April was a month to celebrate science with the March for Science taking place on Earth Day in more than 600 cities around the world and the People’s Climate March just a week later with more than 300,000 people marching in Washington, DC. SER joined our colleagues at the Society for Wetland Scientists during the Washington, DC March for Science. The rain did not dampen our passion for science and the critical role independent scientific inquiry plays in bettering human society.
SER's Executive Director, Bethanie Walder, with Society of Wetland Scientists staff and members at the Science March.
In conjunction with the march, we called out to SER members to tweet about the work they do using the #actuallivingscientist hashtag. This hashtag was started by an Alabama biologist who wants to expose more people to real scientists. I do need to give full credit to the amazing Gwen Thomas of SER-Texas who brought this to our attention. We had a nice response from our members. If you missed it, check out our Storify page where we compiled everyone who responded to both our and the SER-Texas shout out.
We want to keep this going and you don’t need a Twitter account to contribute. We know a lot of you will be in the field over the next couple of months (and for some of you the “field” may be an office or lab behind a stack of books and papers) so let’s promote the great work you’re doing. SER has more than 2,000 followers on Twitter and more than 6,000 followers on Facebook (where we’ll share the Storify link); these include your peers as well as members of the public who care about restoration and the environment.
If you’d like to join your colleagues email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and put #actuallivingscientist in the subject line. Include a photo of you in action along with your name and a short description of your work and we’ll tweet it with the hashtag #actuallivingscientist (seriously, check out SER’s Storify page for inspiration). I’ll let you know when to expect your moment of Twitter fame.
Speaking of the celebration of science, we have three new Student Associations to welcome to SER:
- UC Davis, California
- University of Wyoming (Restoration Outreach and Research a.k.a UW ROaR)
- University of Tennessee at Knoxville
We are very excited to have these future leaders in our field as members of the Society and we look forward to telling you a little more about them in later issues of SERNews.
We don’t want to forget to thank our colleagues at the International Network for Seed-Based Restoration (INSR) for the great webinar on seed-based approaches to ecological restoration. We had more than 600 people sign up, which is a webinar record for us! If you missed it, don’t worry, we’ve archived the webinar on our website. Because there were so many questions and not enough time, we archived both the questions and answers in the forum section of ser.org where you can still contribute to the conversation with your questions and observations. Many thanks to Stephanie Frischie, Chris Helzer and Todd Erickson who presented a terrific webinar and Marcello Devitis who collected the questions, provided answers and posted everything online.
SER is delighted to announce that at our March 2017 Board meeting, current SER Board Treasurer Jim Hallett was nominated and elected to serve as SER’s new Chair Elect. In addition to serving as SER’s Treasurer since late 2015, Jim chairs our Publications Committee, and he is a highly engaged member of our Science and Policy Committee. In the past 18 months, Jim has represented SER at international meetings in Ghana, China, Canada, Mexico, and Ethiopia. He is also quite active with the SER-Northwest Chapter. Jim is a research ecologist and Adjunct Professor of Biology at Eastern Washington University.
As background, SER follows a slightly unusual process whereby our Vice Chair position is a split position. A Chair Elect is nominated and elected by the Board of Directors based on specific qualifications. That person is seated as the Vice Chair/Chair Elect for the one year prior to becoming the Chair. The person then serves as Chair for two years. When their Chairmanship is over, they serve as Vice Chair/Past Chair for one year. And then the cycle begins again. In total, serving as Chair is a 4-year commitment, with 1 year as Vice Chair/Chair Elect, 2 years as Chair and then one year as Vice Chair/Past Chair.
Cara Nelson has been serving in the Vice Chair/Past Chair position, and she will be stepping down from that role in July when Jim steps up. Cara has been an incredible force on the SER Board and within the field of ecological restoration in general for more than 20 years. We cannot thank her enough for her amazing dedication to this issue and this work. We’ll have a more proper send-off for her in the next issue of SERNews, so keep an eye out for that.
