This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

Today we’re talking with Dr. Alysha Cypher. We asked her to share a little about what she does, about her experience as a woman in conservation, and to name a woman who inspires her.

I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Prince William Sound Science Center in Cordova Alaska. I’m a conservation scientist at heart but have worked in toxicology, physiology, and now I am working on migration patterns of Pacific herring using acoustic telemetry.  Science is a labor of love and my connection with nature has driven my career. I owe that in part to Rachel Carson. I’ve read all her books and am from a similar area in western Pennsylvania. We both grew up daydreaming about the ocean and her words seemed to always describe exactly how I felt about nature. The woman could make seaweed sound like the best thing since sliced bread.

I think it’s an exciting time to be a woman in conservation science.  Over the next couple decades we will see a shift in empowerment at the higher levels of academia and government that will better represent the diversity of people who actually work in this field. It’s already happening and other areas of STEM need to catch up.

Thank you so much to Dr. Cypher for sharing her experiences with us. Check out stories from other women we’ve highlighted this month:

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

Today we are paying tribute to an early career scientist, Dr. Adrian Dahood-Frtiz, who passed away tragically in an accident in late 2019.

Dr. Dahood-Fritz was a passionate advocate for science and conservation as well as a high achieving researcher. Her dissertation on marine protected area placement in Antarctica won her department’s Greatest Impact Award and her complex ecological modeling of marine protection areas was published this past summer, which provided new methods to understand MPA effectiveness in the context of climate change. In April of 2019 she had begun work as a Senior Scientist and Policy Advisor for the Ocean Protection Council of California that coordinates agency actions and develops policy for marine resources. Her loss is felt throughout the conservation and marine science communities and we cherish her memory as a colleague and friend. 

See her eulogies from George Mason University and the Ocean Protection Council. This piece was shared by Chelsie Romulo.

Advancing Our Policy Declarations

Looking forward, the Policy Committee is excited to further advance our Policy Declarations, including the 2020 declaration dedicated to Advancing Ecological Connectivity Implementation in the Rocky Mountains and North America and our 2018 declaration to Support Conserving and Recovering the Monarch Butterfly. The lengthy Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad articulates a multi-faceted framework for proactively addressing climate change, including a goal of “conserving at least 30 percent of our lands and waters by 2030.” For example, connectivity within and across conservation lands is key for protecting biodiversity and ecologically healthy landscapes. The North American SCB Policy Committee will highlight these declarations for key leaders in the new administration and identify additional ways that the North American Section can meaningfully contribute to the exciting new agenda.

Biden/Harris Executive Action Alignment with SCBNA Priorities

Given our mission to build an equitable and diverse community to advance the science and practice of conserving the Earth’s biological diversity and people’s place within it, the North American Section of the Society for Conservation Biology has renewed optimism about the opportunities emerging with the new federal leadership in the United States. As articulated in our vision, “we conceive of SCBNA as a diverse community of conservation professionals, practitioners, and stakeholders, and a leading scientific voice for the study and conservation of Earth’s biological diversity.”

Since January 20th, the Biden-Harris Administration has issued over fifty executive actions directed at addressing the coronavirus pandemic, restoring lost ground since 2016, and addressing equity, immigration and the environment. With the promise of renewed commitment to both stewardship of the environment and to do so equitably and inclusively, our Policy Committee is embarking on a new collaboration with our Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee to inventory the Biden Administration Executive Orders and Memoranda for relevance, alignment and convergence with our mission and vision. For example, the top initiatives of the Policy Committee already include climate change adaptationendangered speciesscientific integrity and environmental justice, all of which are mentioned explicitly in Executive Orders (EO’s) signed to date.

Likewise, SCBNA’s Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee works to advance these tenets in the field of conservation across all levels, including the public, students, professionals, and leaders in the field. The Biden Administration’s emphasis on environmental justicesocial justicedecolonization of conservationdiversity and inclusion, and their integration across all areas of government, has inspired SCBNA and our Committees to seek meaningful ways to work collectively on these important and timely priorities. As a first step, we have completed an initial inventory of the Presidential EO’s against the mission and vision of the North American section of SCB and created a brief checklist highlighting areas of alignment (image in left column). Several of the Executive Actions by the Biden Administration also underscore opportunities for enhanced cooperation and collaboration between the US and Canada to amplify outcomes for conservation, climate change and environmental justice, across our shared North American landscape (right column of image).

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

We asked Dr. Rachel Golden Kroner to share a little bit about her career, her experiences as a woman in conservation, and about women who inspire her.

