New & Noteworthy



Archive for the 'Activities & Events' Category

20 Jun 2018

NSC Alliance Members Invited to Inform Science Policy This Summer

The Natural Science Collections Alliance is pleased to announce that your organization, as an Alliance member, is eligible to participate in the 2018 Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event.

This national initiative is an opportunity for scientists across the country to meet with their federal or state elected officials to showcase the people, facilities, and equipment that are required to support and conduct scientific research.

There is a pressing need for the scientific community to engage with policymakers about the value of natural history collections in research and education. As called for in the recent report from the Biodiversity Collections Network, “The community must do a better job of communicating outcomes and benefits of digitization efforts to policymakers, administrators, other scientists, and the public.”

The Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event enables scientists, curators, museum professionals, and graduate students to meet with their elected officials without traveling to Washington, DC. Participants may either invite an elected official to tour their research facility or can meet at the lawmaker’s local office. Meetings will take place mid-July through October, depending on the participant’s schedule.

NSC Alliance members who participate will receive one-on-one support and online training to prepare them for their tour or meeting.

The event is open to all types of natural science collections, including biological, geological, and anthropological collections.

Participation is free for NSC Alliance members, but registration will close on July 19, 2018. To register, visit https://www.aibs.org/public-policy/congressional_district_visits.html.

07 May 2018

NSC Alliance Provides Testimony in Support of Federal Funding for Science Collections

The NSC Alliance provided testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees regarding funding for certain programs that curate natural history collections. The testimony addressed programs within the Department of the Interior and Smithsonian Institution.

“Scientific collections are critical infrastructure for our nation’s research enterprise. Research specimens connect us to the past, are used to solve current societal problems, and are helping to predict threats to human health, methods for ensuring food security, and the impact of future environmental changes. Sustained investments in scientific collections are in our national interest.”

NSC Alliance urged Congress to make additional investments in the National Museum of Natural History that will allow the museum to undertake critical collections care, make needed technology upgrades, and conduct cutting edge research. The testimony also requested lawmakers to support adequate funding for programs within the Department of the Interior, such as the Biological Survey Unit, that support the preservation and use of scientific collections.

Read the testimony here.

26 Apr 2018

NSC Alliance Urges Congress to Support Federal Funding for NSF

The Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance) provided testimony to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, highlighting the importance and role of natural history collections.

“Natural science collections advance research that improves public health, agriculture, natural resource management, biodiversity conservation, and American innovation. Current research involving natural science collections also contributes to the development of new cyberinfrastructure, data visualization tools, and improved data management.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is a key federal supporter of scientific collections. NSF supports research that uses existing collections as well as studies that gather new natural history specimens. NSF’s Directorates for Biological Sciences (BIO) and Geosciences (GEO) support research and student training opportunities in natural history collections. NSF also supports biological research infrastructure, such as natural history museums, living stock collections, and field stations.

The testimony called for $8.45 billion for NSF in fiscal year 2019.

Read the NSC Alliance testimony.

03 Apr 2018

BCoN 2018 Webinar Series

The Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) will convene a series of webinar programs in 2018 to share information about BCoN activities with the community and to receive community input on prior and pending BCoN programs. These webinars will include a formal presentation followed by an opportunity for participants to ask questions and share information. All programs will be recorded and posted to the BCoN website.

NIBA: A Status Report from BCoN

In 2017, the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) convened a two-day workshop of biodiversity collections community stakeholders to review community progress toward the goals and objectives outlined in the Strategic and Implementation Plans for a Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance. This webinar will summarize the findings from that workshop.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on April 25, 2018.

Organizer: Dr. Robert Gropp, American Institute of Biological Sciences
Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Click here to register for this webinar.

Collections Communications: A Report from BCoN

One goal of the Biodiversity Collections Network (BCoN) is the identification of ways for the community to sustainably advance the goals and objectives outlined in the Network Integrated Biocollections Alliance (NIBA) strategic and implementation plans. Among these goals are improved community governance and the development of a community positioned to sustainably advance the digitization efforts associated with biodiversity collections. Toward this end, BCoN recognized that improved communication with various stakeholders within and outside of the biodiversity collections community is essential. BCoN thus organized a workshop to identify communication needs and resources to help advance the goals of the NIBA and the community more generally. This webinar explores the recommendations arising from this workshop.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on May 2, 2018.

Organizer: Dr. Robert Gropp, American Institute of Biological Sciences
Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Click here to register for this webinar.

Data Attribution and Integration

This webinar will share insights gained from a BCoN organized workshop held at the University of Kansas in February 2018. The workshop brought together various data providers and users to discuss the biodiversity data pipeline and opportunities to increase integration and attribution.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on May 23, 2018.

Organizer: Mr. Andrew Bentley, Biodiversity Institute, University of Kansas
Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Click here to register for this webinar.

Using Natural History Collections Data to Address National Challenges

This webinar will share insights from a recent survey conducted by iDigBio and BCoN and will use these findings to stimulate ideas and input from webinar participants about future needs and opportunities for the use of natural history collections data to advance science and contribute solutions to societal challenges. The information captured during this webinar will inform and guide discussions during a BCoN workshop planned for fall 2018.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on June 13, 2018.

Organizer: Dr. Barbara Thiers, New York Botanical Garden
Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Click here to register for this webinar.