Speaking of Past Chairs, SER recently added a Past Leaders Page on our website to highlight the incredible work that so many of SER’s past leaders have done both inside and outside of SER. Both as part of their work with SER and independently, our past leaders (and I’m sure our future leaders as well), are playing critical roles developing, advancing and improving the field of ecological restoration all around the globe. This new page on our website highlights their inspiring work!
We’re also very pleased to welcome Nancy Shaw onto the Executive Committee as SER’s new Treasurer once Jim becomes Vice Chair. Nancy is currently a Representative-at-Large to the SER Board. She is very active with the SER-Great Basin Chapter and she is also one of the founders of the International Network for Seed Based Restoration (INSR). She, too, has been traveling to many different meetings, in different parts of the world, to represent SER and INSR. Thanks for taking on this new responsibility, Nancy!
Last but by no means least: SER2017! This is SER’s 7th biennial World Conference on Ecological Restoration and we’re looking forward to meeting our members, as well as the members of our conference partners: the Brazilian Society for Ecological Restoration (SOBRE) and the Ibero-American & Caribbean Society for Ecological Restoration (SIACRE). The need to foster productive two-way communication is more important than ever as the world increasingly embraces the imperative of restoration. The conference will provide a dynamic and engaging platform for knowledge sharing among not only scientists and practitioners, but also the many other stakeholders involved with ecological restoration.
If you can’t make it to the conference, we are going to encourage the attendees to tweet their conference experience. Just follow the hashtag #SER2017. If you don’t have a Twitter account, don’t worry! You can find SER’s Twitter feed on our website. Follow along starting August 27th.
Member and Communications Director
SER’s new Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP) program was officially launched in January 2017!
The SER Board Executive Committee approved the nominated members of the CERP program committees. You can find more about these amazing volunteers on our website.
Additionally, some of those CERP program committees require members and chairpersons to be certified. For example, all members of the certification committee (the committee that reviews applications) must be certified through CERP. Members of those committees submitted their applications to the SER Board Executive Committee, which then approved our first 13 CERPs:
- Joe Berg
- Paul Davis
- Lynde Dodd
- Jennifer Ford
- Jennifer Franklin
- John Giordanengo
- Michael Hughes
- Mickey Marcus
- Carolina Murcia
- Chris Polatin
- David Polster
- Joshua Tallis
- Michael Toohill
SER accepted our first round of general applications for the CERP program from January-March 2017. In addition to the 13 committee member CERP applications, we received 77 applications: 61 applications for CERP and 16 applications for Certified Practitioner-in Training (CERPIT). Applicants represented our global restoration community from the United States, Canada, Australia, Chile, Colombia, and Denmark.
We are just now finalizing the review of those applicants and expect to announce our first group of CERPs in early June.
The next CERP application window will be open from July 17 through September 15, 2017. You can find out more about the certification program www.ser.org/page/certification.
SER Midwest Great Lakes 2017 Annual Meeting
Contributed by Stephen Glass, SER MWGL Chapter President
MWGL conference attendees at the poster pub session on Friday evening.
Over 180 restoration ecology students, practitioners, scholars, and contractors converged on Grand Rapids, MI, March 24-26 to attend the 9th Annual Meeting of the Midwest-Great Lakes Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration, hosted by the Grand Valley State University Biology Department.
The theme of the meeting, Assembling the Restoration Community, addressed the ecological, social, and cultural aspects of ecological restoration through a series of workshops, symposia, two plenary sessions, and a keynote presentation. In addition, the meeting hosted 20 posters and over 40 contributed oral presentations.
A special feature of this year’s conference was the attendance—for all three days of the meeting—of Bethanie Walder, Executive Director of SER.
Bethanie Walder, SER Executive Director (right), who attended the entire three-day conference, talking with an SER MWGL member during the poster pub on Friday evening.
The chapter held its annual business meeting on Saturday afternoon. The meeting began with an address to the group by Bethanie, who provided an update of SER activities. Next, Jen Lyndall, immediate past president of SER MWGL and current SER Certification Program Coordinator, explained the new program, its goals, and how it works. Jen encouraged people to apply for certification during the next application period.
