In January 2000, ASLO opened its Washington, DC office in order to better engage aquatic scientists in US policy decisions and to inform ASLO members and the general public on aquatic science policy. Dr. Adrienne Sponberg is the ASLO Director of Communication and Science, and serves ex officio on the Public Policy Committee.
The ASLO Public Affairs Office tracks, analyzes, reports and acts upon policies of relevance to the ASLO membership. While the bulk of activity focuses on US policy, the ASLO Public Affairs Office is developing a plan for engaging in the policy arena in the European Union and Canada, to better represent its international membership. The office is also launching an additional approach to policy by adding programs that aim to inform the public (i.e., the voters) about aquatic science.
The three primary goals of the office are to:
Represent the aquatic sciences in the science policy arena
ASLO's Public Affairs Director serves as ASLO's eyes and ears in Washington, working with key policy-makers and scientific organizations to further the aquatic sciences and their use in policy-making.
Inform members of policy activities relevant to aquatic science
Through regular distribution of aquatic science policy reports and action alerts, as well as in-depth coverage of key policy issues in L&O Bulletin, the ASLO Public Affairs Director provides timely updates on issues of importance to aquatic scientists.
Facilitate member participation in policy
Affecting policy is a team effort, which is why the ASLO Public Affairs Director works to actively engage the board of directors, public policy committee, and general membership (particularly students) in policy activities through policy training workshops at conferences and in labs, assisting ASLO members with meetings with policy-makers, sponsoring a science policy internship for graduate students, nominating ASLO members for participation on relevant policy-making bodies, and issuing timely action alerts to members with an interest in policy.
In consultation with the ASLO Public Policy Committee and the ASLO Board, the ASLO Public Policy Director determines the issues and forums for involvement. ASLO works with many other scientific organizations and societies (including ESA, AGU, AIBS, AGI, AAAS, etc.) on a formal and informal basis throughout the year. ASLO partners with these and other groups through coalitions and umbrella organizations (description and links below), as well as collaborating on individual activities. These partnerships allow ASLO to work efficiently to achieve goals common to the broader science community.
ASLO focuses its policy efforts on the area of science policy -- those policies that directly affect the day-to-day research and education activities of ASLO members. These issues include, but are not limited to: scientific research funding, education policies, regulations regarding scientific publishing, and policies affecting ASLO members' abilities to collaborate internationally.
ASLO does not take positions on issues of environmental policy. However, ASLO strives to make the most recent scientific information on aquatic ecosystems available to policy-makers. Through activities such as congressional briefings and poster exhibits, the ASLO Public Affairs Office provides the political know-how and logistical assistance for ASLO members to present their research to policy leaders who make decisions regarding the management and study of aquatic ecosystems.
ASLO is planning on expanding its policy activities to better represent ASLO members living outside of the U.S. If you are an ASLO member living outside of the U.S. and are interested in providing input regarding ways that the ASLO policy office can serve you, please send an email to Adrienne Sponberg.
ASLO maintains an Aquatic Sciences Database to facilitate communication among aquatic scientists. The Policy Action Network is a targeted sub-section designed to enhance communication between the ASLO Public Policy Office, members of ASLO, and policy makers in the U.S., Canada, and the EU. Aquatic scientists who sign up for the database have the option to:
Your participation in this database effort will help ASLO fill critical communication gaps between aquatic scientists and policy makers. Click here to sign up!
Comments are always welcome and should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click on the links below for more information about Public Policy.