I am a conservation social scientist, fundamentally motivated by concern for the state of our planet and belief in the moral imperative for action. Research and evidence-based policy are an important part of shaping a more sustainable future. I take an interdisciplinary approach to research, focus on area-based conservation systems like protected areas, and study how they change over time. At Conservation International, I lead the global PADDDtracker initiative, which studies and raises awareness of legal rollbacks to protected areas and applies insights to inform conservation policy and practice. You can learn more about my research here.

As a woman conservation, I recognize the strides we have made, but also see how far we have to go. Across fields, we have not reached parity in terms of women in leadership positions or equitable pay. All of us can and should be part of the solution. Instead of telling women to “lean in” or that they have “imposter syndrome,” everyone – especially those with more power – can work to create more just, diverse, inclusive, and equitable cultures through our personal and professional spheres of influence. Specifically for scientists, this includes: citing and nominating women; collaborating with women in proposals, publications and conference symposia; and hiring, paying equitably, promoting, and listening to women. This requires a daily practice (by men and women!), and involves checking ones biases around each decision and interaction. In the long term, I think we should aim for a world in which we celebrate the achievements of women and men on their merits every day – not just on days like International Women’s Day.

I am inspired by any woman in conservation who has persisted through challenges and holds strong – there are so many! I am especially inspired by the women on the front lines, leading their communities in securing their rights, opposing unwanted development projects, and pushing for systemic change at the grassroots level. These environmental defenders face some of the most challenging circumstances imaginable to protect their communities and environments.

Thank you so much to Dr. Golden Kroner for sharing with us. You can keep up with her work by following her on Twitter at @RachGolden and on LinkedIn.

Check out the previous women in conservation we’ve highlighted this month.

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

We asked Dr. Chelsie Romulo to share a little bit about her career and her experiences as a woman in conservation.

Chelsie Romulo is a professor in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research spans several resource management contexts, but consistently seeks to understand what works and why to explain what contextual characteristics result in impacts and outcomes. She uses mixed methods approaches to integrate quantitative and qualitative data that can be applied to many different management and policy situations and frequently make use of existing data in new contexts. A former SESYNC graduate student pursuit member and Smithsonian-Mason Doctoral Fellow in Conservation, her dissertation research focused on community-based natural resource management in the Peruvian Amazon. Another aspect of her research interests delves into evaluating enabling conditions for payments for ecosystem services programs using big data machine learning models. She is currently PI of an NSF IUSE grant using machine learning techniques as an assessment tool to understand how students learn complex sustainability topics.

Every time I’m asked about inspirational leaders, I always point out Dr. Ellie Sattler from the 1993 Jurassic Park movie. Seeing that movie as a young child was hugely influential because this was the first time I ever saw a woman on the big screen whose main character trait was being a respected scientist and expert (For older audiences, I’d also point out Ripley in the Alien movies as an earlier movie example). I don’t think it had even occurred to me before that point that I could be a scientist or what a scientist could look like. I think it’s so important for young people to be able to see themselves in future careers.  

Thank you so much to Dr. Romulo for sharing with us. You can keep up with her work by following her on Twitter @ChelsieRomulo.

Check out the previous women in conservation we’ve highlighted this month.

This March, to celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, SCB North America is highlighting women in conservation who inspire us.

We would like to introduce you first to Dr. Sheila Colla. Dr. Colla is an Assistant Professor, York Research Chair in Interdisciplinary Conservation Science, and Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change at York University. We asked her to share a little about what she does, about her experience as a woman in conservation, and to name a woman who inspires her.

I am a conservation scientist researching wild bumblebees in Canada and the USA. In addition to studying their ecology and conservation status, I’ve recently moved my research program into understanding stakeholder perception and disrupting mainstream narratives. I help run the community science program BumbleBeeWatch and co-authored “The Bumblebees of North America: an identification guide” (Princeton University Press 2014). For SCBNA, I’m on the EDI and policy committees and am the North American Coordinator for the IUCN SSC Bumblebees Specialist Group. 

Being a woman, and a woman of colour, in conservation is extremely challenging, despite the many privileges I have. Despite my accomplishments, my expertise is often overlooked, especially in the field of entomology which is very much white, male-dominated. I have had grants rejected because I am “too much of an activist and not a scientist” because I call out injustices and broader oppressive systems as I see them. I have left committees where I see racism and sexism run rampant. I avoid conferences and social events which lack diversity. Now that I’ve moved into a new stage of my career, I am lucky to be able to be more selective and to surround myself with folks I trust and give my energy where I think it is valued. 

In terms of inspiration, the climate justice writer Mary Heglar wins as someone everyone should know and follow. Her piece “Home Is Always Worth It” is incredible. It serves as a reminder that despite all the struggles we face, socially and environmentally, the work we do is still important and worthy. 