Lauren Umek, awards committee chair, presented awards for the best student poster, best student oral presentation, and an award recognizing the student who traveled the greatest distance to attend the meeting. Dan Gibson (oral presentation), and Sean Wylie (poster), each received $100 and an Island Press book. Brad Gordon received $50 for furthest distance traveled.
The meeting concluded in traditional fashion on Sunday, March 26, with a selection of three off-site field trips to ecological restoration sites in western Michigan. These included: Lake Michigan Coastal Wetlands and Dune Restoration; Ottawa County Parks Dune and Riparian Restoration; and West Michigan Oak Savannas: Protection, Restoration, and Research.
I attended the West Michigan Oak Savannas field trip, led by Justin Heslinga of the Land Conservancy of West Michigan; Jesse Lincoln of Michigan Natural Features Inventory; and Priscilla Nyamai, of Grand Valley State University. We visited two sites. First up was Huckleberry Hill, owned by Lowell Township. Huckleberry Hill is a “relatively intact and high-quality remnant that has responded readily to recent shrub and tree clearing.” There, we learned from Jesse Lincoln about current and planned management activities that include removal of planted pines. The pines are being removed because, Jesse declared: “Planted pines are the tombstones of oak savannas.”
Next stop in Lowell Township was the Bradford Dickinson White Nature Preserve, “a more severely-degraded remnant in the early stages of restoration.” At this site, land manager Justin Heslinga, and researcher, Priscilla Nyamai have created a unique management partnership that aims “to identify plant community changes in response to thinning and burning.” With this adaptive management approach, management concerns can create research opportunities and research findings can inform management in a relationship that benefits both parties. To get a sense of the project, you can view this short video featuring both Justin and Priscilla discussing how they are collaborating together, as a practitioner and scientist, to implement and assess this oak savanna restoration project.
SER Section Update: International Network for Seed-Based Restoration (INSR)
Contributed by Nancy Shaw, SER Board Member, Representative-At-Large and Director-At-Large of INSR
The entire INSR Board and many members will be attending the SER 2017 7th World Conference on Ecological Restoration in Iguassu Falls, Brazil from August 27 – September 1, 2017. INSR is hosting a full-day session “Seed-based Restoration: Innovations, Opportunities and Challenges” organized by Stephanie Frischie, Kingsley Dixon and Olga Kildisheva. The session will feature presentations by experts from seven countries who will discuss all aspects of seed-based restoration from seed sourcing to seed deployment. We are also beginning to organize a similar session with a dryland theme for a November 2017 symposium in Kuwait. The final NASSTEC (NAtive Seed Science, TEchnology & Conservation) conference is scheduled for September 25-29, 2017 at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK.
Recent additions to the INSR website include a section on Native Seed Protocols, which can be found on the Resources tab. There you will find manuals, databases and tools on seed collection, cleaning, seed strategies and more. To facilitate communication and discussion among seed users, there is now an INSR Discussion Forum on the SER website that is open to members and non-members. Just follow this link to find instructions for contributing to the forum.
Please consider joining SER’s INSR Section – it is free to all SER members. We also wish to encourage organizations involved in any aspect of seed-based restoration to consider partnering with INSR. Please visit the Partners page on the INSR website and scroll down to find the application form.
Native Seed Updates: Click on the links to read the full stories.
US Forest Service, Bend Seed Extractory: The Bend Seed Extractory (BSE), a facility of the US Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Region located in Bend, Oregon, USA, is dedicated to seed and only seed. They extract, process, test, package, and store seed for more than 3,000 different species and their seed lots vary from a few tablespoons to thousands of pounds. Contributed by Kayla Herriman
Seed Banking in New York City and Beyond: Over the last 25 years, New York City’s Greenbelt Native Plant Center has produced more than 15 million plants for lands within the city. Along with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Seed Bank, they are providing seed for regional restoration projects. Contributed by Clara Holmes and Ed Toth
Collecting Hudsonia tomentosa in Long Island, New York.
