August 2, 2010
Washington, DC -- The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) is pleased to announce the launch of the 2nd Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event. This nationwide initiative is intended to spur individual biologists and research centers to meet with their members of Congress during the August congressional district work period.
"It is exciting to see the growing interest in this effort from members of the scientific community," said AIBS Director of Public Policy Dr. Robert Gropp. "This year a number of leading scientific societies and organizations have joined us to sponsor this important event." In addition to AIBS, Sponsors of the 2010 event are the Botanical Society of America, Genetics Society of America, Long Term Ecological Research Network, Organization of Biological Field Stations, Society of Systematic Biologists, and University of Michigan Biological Station. Stanford University's Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a Supporter of the 2010 initiative.
Each August, Representatives and Senators spend time in their districts and home states. This is an opportunity for individuals to meet with members of Congress to demonstrate the importance of their research to the individuals responsible for casting the votes that shape the nation's science policy.
"Inviting your member of Congress to visit your laboratory, to see what you do and how many people your work involves, is one of the best ways to educate your leaders and legislators about scientific research. They get to see where the money they appropriated to NIH, NSF, USDA, and other funding agencies goes, how carefully it is spent, and what amazing work is done with it," said Dr. Sherry Marts, Executive Director of the Genetics Society of America.
According to Marts, this is an important opportunity to put a face on science. "Most people get their images of scientists and science from Hollywood - a visit with a scientist is a great reality check," states Marts.
Dr. Keith Crandall, President of the Society of Systematic Biologists agrees. "Congressional visits are especially effective for fields like systematic biology as the importance of basic science is not always obvious to those outside of science. These visits allow biologists to inform congressional members of the exciting science being performed and its potential contributions to society."
The 2nd Annual Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event occurs throughout the month of August. Participating scientists and research facilities will meet with their members of Congress to show them first-hand the people, equipment, and processes involved with modern scientific research.