New & Noteworthy

Archive for April, 2012

30 Apr 2012

Biologists Honor Representatives Fattah, Wolf

Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) are the recipients of the 2012 Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC) Award.  The honor is given to congressional leaders who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing science policy and research.

“Our community of biological scientists greatly appreciates the years of leadership by Representatives Wolf and Fattah in advocating for the research dollars needed to address national challenges, help our nation to remain globally competitive, and equip our young people for the science and technology jobs of the future,” said Nadine Lymn, co-chair of BESC and director of public affairs for the Ecological Society of America.

Representatives Wolf and Fattah have led the effort in recent years to sustain federal investments in critical research programs.  Representative Wolf, a Republican representing the 10th district of Virginia, chairs the House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies.  Representative Fattah, a Democrat from the 2nd district of Pennsylvania, is the senior Democrat on the subcommittee.  Last year, they worked together to press for and secure federal support for the National Science Foundation and other science agencies.

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24 Apr 2012

Changes Proposed to NAGPRA Regulations

The Department of the Interior is proposing several minor changes to the regulations that implement the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAPGRA).  The proposed changes would correct minor inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the regulation.

One example of a proposed revision is adding known lineal descendents to the list of parties who are to be notified of an inadvertent discovery of Native American human remains, funerary objects, and sacred objects on federal land.  Another revision would clarify the exceptions to the requirements for repatriation.

More information is available at  Comments on the proposed changes will be accepted through 18 June 2012.

24 Apr 2012

NSC Alliance Asks Senate to Support Proposed Funding for Interior Collections

Today, the NSC Alliance submitted testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The testimony supported $3.5 million in new funding for the Department of the Interior’s Cultural and Scientific Collections program.

The FY 2013 budget request would implement a multi-year action plan to address recommendations made by the Department’s Inspector General regarding Interior’s accountability for its cultural and scientific specimens. Interior is an important caretaker of museum collections; the Department has an estimated 146 million items, which is second in size only to the Smithsonian Institution.

Click here to read NSC Alliance’s testimony.

24 Apr 2012

NSC Alliance Recent Accomplishments

Periodically, Natural Science Collections Alliance (NSC Alliance) member institutions request information about what the NSC Alliance has recently accomplished.  The following provides a summary of some of the key activities and accomplishments of the NSC Alliance for the period of January 2011 to April 2012.

  • Worked with other scientific organizations to demonstrate grassroots support for increased funding for the National Science Foundation.  This effort resulted in increased fiscal year 2012 funding for the National Science Foundation.
  • Coordinated a joint society letter to the National Science Foundation to express concerns with a proposal to alter the Collections in Support of Biological Research program.
  • Provided testimony to House and Senate Appropriations Committees in support for increased funding for the National Science Foundation and the Department of the Interior.
  • Sponsored the 2011 Biological Sciences Congressional District Visits event.
  • Nominated, successfully, an individual for service on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act Advisory Committee.
  • Participated in the USGS Coalition, an alliance of more than 70 organizations dedicated to the continued vitality of the USGS and its programs.
  • Provided regular policy and news updates to NSC Alliance members via the NSC Alliance Washington Report.
  • Developed a series of issue briefs that help to articulate the importance of scientific collections.

Additionally, the organization is currently planning a science briefing for members of Congress.  The briefing on digitization of biological collections will take place in the Rayburn House Office building in Washington, DC, on June 5, 2012.  NSC Alliance members are encouraged to attend this briefing (see

For more information about these accomplishments or to become more involved with the NSC Alliance, please contact Dr. Robert Gropp.

03 Apr 2012

NEON Seeks Assistant Director for Scientific Research Collections and Analysis

The National Ecological Observatory Network, Inc. (NEON) is hiring an assistant director for scientific research collections.  This position will be responsible for planning, implementing, and overseeing the archiving and analysis of samples (biological, physical and chemical), tissues, and specimens collected as part of the field-based research of the NEON Observatory.  This person will actively collaborate with NEON scientists to determine, document, and establish archiving and analytical needs and spearhead outsourcing of archiving and analyses to existing facilities.

NEON is a $430 million dollar observatory project dedicated to understanding how changes in climate, land use and invasive species impact ecology.  For the next three decades NEON will collect a comprehensive range of ecological data on a continental scale across 20 eco-climatic domains representing US ecosystems.

For more information about this job opening, visit