Putting Research Results to Work: Are you interested in communicating your scientific results to the public or to policy-makers? Read more about it in "Taking a holistic approach to ecosystem restoration using native seeds," which discusses the importance of considering economic, ecological and social values when applying research results to the practice of ecological restoration. Contributed by Holly Abbandonato
Native Seed, Seedlings and Forests Restoration in Lebanon: Collaborations in Lebanon are working to ensure availability of genetically appropriate seed, high-quality seedling production and best practices for reforestation. Programs involve the public and private sectors, as well as international organizations. Contributed by Karma Bouazz
Section Update: Large-Scale Ecosystem Restoration Section (LERS)
SER met with the new leadership of LERs in May and we are very excited to have an incredibly dynamic group of people heading up the section. Since its inception in the fall of 2013, LERS has partnered with the National Conference on Ecosystem Restoration (NCER) to provide a forum for researchers, practitioners and more to share their experience on large-scale ecosystem restoration. The new board is hoping to work more closely with SER and expand its presence in other conferences.
To better serve its members, LERS fielded a 10-question survey in the 2nd quarter of the year to learn more about their membership’s interests and concerns. While past president and self-described data nerd Matt Grabau hasn’t tabulated all the results yet, early returns show members have a strong interest in on-the-ground restoration techniques, the evaluation of functioning ecosystems and ecosystem restoration. Not surprisingly, the biggest challenges are funding, monitoring and implementation.
LERS is looking forward to introducing itself to the attendees at SER2017 in Brazil. For those not able to attend the world conference, LERS will continue its partnership with NCER as co-chair of the 2018 conference in New Orleans and plans on developing a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Upcoming Conferences & Events
SER2017 World Conference on Ecological Restoration
Linking Science and Practice for a Better World
August 27-September 1 – Iguassu Falls, Brazil
The 7th SER World Conference on Ecological Restoration will take place in Iguassu Falls, Brazil from August 27-September 1, 2017. The abstracts deadline is about to close, so get your abstract in as soon as possible! Our keynote speakers are finalized and will address a diversity of topics, including water resources and ocean issues, scaling up to meet international restoration commitments, innovative approaches to restoration, and more. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for short video interviews with several of our keynote speakers. We received excellent submissions for symposia, workshops and abstracts and the conference promises to have something for everyone working in ecological restoration. We also have nearly 20 field trips planned during the third day of the conference, when we will move from the lecture hall to the field. In addition, we have pre- and post- conference field trips and training sessions. If you haven’t submitted yet, send in your abstract now! Registration should be open by the time you receive this issue of SERNews. August is an excellent time of the year to visit Brazil – we can’t wait to see you there!
SER-MA Conference: Invasive Biology: Paths to Conservation & Restoration Success
August 1-2 - Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA
The Society for Ecological Restoration, Mid-Atlantic Chapter is partnering with the Mid-Atlantic Invasive Plant Council to host its 2017 conference, Invasive Biology: Paths to Conservation & Restoration Success. The keynote speaker is Dr. Douglas W. Tallamy, Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology, University of Delaware; author of Bringing Nature Home and The Living Landscape. The call for abstracts closes Monday, June 12th.
TXSER Annual Conference
November 10-12 – University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA
TXSER's 2017 Annual Conference is coming home to North Texas, where TXSER was originally founded. The conference will be held November 10-12 on the campus of the University of North Texas in Denton. Conference planning is underway and we will update you as plans evolve. Meanwhile, mark your calendars and plan on joining fellow TXSER members and friends in November in North Texas.
SERWC 2018: Restoration for Resilience
February 13-17, 2018 - Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada
Hosted by Society for Ecological Restoration – Western Canada, in partnership with the joint Ecological Restoration program of British Columbia Institute of Technology and Simon Fraser University. Resilience is a hot and challenging topic in scientific and social aspects of restoration and reclamation, resource management, and community planning. We are excited about this learning, networking, and trade show event for researchers and students, resource industries, government regulators and managers, consulting practitioners, Indigenous peoples, and community-based organizations.