The Society for Conservation Biology Global Policy Committee welcomed Anna Mangan as a volunteer last winter. Anna talked with SCB about the Global Policy Committee and the policy review process.
Tell us about yourself
I’ve been an SCB member since 2014 when I attended my first NACCB. My undergraduate degree was in Business Administration, so I was a little late catching the conservation biology bug. But the energy, enthusiasm and amazing research from this conference left a lasting impression on me. During this same time, I was working towards my Masters in Ecology at Colorado State University (CSU). My thesis work was a collaboration with CSU and the USDA’s National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) where I investigated tradeoffs associated with birds in organic orchards. This was a period of academic and professional growth for me and I found a passionate and intelligent community of friends and colleagues that has shaped my understanding of ecology and fueled my passion for conservation.
Today I work as a Biological Sciences Technician for the Wildlife Genetics Program at the NWRC in Fort Collins, Colorado where my work focuses primarily on issues related to feral swine. I’m also passionate about promoting the inclusion of women and minorities in STEM and improving science communication, so I enjoy volunteering with mentorship organizations in my community and with SCB. In our free time, my husband Nick and I love backpacking, canoeing and finding new wilderness adventures.
What does the SCB Global Policy Committee do?
SCB recognizes that policy decisions should be effectively informed by the highest quality science to advance the conservation of biological diversity. Therefore, one of the Society’s major strategic goals is to increase the application of science to management and policy. The SCB Global Policy Committee’s primary role is to review and approve proposed policy statements. The committee also contributes to this goal by identifying policy issues to which SCB might contribute, preparing and overseeing the implementation plan of policy activities, providing technical advice on policy issues to Sections, and more. The committee is composed of representatives from the Regional Sections as well as the chairs of subcommittees responsible for global initiatives.
What is your role on the SCB Global Policy Committee?
My volunteer role is all about communication. I’ll be helping coordinate communication between SCB groups (Sections, Chapters, Working Groups and the Global Policy Committee) and the Executive Office regarding upcoming opportunities to publicize policy activities, for example, posting approved policy statements online and assisting SCB groups to draft and revise lay summaries of their policy initiatives to post as news items on the SCB Policy website. I’ll also be taking to social media in an effort to better publicize policy activities, so check in with the @SCBPolicy Twitter handle for updates.
Can you tell us about the SCB Policy review process?
Members, Chapters or other subgroups can all propose new policy position statements. A proposal is submitted to the Chair of the Policy Committee of the relevant Section or Working Group, who forwards the proposal to the Chair of the Global Policy Committee. From here the Section and Global Policy Chairs ask several questions about the proposal: 1) Is the scope of the statement regional rather than global? 2) Is it consistent with the Society’s existing policy positions? 3) Is the statement consistent with SCB’s status as a tax-exempt organization in the United States?
If the answer to all three of these questions is “yes”, the policy statement will be reviewed according to the policy approval process of the relevant Section. If the proposed statement has a global or multi-Sectional scope, the Global Policy Chair forwards it on to the Global Policy Committee for consideration and approval. In either case, once a statement is approved, it should be forwarded to the Global Policy Chair and then onto the Executive Office for posting on the SCB website. From here, I’ll work with members to create a summary for the policy news website. If needed, there are also procedures available to resolve disagreements among SCB members and groups regarding the Society’s position on a particular policy issue. More details are available in the formal Policy Approval Process adopted by the Board of Governors.
What should an SCB member or SCB group do if they are interested in submitting a policy statement?
While many policy statements originate with SCB members and groups from around the world, to be issued by SCB, policy statements must go through the Policy Approval Process outlined above. Keep in mind that most policy statements take weeks or months of work, with several rounds of revisions and editing before they are ever submitted for approval. Therefore, the SCB policy program can assist you in developing and refining a proposed policy statement and encourages you to contact them. Unless your proposal is clearly of global scope, you should typically communicate with the policy chair of your Section first to see if they have interest in working on your proposal. Contact information can be found here. It may also be helpful to review previously approved policy statements online to help guide you. Effective statement proposals are based on peer-reviewed scientific literature, are specific and are written in clear, objective language for conservation researchers, managers and policy makers.
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
I’m delighted to be a volunteer to the Global Policy Committee and I’m excited to work with the amazing people involved in the Society. I look forward to hearing from members about the important policy activities taking place around the world. As I settle into this volunteer role, I hope to help streamline the process of publicizing these. If you worked on a recently approved policy statement, or have any other ideas for how we could raise the profile of SCB’s policy activities, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to work with you.