2013 Workshop, Annual Business Meeting, Congressional Briefing, and Congressional Office Visits
Members of the AERC Board of Directors and I would like to share with you our excitement about the success of our annual events in Washington DC that took place at the end of October 2013. We tried something a little different from past years in an effort to solidify the effectiveness of AERC's main mission of communicating the importance of ecosystem science to Congress. A big objective in so doing is to encourage Congress to enhance funding for ecosystem research. This year, we added a "how to" workshop to our two other usual activities: the congressional briefing and congressional office visits. This new "triumvirate" of informational and educational activities was enthusiastically received by all in attendance; almost two-thirds of whom were graduate students and postdocs! Here is a summary of these three activities."
This year, we held a training Workshop on the morning of 23 October from 8:30 to 12:30 at the AIBS offices on 1444 I Street NW in Washington on Communicating Science to the Media and Decision Makers--designed for graduate students, postdocs, faculty members, and other ecosystem researchers. We held our Annual Business Meeting in the afternoon on the same day from 1:00 to 4:30 pm at the same venue as the Workshop. The Congressional Briefing on "The Role of Ecosystem Science in Food Security" was held on the morning of 24 October at the U.S. House of Representative's Rayburn Office Building on Capitol Hill. In the afternoon of 24 October, many individual event participants conceded their time in Washington by visiting with their respective Congressional delegations on Capitol Hill.
An Evaluation Survey was conducted after the meeting. We received very good suggestions from participants about how we might go about improving the training experiences for participants of next year’s events. The AERC Board members want to offer a similar program next year, and we look forward to increasing graduate student and postdoc participation in the operation of the AERC, particularly our website.
The complete 2013 Annual DC Event evaluation designed and conducted by Ph.D. graduate students and AERC members and event participants, Susan Cheng (University of Michigan) and Alex Maestre (University of Alabama), is now available on this website (Evaluation Survey Results - PDF).