Minutes of the Board Meeting held at the 7th International Wetlands Conference in Utrecht, The Netherlands on 26th and 27th July 2004

 

 

Present: John Grace, John Lee (chair), Eun-Shik Kim, Azim Mallik, Rebecca Sharitz, and Gene Turner.  Byung-Sun Ihm attended by invitation for item 2.

 

Apologies were received from: Valerie Brown, Alan Covich, Sun-Kee Hong and Bernd Markert.

 

 

1.  Montreal Congress

 

The forthcoming Montreal Congress was considered in detail.  Rebecca Sharitz described the current stage of organisation and discussions with the Ecological Society of America.  Discussions focused on possible plenary speakers and the need for strong symposium suggestions from INTECOL members.  A list of potential plenary speakers was compiled, and a number of further enquiries were detailed before approaches to individuals would be made. 

 

Although some symposia were known to be being planned, there was an urgent need for more suggestions to be prepared and submitted.  Although some of these symposia may not be selected by the programme committee, there is a strong likelihood that these could become so called organised oral sessions, so any effort now is unlikely to be wasted. 

 

The overall programme design was reviewed, and it was agreed that there was the need to incorporate an INTECOL General Assembly.  This would be held on Wednesday 10th August, 2005.  Members thanked Rebecca Sharitz for her tireless efforts in ensuring the success of this congress.

 

2.      Review of the Web Site

 

Eun-Shik Kim showed members the intricacies of the new web site.  The strong consensus was that it was working very well and Eun-Shik was warmly congratulated on his efforts which had made it such a success.  The new web site had arisen out of an agreement between the Board and the President of the Ecological Society of Korea that the latter society should host the site for three years.  The arrangement would have to be reviewed in 2006.

 

Discussions centred on how the web site could be made more useful to, and used by, members.  One suggestion that it could be a repository of teaching materials (e.g. power point presentations) for use by members only, and that material deposited should be time dated to last perhaps 5 years.  It was suggested that the Bulletin Board could be used to replace the Newsletter, but someone, who should be asked to be a member of the Board if he or she wasní»t already, should take responsibility for ensuring a good flow of interesting information.

 

It was decided that there would be only one directory of ecological societies to encompass both national and international societies.  Another directory might be produced for NGOs.  It was important that many more ecological societies are listed than at present.

 

Ideally future membership dues would be collected via the web site.  Further discussion was required to see how this could be achieved.

 

3.      Promoting INTECOL

 

Discussions centred on ways of increasing benefits to members such as by the continued development of the web site as detailed in 2 above.  Other discussions focused on the possibility of providing a publication or publications (see 4 below).  It was agreed that Board Members could play a more active role in the Society, and this would be very much to our advantage.  One way to encourage this might be to produce new roles, perhaps associated with our web-based activities.

 

No consensus was reached as to how a greater involvement of national and regional ecological societies could be achieved, but the Ecological Society of Koreaí»s role in the development of the web site is an excellent example in this respect.  Greater involvement than at present was thought to be highly desirable.

 

4.      Publications

 

An approach had been received from a publisher to produce an on-line version of Ecology International.  Discussions centred on whether an appropriate niche in the market could be identified.  There was enthusiasm that this could represent a real benefit to members, and that a niche could perhaps be found.  If so, the approach would be to have discussions with several potential publishers before coming to any decision.

 

5.      Succession Planning

 

Both the President and the Treasurer will have completed two terms of office by the Montreal Congress and will need to be replaced.  An outline discussion centred on the need to ensure a good geographical spread of officers, and to attract experienced ecologists with some knowledge at least of INTECOLí»s affairs to these roles.  Further soundings would be taken by the Officers, and the views of Board Members not present would be particularly welcome.

 

6.      Finances

 

The Board had agreed previously that, during the transition to the web-based operation, no fees would be charged to encourage members to register their membership through the web site.  This arrangement would run from 2004 until after the Montreal Congress in August, 2005.  Although this arrangement had had a negative effect on the finances in the short term, it was hoped that eventually there would be a larger membership with less turnover than in the past, and the net result would be a healthier position.

 

It was agreed that the following membership rates would operate from 1st September 2005:  Annual Membership $US 30 ($20 for students and members from developing countries).

 

For those members who might be encouraged to pay for 4 years in advance, it was agreed that the following rates should apply: $100 ($60 for members from developing countries).

 

7.      Future Congresses

 

It was agreed that the next congress after Montreal would be held in 2009.  In the event that 2009 proved to be impossible, 2008 would be the alternative.

Two informal approaches had been received as possible venues.  It was agreed that an open competition would be held.  Outline bids would be sought via the web site and by the help of Board Members.  These bids should include the following information:

 

(a) the location and infrastructure required to host a conference of 1000-2000 participants;

(b) the experience of the potential organisers;

(c) the backing of the national ecological society or other relevant scientific body;

(d) the potential for obtaining sponsorship;

(e) the structure and potential membership of the planning committee; and

(f) the potential theme(s) of the congress.

 

Bidders should be made aware that the congress should aim to make a modest profit and that only very limited start up funds would be available from INTECOL.  Bids should be received by 14th December 2004, and should not exceed the equivalent of two pages of A4.

 

8.      Revision of the Statutes

 

Potential changes to the Statutes had previously been circulated to all Board Members.  These had received the support of Board Members, but after discussion it was agreed to make the following additional changes:

 

(a)   That the Executive Board should consist of the President, Vice-President, Secretary General, Treasurer and two Board Members.  The Executive Board should also have the power to co-opt up to two other Board members to help it discharge its business as and when appropriate.

(b)   The Executive Board would decide the fate of the Societyí»s resources in the event of its dissolution, but these must be used for the advancement of ecology or its application.

(c)    The INTECOL Board should consist of a minimum of nine and a maximum of 20 members.

 

The first of these is designed to increase the involvement of Board Members in INTECOLí»s affairs, and to improve the operation of the Executive Board business.  The second replaces the previous amendment that the resources should go to the treasurerí»s national ecological society because it is conceivable that there may not be a national ecological society in the Treasurerí»s country.  The third is to allow flexibility, but not to allow the Board to become too large to inhibit discussion or too small to severely limit the range of expertise available.

 

9.      Honorary Members

 

It was agreed that c.4 new honorary members should be elected in Montreal.  It was agreed that the primary criterion should be distinction in ecological research or in the communication of ecological research, and that there should be a good geographical spread of honorary members.

 

10.  Any Other Business

 

(i)                 It was agreed that to explore the establishment of a new mid-career prize in ecology (normally for ecologists up to 40 years old).  Possible sponsorship for the award would also be sought.

(ii)               John Lee warmly thanked Board Members for the most fruitful and constructive meeting.

 

(Summarised by John Lee and Approved by the Board)