Ballots for the AIBS Board elections have been mailed; members can also vote online at www.aibs.org/vote.
At the end of 2009, the following positions become vacant on the 13-person AIBS Board of Directors: (a) president-elect, (b) treasurer, and (c) one board seat from the AIBS membership-at-large (board elections from the Council of AIBS Member Societies and Organizations are also under way at this time through a separate ballot). The president-elect serves a one-year term and automatically succeeds to a one-year term as president, then a one-year term as immediate past-president. Treasurer and board members serve three-year terms. All terms start on 1 January 2010.
AIBS thanks all of the candidates for their dedication and willingness to run for these voluntary positions. Biographical sketches and election statements are included with the online and paper ballots.
To vote, please go to the online ballot at www.aibs.org/vote and sign in with your last name and six-digit AIBS membership number (as it appears on your AIBS membership card and BioScience mailing label; for assistance, contact AIBS at adm...@aibs.org, 703-790-1745, or 800-992-2427). A paper ballot has also been mailed to all members; if you prefer to use that ballot, please complete it and mail it to AIBS. The polls close on Monday, 26 October, at 5 p.m.
Board member elected by the membership-at-large
Advocates for the nation's natural science collections are asking President Obama for help. Scientists and others concerned by negative trends affecting research, curation, and education at the nation's natural science collections have asked President Obama to sign an executive order that would create a federal framework for the development of a coordinated national policy for the preservation and use of the nation's science collections. The effort, launched by the Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance), an AIBS member organization, is a response to recent government and nongovernment surveys and reports that demonstrate a need for a national commitment to science collections.
The need for a formalized, federal effort is something that NSC Alliance members have discussed for years. Growing financial pressures on natural science collections when these research centers are so centrally important to the future of science and to the resolution of pressing environmental, health, and security challenges prompted NSC Alliance leaders to propose an executive order that would create a government-wide entity composed of senior government officials with the goal of preserving and promoting the use of science collections.
Writing to John Holdren, science adviser to the president and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, NSC Alliance President William Y. Brown stated: "Issuance of an executive order as framed in the [proposed order] would raise the executive branch priority of this issue to the level warranted by its importance, and would also broaden the scope of planning to include all science collections. The order is similar in form to executive order 13112 on invasive species and executive order 13089 on coral reef protection issued by President Clinton. Both of these orders remain in effect, and we recommend reference to the experience of each in consideration of the order."
Brown continued: "The science collections gathered and held by many institutions over the past half-millennium are fundamental reference points for measuring and monitoring the health of our planet. They also underpin contemporary research and education in many fields, from anthropology to zoology. Their importance has been noted by the federal government, but they have not yet received the attention and priority that is their due."
Support for the executive order from scientific organizations is strong. Shortly after the NSC Alliance asked Holdren to pursue the order, organizations ranging from the American Association of State Geologists to the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists to the Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections joined several leading natural history museums to endorse the need for a presidential executive order. The letter of support provided by AIBS is available online at www.aibs.org/position-statements/20090825_aibs_letter_req.html. Additional information about the collections campaign is available on the NSC Alliance Web site at http://www.nscalliance.org/?p=139.
The AIBS Public Policy Office (PPO) hosted its first Webinar in July. The program, "The HBRF Science Links Program," featured a presentation by Charles Driscoll, of Syracuse University. Driscoll, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF), described how the HBRF developed a comprehensive program to translate research findings from the Hubbard Brook research site to key decisionmakers ranging from the local community to the halls of Congress.
"The Science Links program will not fit all research initiatives, but it is a model that showcases the elements of a successful communications and outreach initiative," said Robert Gropp, AIBS director of public policy. "At a time when so much of what we learn from scientific research is needed to inform decisions, it is helpful to recognize the complexities and challenges associated with translating the information. The HBRF Science Links program illustrates the value in partnerships, planning, and allocating resources to these endeavors."
To learn about future Webinars related to public policy or media relations and communications, visit www.aibs.org, and subscribe to receive free AIBS Public Policy Reports by e-mail at www.aibs.org/public-policy-signup.
In response to a survey of visitors in 2004 and on additional visitor feedback, ActionBioscience.org launched a mirror site in Spanish in August 2009: www.actionbioscience.org/esp. The site reaches visitors from 175 countries in a typical year–42 percent of site visitors are from the United States, and 72 percent are from North and South America combined. The Web site's tracking service shows that the number of Hispanic visitors has increased every year, and in 2008, the greatest number of page views outside the United States came from Mexico.
The mirror site is particularly useful for US residents whose first language is not English. Educators in the United States are encouraged to assign ActionBioscience.org Spanish articles to their students of Hispanic origin. Those students may improve their scientific literacy skills, especially if they have difficulty reading scientific information in English. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, "One of the challenges currently facing schools is providing equal educational opportunities to students from various cultural backgrounds, some of whom are not proficient in English."
A new visitor survey is available on the Spanish ActionBioscience.org site to determine visitors' reaction to the new features. Users can access the survey on the new site's home page or directly at www.actionbioscience.org/esp/encuesta.html. ActionBioscience.org is supported by a subaward of a National Science Foundation grant given to expand BEN (BiosciEdNet), the bioscience education digital library, and it is endorsed by the National Association of Biology Teachers.
Original article in English
Technology: An Educational Issue? Blog Post
Spanish translation of a previously posted article