The North America Policy Subcommittee
In 2013, the SCB Board of Governors decided to decentralize the policy program in line with a goal of developing greater capacity for regional sections to influence policy in their respective regions. Since that time, the policy office in Washington, DC, has focused primarily on North American policy issues. The North America Policy Subcommittee (NAPS) was approved by the Board of Governors with direction to merge the policy program of the North America Section with policy staff of the executive office to leverage limited resources, focus on core policy priorities that exemplify SCB's value-added policy "story" to its members and funders, be more responsive to member interests, and direct funds to those policy initiatives where SCB can make a difference. The NAPS consists of the section president, at least two section board members with policy expertise or those with such expertise from the membership that are nominated to the committee by the section president, and policy program staff of the Executive Office.
NAPS Role and Responsibilities
Professional Society Collaboration: SCB has limited resources and staff capacity but brings to the policy table a membership of over 4,000 professionals, most of whom reside in the United States. Membership matters in the policy world as members of Congress pay particular attention to this level of influence. Moreover, we are not the only professional society working on policy issues affecting biodiversity. Some other professional societies with overlapping interests include: The Wildlife Society, the American Fisheries Society, Ecological Society of America, and American Ornithologists' Union. In order to achieve cross cutting program goals and elevate the policy reach of SCB and partners, we work with other scientific societies to increase overall policy capacity, leverage policy influence, and use our expertise in collaboration with related organizations. This could take the form of joint position papers, press releases, briefings, and sign-on letters wherever possible. In this fashion, the NAPS serves as a catalyst for collaboration among professional societies and builds on SCB's history of working with others on core policy initiatives affecting biodiversity.
Scaling Up Chapter Involvement in Policy: The NAPS endeavors to work with its member chapters to look for opportunities to scale up chapter involvement in policy and identify ways to involve members in strategic plan implementation. This objective is achieved in part through the opportunities to meet with legislators and agency staff, and collaborate on public comments and formal letters, that the policy program offers to members. (For more on those opportunities, see the Get Involved in Policy page.) The NAPS will also provide strategic support and reinforcement of approved local policy oriented campaigns that are spearheaded by individual chapters. Other suggestions for ways the NAPS can help improve Chapter engagement around policy activities are welcomed.
Recommendations, Guidance and Review: In consultation with the NAPP staff, the North America Section Board, the Executive Director, and where appropriate the chapters, the NAPS will periodically make recommendations to the North America Section board regarding SCB's policy priorities. It is understood that the policy landscape is dynamic and our current three priorities (energy, climate change, and scientific integrity) may morph or give way to other important and emerging priorities. It is the goal of the NAPS to ensure that our priorities remain timely and responsive to the concerns of our members, consistent with SCB's global policy priorities, and sufficiently narrow to ensure effective leveraging of our limited resources.
North America Policy Subcommittee Members
- Carlos Carroll (Chair), Klamath Center for Conservation Research
- Dominick DellaSala, Geos Institute
- Kristin Carden, COMPASS
- Brett Hartl, Center for Biological Diversity
- Meade Krosby, University of Washington Climate Impacts Group
- Kai Chan, University of British Columbia
- Courtney Schultz, Colorado State University
- Geri Unger, Ph.D.; SCB Executive Director
How to get involved
We welcome member involvement on all aspects of North America policy and endeavor to provide information, resourses and other forms of support to members seeking to become involved in policy issues. If you are interested in become active on a policy issue, please check out the information available on our Get Involved in Policy and Resources pages, or feel free to contact NAPS chairman Carlos Carroll.