranked publication.