Strategies for Ecology, Education, Diversity and Sustainability (SEEDS) Program

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) anchors its initiatives and programs in a holistic and co-mentoring approach to developing the diversity of its national membership. ESA is the nation's leading professional society of ecologists, representing more than 9200 scientists, educators, researchers, policymakers, and managers from the U.S. and more than 80 other nations. ESA's Strategies for Ecology, Education, Development and Sustainability (SEEDS) program is designed to stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students by providing a full spectrum of mentoring and learning opportunities including group field trips, undergraduate research, and travel to ESA annual meetings, where students are mentored. A decade ago, ESA created the SEEDS program to strategically plant resources and support to minority serving institutions to vastly improve the numbers of minorities in ecology. ESA's diversity initiatives impact not only the students and faculty but the overall profession as the organization has identified diversity as critical for advancing science. Today, the organization has grown to include 32 ecology chapters on campuses nationwide; has developed seven new ecology-related courses, minors or majors on campuses where ecology was, in some cases not offered at all previously; and has sponsored nine field trips involving more than 146 students. The minority membership of ESA has doubled since 1996 as a result of the concerted efforts of SEEDS.