A Note From Our President

Greetings Ethnobiologists,

Welcome to the 42nd annual meeting of the Society of Ethnobiology! I am eager to “talk story” (borrowing a term from Hawaiian pidgin) with all of you whose minds, hearts, and souls have created ethnobiology and will shape the field’s future. As you will see in the enticing collection of presentations and posters, ethnobiologists have gathered here this May to give voice to diverse ethnobiological topics that are of both local and global significance. I offer my gratitude to all for voicing your knowledge during this year’s amazing conference.

We are fortunate to be gathering in the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking Musqueam people where stands the University of British Columbia. Many thanks to the conference organizing team and to all of the generous persons are adding to the richness of this conference through their contributions to the Wednesday workshops, lunchtime walks, and Saturday fieldtrips as well as the Thursday night movie, and the Friday night banquet. These folks are providing us a myriad of ethnobiological learning opportunities. Please extend your gratitude to members of this great team when you interact with them this week.

Our beloved Society of Ethnobiology has been flourishing since we last met one year ago in Madison, Wisconsin. The Society’s heart beats because our scholarship program is supporting undergraduate and graduate students, and early- mid- and late-career ethnobiologists through a superb collection of graduate fellowships, an undergraduate and a lifetime achievement award, poster and presentation awards, travel scholarships, and conference waivers. In our incomparable publications division, the Society continues to distribute leading-edge ethnobiology in the stalwart Journal of Ethnobiology quarterly, the open-access Ethnobiology Letters periodical, the ebook Contributions monograph collection, the spirited Forage! blog, and our networking-powerhouse Facebook and Twitter accounts. While the Society’s official size has ranged from 300–400 members in 2018–2019,
our publications division expands our reach to a much broader network: we have 4,767 Facebook followers plus another 1,384 Twitter followers. In the ethics arena, a team of ethics-minded ethnobiologists has been actively endeavoring to establish a Code of Conduct for Meetings. Moreover, the Society continues to expand its collaborations with likeminded professional organizations such as the Latin American Society of Ethnobiology, the International Society of Ethnobiology, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science with whom we are currently working to establish formal affiliation.

We have seen several new scholars join our leadership this year. Sarah Walshaw becomes President at the end of our 2019 conference and, I predict, will be an absolutely fantastic luminary. Jade Guedes has brought outstanding intelligence and stellar wisdom to the first year in her role as Secretary of the board. We also welcome four new members to the board: Liz Olson (President Elect), Mac Marston (Treasurer), Kali Wade (Publicity & Community Engagement Coordinator), and Sam Bosco (Student Engagement Coordinator). Simultaneous to onboarding new scholars, the Society has also, unfortunately, lost three beloved colleagues during the past year. The passing of Adam Dick, Jessica Mae Orozco, and Al Keali‘i Chock has given us pause to reflect upon what we mean to one another. We are a strong community who cherishes each of our members and deeply mourns their departure. We will miss you Adam, Jessica, and Al. If the soul grows in dark places, then the architecture of my soul is more
elaborate now than it was a year ago.

Serving as the Society’s President for the 2017–2019 term has been an honor and privilege. May 11, 2019 marks the conclusion of a 13-year term of service to the Society during which I served as the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Ethnobiology; Secretary; a founding Co-Editor for Ethnobiology Letters; Vice President; and finally President. My hope is that my work for the Society has bridged a temporal span between the stellar leaders who served before me and the rising leaders who will serve after me. This long-lived scholarly organization, founded by Steve Weber and Steve Emslie, consists of engaged members and, at the same time, transcends the engagement of any single individual. Our Society is thriving!

Carry forth and enjoy the conference!

Cissy Fowler,
President of the Society of Ethnobiology