Thank you so much to Dr. Colla for sharing her experiences with us. To keep up with her work, follow her here:

Lab research:

Finding Flowers Project:

YorkU BeeC Research Group:

Twitter: @savewildbees

The North America Society for Conservation Biology is appalled by the invasion of the Capitol building by white nationalists. We are equally appalled by the clear difference in police response in which white supremacists violently breaking into federal buildings are met with very little resistance and people of color protesting peacefully or simply walking in a national park are met with militarized police violence and brutality, in many cases resulting in their death.  We recognize that many of our members know all too well these harsh realities of institutionalized racism in their professional and personal lives and that all of us live within human and natural communities that are negatively impacted by how marginalized peoples are systemically oppressed.  We also recognize that these vital issues are inseparable from who we are, how we do our work, and the fate of biodiversity.  

The board of SCBNA reaffirms our commitment to continuing to work to address systemic racism and biased power structures in our own organization and within conservation biology, be it in our academic institutions, organizations, research projects, foundations or communities we work within.  We also commit to using our unique voice to call on the new administration to make addressing institutionalized racism, sexism, ableism, and other forms of discrimination an immediate priority.

*Statement authored by SCBNA Board Member Dr. Jessa Madosky, Past-President


The Board of Directors of the Society for Conservation Biology North America

Karen Root, President
Rebecca McCaffery, President-Elect
Jessa Madosky, Past-President
Gerald Singh, Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Officer
Rebecca Hufft, Treasurer
Alysha Cypher, Secretary & Chapters Representative
Jessica Pratt, Vice President for Education & Chapters
Erin Sexton, Vice President for Policy & Programs
Melissa Cronin, Student Representative
Lauren Jonaitis, Member at Large
Paige Olmsted, Member at Large

*As of 12/17/20, SCBNA has completed review of applications and is no longer accepting applications for this position. Thank you to everyone who submitted applications!

The SCBNA board and staff are pleased to offer a remote, part-time, 6-month paid communications internship with our Communications Committee. The aim of this position is to increase SCBNA’s capacity to communicate and interact with members and potential members. We seek applicants who have experience and/or education in communications, writing, social media, and/or marketing, as well as education or training in ecology and/or conservation biology. The successful candidate is expected to provide support on SCBNA’s social media accounts, as well as seek new and innovative ways to reach and interact with our diverse membership. Desired content across communication platforms will include updates and announcements, information about our biennial conference, the North American Congress of Conservation Biology (NACCB), and general conservation news and storytelling. The successful applicant may also assist with other communications outreach, such as e-newsletters and website content. Candidates who have experience in updating website content are highly desired. The intern will regularly interact with and gauge the online/communications needs of SCBNA members, will report directly to the Communications Committee Chair and Director of Operations, and may collaborate with other Communications Committee members. Regular meetings and communications with these parties will be required.


  • Knowledge and experience with digital communication tools, including social media platforms
  • Interest, education, and/or training in ecology and conservation biology
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Experience with graphic design, photography, and web-based design programs.
  • Creativity in communicating content in effective and unique ways

TIME COMMITMENT: Five (5) to eight (8) hours a week for six (6) months with target start date in January 2021

COMPENSATION: $20 an hour for six (6) months, estimated 5-8 hours per week

APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Applicants should submit the following application materials electronically in a single pdf document to be considered for this position: Resume, cover letter, and names and contact information for two (2) references.

To apply, please email your application to Communications Committee Chair, Lauren Jonaitis, Review of applications will begin December 1, 2020. Review of applications has been completed and we are no longer accepting applications for the position. Inquiries about the position should be directed via email to Lauren Jonaitis. The anticipated approximate start date for the internship is January 2021.

SCBNA is committed to increasing equity and inclusion within the field of conservation biology and in its board and staff members. To this end, SCBNA has an Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Officer on the board and an Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee. We offer grants to attend congresses, follow best practices in conference design (including such things as gender neutral bathrooms, providing a private place for nursing or other needs, providing sign language interpreters, etc.), run sessions on equity and inclusion at congresses, and are currently working on an Allyship program to increase the effectiveness of allies in addressing equity issues in the field of conservation. We recognize that this work will never be complete and we are committed to continually evaluating and improving our equity and inclusion work.

As noted above, SCBNA strives to advance equity and inclusion in the field of conservation and within our organization. We strongly encourage members of underrepresented groups in the field of conservation to apply for this position. Applicants are not required to be current members of the Society for Conservation Biology.

In This Issue

  • NACCB 2020 Updates – Call for Proposals Deadline Extension to November 6, 17:00 MT!
  • News from the NA Equity, Inclusion & Diversity Committee: Allyship Program in Development
  • Conservation News and Perspectives from the North
  • NA Chapters Update
  • SCBNA Annual Members’ Meeting – December 2019
  • COMPASS Message Box Workbook now available in Spanish!