As water supplies become constrained, science can play an important role in managing water conflicts. Recognizing this, the Association of Ecosystem Research Centers (AERC) brought scientists, natural resource managers, and policymakers to Washington, DC, on 14 October for the organization's annual congressional briefing and science symposium. The theme for the 2010 program was: "Using Science to Balance Society's Needs for Water, Agriculture, and Ecosystems."
The AERC congressional briefing is held each year in conjunction with the organization's scientific meeting. Once again in 2010, interest in the briefing grew. Individuals representing House and Senate offices as well as federal agencies and nongovernmental organizations attended the briefing, where they heard from and asked question of individuals working at the nexus of science and public policy.
Lucinda Johnson, AERC past-president and director of the Center for Water and the Environment at the University of Minnesota at Duluth, moderated the one-hour Capitol Hill science briefing. Program speakers were Mark Walbridge, of the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service; Carol Couch, of the University of Georgia; Cliff Dahm, of the Delta Science Program and the University of New Mexico; and Paul Faeth, of CNA Corporation.
After the briefing in the Rayburn House Office Building, the group moved down the National Mall to the Smithsonian Institution, where AERC convened a half-day scientific symposium and reception.
As a member organization of AIBS and a contributor to the AIBS Public Policy Office, AERC received planning and logistical assistance for the congressional briefing from AIBS. For more information about AERC, please visit www.ecosystemresearch.org. For more information about the AIBS Public Policy Office and its services for AIBS members and contributing societies, please visit www.aibs.org/public-policy.
The AIBS Public Policy Office is pleased to offer two unique opportunities for graduate students to experience firsthand how science policy is formulated in the nation's capital. Applications are currently being accepted for the 2011 AIBS Emerging Public Policy Leadership Award (EPPLA). The EPPLA program recognizes the leadership potential of graduate students in the biological sciences who have demonstrated an interest in working at the interface of science and public policy. Details about the program and the application process are available at www.aibs.org/public-policy/student_opportunities.html. Recipients of the 2011 award will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to participate in the 2011 Biological Sciences Congressional Visits event. Additionally, the 2011 EPPLA recipients will receive a one-year membership in AIBS, a one-year subscription to the journal BioScience, and a certificate.
In addition to the 2011 EPPLA program, AIBS and the American Society of Mammalogists are pleased to announce the availability of a three-month, paid internship in the Washington, DC, AIBS Public Policy Office. This exciting opportunity is open to graduate students studying mammalogy. For details about this opportunity, please visit the American Society of Mammalogy Web site (www.mammalsociety.org) or www.aibs.org/public-policy/student_opportunities.html.
The National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) presented W. Jason Niedermeyer, a biology teacher at South Salem High School in Salem, Oregon, with the 2010 Evolution Education Award during the NABT annual professional development conference last November.
The Evolution Education Award is cosponsored by AIBS and the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. The award is presented in recognition of innovative classroom teaching and community education efforts to promote the accurate understanding of biological evolution. Niedermeyer will receive a plaque, a $1000 cash prize, and a one-year membership in AIBS. "I love to teach evolution," Niedermeyer said. "This is no secret to my students—I tell them at the beginning of the unit that it is my favorite thing to teach all year."
This passion for teaching evolution is displayed in the innovative lessons that Niedermeyer meticulously plans for his students. "Instead of telling students that we are going to be studying evolution immediately after genetics—and risk having some students immediately object—I provide students with opportunities to discover natural selection the same way Darwin did by taking them through the same paces," he said. His curriculum focuses on inquiry-based learning and uses a range of student activities, including hands-on labs, class discussion, reading articles about recent scientific discoveries, and watching videos.
Niedermeyer's creative approach to teaching evolution has opened the minds of students. "Teachers who can undertake such a charged topic while inviting this sort of confidence from their students are few and far between," said Niedermeyer's former student Marika Lou. "The passion and enthusiasm with which he would teach—especially when it came to evolution, which was quite obviously his favorite topic—made it difficult for any student not to feel the same way."
Public Policy Report for 25 October 2010
Public Policy Report for 12 October 2010