AIBS Welcomes Three New Member Societies
In April 2005 the AIBS Board of Directors welcomed the American Mosquito Control Association, the Long Term Ecological Research Network, and the Cactus and Succulent Society of America as member societies in AIBS.
The American Mosquito Control Association (AMCA), founded in 1935, is a scientific and educational, not-for-profit public service association that is worldwide in scope, with members or subscribers to its publications in over 50 countries. The association publishes the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association and the AMCA Newsletter. Read more about the society at www.mosquito.org.
The Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network, founded in 1980, is a collaborative organization involving more than 1800 scientists and students investigating ecological processes over long temporal and broad spatial scales. The network promotes synthesis and comparative research across sites and ecosystems, and among related national and international research programs. The LTER program was established by the National Science Foundation to support research on long-term ecological phenomena in the United States. The LTER Web site is at www.lternet.edu.
The Cactus and Succulent Society of America (CSSA) was founded in 1929 and has now grown to become an international organization with about 100 affiliates. The society publishes the Cactus and Succulent Journal; To the Point, the CSSA newsletter; and Haseltonia, the yearbook of the CSSA. Read more about the society at www.cssainc.org.
2005 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leader Announced
In April, AIBS named Karen Deen Laughlin, Cornell University PhD candidate, as its 2005 Emerging Public Policy Leader.
Laughlin will receive a trip to Washington next month to participate in the Science–Engineering–Technology Work Group's annual Congressional Visits Day, a two-day event that brings scientists, engineers, researchers, educators, and technology executives to Washington to raise visibility and support for scientific research funding. Laughlin will meet with congressional leaders, attend briefings by key government officials, and participate in a reception honoring members of Congress for their work on behalf of science.
She will also take part in a briefing on federal programs that support biological research, sponsored by the Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition and the Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions.
The AIBS award will “give me a chance to see how interactions occur between federal officials and scientists who are interested in policy, and at the same time to interact with scientists who are interested in policy,” Laughlin says. “I think this will be a great experience for me in terms of getting to have these interactions and putting forth my views and the views of a new generation of scientists.”
Laughlin expects to complete her doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology this fall. She earned an undergraduate degree in environmental science and policy from Duke University in 1997.
She has received a variety of awards and grants, including a National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant, a Cornell Center for the Environment Graduate Research Grant, a Cornell Sigma Xi Award, and an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant.
Laughlin has worked as a teaching assistant and lab instructor at Cornell; as an environmental scientist at Epsilon Associates, a Massachusetts-based engineering and environmental consulting firm; and as an environmental policy intern at the Washington-based Committee for the National Institute for the Environment.
Says AIBS Executive Director Richard O'Grady, “AIBS designed the Emerging Public Policy Leader Award to recognize a promising biology graduate student who has demonstrated an interest in science policy. Karen Laughlin is poised to make some positive contributions to this year's Congressional Visits Day.”
News from the National Ecological Observatory Network
The third and final meeting of the NEON Design Consortium (NDC) will be held in Estes Park, Colorado, 7–9 June 2005. Subcommittee members will focus on a number of issues, including deployment of the standardized sensor arrays required to address a range of science research at each NEON observatory site. NEON's planners will also work to reduce a long “wish list” of interesting scientific questions to a subset that might constitute the core research focus for the initial phase of NEON.
Members of the seven NEON science subcommittees will work within three cross-disciplinary groups to explore the potential of shared sensor networking and infrastructure: (1) Biotic (a group that includes biodiversity, infectious disease, and invasive species), (2) Abiotic (which includes biogeochemical cycles, climate, and hydroecology), and (3) Land Use.
Dialogue and thinking in the context of these groups was productive at the NDC's second meeting in Boston (March 2005) and is expected to guide decision-making at the Colorado meeting.
At the same time, members of the three NDC education subcommittees will finalize their recommendations for realizing NEON's potential as a national tool for ecological science education. The subcommittees on higher education, K–12 education, and informal education (including citizen science) will focus on ways of using NEON's projected data streams as a teaching resource and on plans to extend ecological forecasting and science education beyond the classroom.
The Estes Park meeting marks a milestone in the NEON planning process. In the next stage, the project's senior management team and the National Network Design Committee (NNDC) will begin work on the NEON reference design and project execution plan, the engineering blueprint that will be delivered to the National Science Foundation in June 2006. The NNDC will periodically invite input on its working documents during this new phase of NEON planning. In the meantime, draft documents from the final meeting in Estes Park, Colorado, will be available for public comment at www.neoninc.org from late June through July.
NEON Comings and Goings
NEON welcomes Richard Munro of Triad Management Services, Inc., to its project office at AIBS headquarters. Triad provides project management and science and engineering services to government-funded research projects, such as the Ice Cube Neutrino Detector in Antarctica and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory at the California Institute of Technology. Munro's skills and expertise are well suited to NEON. His experience with large, complex projects includes work on the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, an international astronomy facility located in Chile. He has also worked on the project management system for the Lockheed Martin Joint Strike Fighter Project, where he was responsible for the costs and scheduling of the utilities portion of the project.
Finally, NEON congratulates Rina Aviram on her new position with the National Research Council in Washington, DC, where she will focus her considerable skills on environmental policy. Aviram joined AIBS as a science associate in January 2004, effectively promoting NEON by acting as liaison between AIBS and the broader ecological community. She also helped organize several workshops to develop plans for NEON. Her careful research on large-scale infrastructure projects in various disciplines was an important contribution to NEON's design process.
Award Winners for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching Announced
Each year, some of the best math and science teachers in the United States are recognized by their peers and honored with Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, which are administered by the National Science Foundation. Awardees spend a week in Washington, DC, attending conferences, workshops, and meetings with agency leaders and members of congress, in addition to participating in Science Committee hearings in the House of Representatives.
AIBS, a strong supporter of this event for several years, was one of the participating organizations in an “information exchange” for the awardees held 15 April 2005 at the Capital Hilton hotel. More than 30 professional organizations and government agencies participated in the exchange, during which AIBS staff met with awardees and shared with them some of the information and resources AIBS offers to those in the education field.
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