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 webinar recording for the second in the 2021 SCBNA Student Affairs Webinar Series is now available on the SCB North America YouTube Page. We sincerely thank the wonderful panelists for their time and the attendees for their excellent questions that prompted valuable discussions during the webinar.

The next webinar in the series will take place in March: Stakeholder Engagement Across Multiple Institutions in Conservation. The date and time and a link to register for the March webinar will be available on this webpage very soon.

Many thanks to the Student Affairs Subcommittee for organizing this series. Other topics coming later this year include Conservation in Practice; Equity & Inclusion in Conservation and Research; Multiple Ways of Knowing in Conservation and Ecology; and Conservation + Social Science. Stay tuned!

If you are interested in joining the subcommittee, please email the Chair, Melissa Cronin:

Make a difference in conservation and give back to your conservation community. Nominate yourself or someone else to serve on the Society for Conservation Biology North America (SCBNA) Board of Directors. 

The Society for Conservation Biology is an international professional organization dedicated to advancing the science and practice of conserving the Earth’s biological diversity. SCBNA represents the North American continent north of Mexico (i.e., Canada and the United States). Although Mexico is a member of SCB’s Latin America and Caribbean Section, SCBNA members collaborate with Mexican colleagues on transboundary conservation issues. SCBNA envisions a world where people share diverse views of the value of diversity of life on Earth, and collaboratively work toward conservation among these plural understandings. 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. SCBNA also works with other scientific societies and conservation organizations in North America to advance the application of science to conservation practice.

The Society for Conservation Biology’s North America Section invites you to nominate SCBNA members to stand for election for two open positions on the SCBNA Board of Directors. SCBNA is especially interested in increasing equity and inclusion at all levels, including on the board, and encourages nominations of individuals from historically underrepresented groups. Every board member attends one in-person meeting (financial support for travel is available) and 4-5 virtual SCBNA Board meetings per year plus performs committee work (e.g., meetings, writing). If cost of membership is a deterrent to nomination, the board will consider covering membership fees for successful nominees.

Historically, most nominations have been self-nominations which are always welcome. Before you nominate someone else, please ask if they are willing to be considered. Please indicate the office(s) for which you seek consideration. Each nominee must be a current member of SCBNA and demonstrate relevant skills and experience to the position being covered. After reviewing nominees, the SCBNA Nominations Committee will put forward the slate of candidates for each office and announce the start of the voting period. The term of each elected officer will begin July 1, 2021.

The call for nominations is open now through April 2, 2021. See the attached Board Code of Conduct and the SCBNA Bylaws for position descriptions and expectations of board members, and refer to the SCBNA website for further information on the section and activities. Please contact Karen Root, and Megan Keville, with additional questions regarding these positions.

The open seats are:

  • President-Elect (6-year term: 2 as President-Elect, 2 as President, 2 as Past-President): The President-Elect serves on the Executive Committee of the SCBNA Board, chairs the Conference Committee, and provides support for the President, including filling in as needed.  Chairing the conference committee includes playing a significant role in selecting the location for the upcoming NACCB as well as co-chairing the organizing committee for that meeting. The President provides leadership of the organization and the NA Board, as well as supervising NA staff and serving as the NA representative to the SCB Board of Governors. This includes attending both SCB Board of Governors and leading SCBNA Board meetings. The Past President provides support to the President providing institutional knowledge and support for the transition. Nominees for this position must have previously served on the SCBNA Board or another SCB Board (e.g., working group or SCB global board).
  • Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Officer (3-year term): The Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Officer serves on the Executive Committee of the SCBNA Board, chairs the standing Equity, Inclusion and Diversity Committee, and participates regularly in quarterly board calls and meetings. The EID Officer facilitates and carries out initiatives designed to promote equity, inclusion and diversity within SCBNA, and works to increase equity, inclusion and diversity in the field of Conservation across all levels. This includes both mainstreaming equity, inclusion, and diversity in all regular tasks and events (such as the biannual North American Congress for Conservation Biology) and carrying out special projects intended to mainstream equity, inclusion, and diversity across the field of research and practice. The position requires exposure and experience in dealing with and addressing issues of equity, inclusion, and diversity in an institutional setting. We acknowledge that no one candidate will be able to fully understand and anticipate all experiences and impacts relevant for this role, so the position requires someone willing to work broadly across the board and society at large.

To submit a nomination please fill out the nomination form linked below by Friday, April 2, 2021. Please email with any questions. Elections will open in April 2021. Terms will begin July 1, 2021.


Nomination Form — Board of Directors, Society for Conservation Biology – North America Section 2021

Nominations are sought for:
• President-Elect (6-year term; 2 as President-Elect, 2 as President, 2 as Past-President)
• Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Officer (3-year term)

DEADLINE: April 2, 2021
ELECTIONS: April 2021

Nominees must be members in good standing with the Society for Conservation Biology as well as members of the North America Section, and must be willing to run for election before the deadline. In addition, we encourage nominations of candidates from both the US and Canada to achieve geographic diversity in our board representation. In this round of elections, we seek to fill at least one of the two open positions with a Canadian colleague.

By agreeing to stand for election, nominees indicate their willingness to serve the SCB North America Section by attending Board of Directors meetings during their term of office. In-person meetings occur yearly (coincident with NACCB during Congress years) with multiple virtual meetings throughout the year. In addition, Board members are expected to be actively engaged in directing the SCB North America Section through committee work and active engagement in the work of the section. Board members are also expected to adhere to the code of conduct in all aspects of their representation of SCBNA.