Addressing Legal Issues Involved in Digitized Collections: The Nagoya Protocol as a Test Case

This webinar will summarize discussions and findings from a BCoN organized workshop held at Harvard University in March 2018 to address legal concerns associated with digitized collections and mitigating these issues using digital means. Participants with practical knowledge of how biological collections should manage legal issues in regards to changing policy, utilizing cyberinfrastructure, and advising stakeholders used compliance with the Nagoya Protocol as a test case to investigate how U.S. institutions must respond to the need for increased transparency of their biodiversity collections and the required digital tracking.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on June 27, 2018.

Organizer: Dr. Linda Ford and Dr. Breda Zimkus, Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Click here to register for this webinar.

Biodiversity Collections and Education

Details: Coming soon.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on September 19, 2018.

Organizer: Dr. Anna Monfils, Central Michigan University
Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Click here to register for this webinar.

Small Collections

Details: Coming soon.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on October 17, 2018.

Organizer: Dr. Anna Monfils, Central Michigan University, and Dr. John Bates, The Field Museum of Natural History & President, Natural Science Collections Alliance
Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Click here to register for this webinar.

30 Mar 2018

AIBS and NSC Alliance Host USGS Budget Briefing Webinar

The American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) and Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance) have arranged for Anne Kinsinger, Associate Director for Ecosystems at the United States Geological Survey (USGS), to provide information about the administration’s fiscal year 2019 budget request for the division. The Ecosystems program at the USGS is responsible for research and monitoring on freshwater, terrestrial, and marine ecosystems, and the human, fish, and wildlife communities they support.

This webinar program will be held 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, April 13, 2018.

Location: Online
Cost: Free and Open to the Public

Due to scheduling conflicts, the webinar has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.

07 Feb 2018

NSC Alliance Asks USGS to Reverse Decision to Remove Curators from NMNH

On February 7, 2018, the NSC Alliance sent a formal request to the US Geological Survey requesting that the agency reverse a decision to remove 10 USGS scientists from their assigned job functions at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History.

Read the letter here.

22 Dec 2017

2017 Year in Review

In 2017, the NSC Alliance engaged in a number of notable activities to raise the profile of natural history collections with policymakers, researchers, and the general public. A few highlights are presented below:

  • Helped secure a 3 percent funding increase for the Smithsonian Institution in fiscal year 2017 and prevented large cuts to the budgets for the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies that support natural history collections.
  • Worked with other museum supporting organizations and museums to defeat a Trump Administration proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
  • Intervened when the University of Louisiana Monroe planned to dispose of its natural history collections. NSC Alliance’s involvement helped garner media attention and encouraged the university to facilitate transfer of the collection to other organizations.
  • NSC Alliance President Joseph Cook and Board member Scott Edwards organized the inaugural PFRB Symposium for 40 postdocs. The symposium highlighted new research uses of collections and provided an overview of opportunities in collections-based employment. The symposium was followed by a smaller BCoN workshop aimed at identifying new directions and opportunities for museums in the near future.

Read the full summary.

02 Nov 2017

NSC Alliance 2017 Board and Officer Election Candidates

Dear NSC Alliance Members,

As part of the NSC Alliance process for selecting and electing members of the Board of Directors and Officers of the organization, NSC Alliance is announcing the proposed slate of candidates for open seats on the Board of Directors.

NSC Alliance will accept any additional nominations through 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on December 1, 2017. If you would like to nominate a candidate to the Board, please send their name, affiliation, and contact information to rgropp@aibs.org. In your nominations, please specify whether you are nominating the person to serve on the Board or as an Officer.

After this review period closes, all official representatives of NSC Alliance members in good standing will receive a ballot. The election will be held in early December.

Thank you for your assistance with this important matter.

2017 NSC Alliance Board Elections – Proposed Slate of Candidates

Officers:

President: Dr. John Bates, Field Museum of Natural History
Vice President: Dr. Barbara Thiers, New York Botanical Garden
Secretary: Dr. Larry Page, University of Florida
Treasurer: Dr. Sarah George, Utah Museum of Natural History

Board Members:

Linda Lee “Cissy” Farm: Bishop Museum of Natural History
Gil Nelson: Florida State University
Rebecca Rundell: SUNY-ESF
Jennifer Zaspel: Milwaukee Public Museum

06 Sep 2017

National Fossil Day is October 11

The National Park Service is planning for the annual celebration of National Fossil Day, which will take place on October 11, 2017. National Fossil Day is a nationwide celebration that will include paleontology activities planned by partner organizations across the United States.

NSC Alliance has once again partnered with the National Park Service to promote the event. NSCA also has a short document about the scientific value of fossil collections.

The participation of local museums, universities, and other scientific organizations is central to National Fossil Day. Help your local community learn about local paleontological and natural resources by participating in the event.

To join as a partner for National Fossil Day, visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/events.htm.

15 Aug 2017

Museums Write to Congress about Funding

Nearly 950 museum organizations signed a letter to Congress about the need for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The agency was proposed for elimination in President Trump’s 2018 budget request.

NSC Alliance was among the signatories, as were several NSC Alliance member organizations.

“While we acknowledge the many pressing priorities in the budget, the tremendous economic and educational contributions of museums make them eminently worthy of federal funding,” states the letter. “As you make decisions about the Fiscal Year 2018 budget, we urge you to support agencies and programs that help museums make a difference in their communities.”

IMLS Letter

- Next »