Dear SER friends and colleagues
Voting for positions on the SER board has just opened. You should have received an email from the Society on Friday, with a link to the voting paper and candidate information, if you are a member. If you have not, and are a current member, please let me know.
After 13 years involved in SER activities, I have to decided to run for one of two vacant positions on the Board as a Director-At-Large. James Aronson has very kindly nominated me. I am also grateful to Carolina Murcia, Karel Prach, and Kingsley Dixon for agreeing to act as referees in the first stage of this process.
There are five candidates for two positions as Directors-at-Large. All candidates would be new to the Board. I believe that this healthy competition, and the diversity we represent is, in itself, an indication of renewed vitality in the Society.
You can read the full background to why I am applying below. This information is also available with the voting papers on the link SER has sent you via email if you are a member.
In summary, however, I would like to stress three points:
Firstly, I am an environmental journalist and lecturer, and the author of a very successful book on ecological restoration projects worldwide: “an incredibly enjoyable and thought-provoking read for the restoration scholar and general public alike”, wrote Restoration Ecology. From this background, I believe that I could contribute significantly to improving the communication of SER's vital work to both policy makers and citizens in general, through both mainstream and social media. We must succeed in communicating our message much more effectively. beyond the important but limited circle of restoration practitioners and scientists, if we are to do justice to the vast potential of restoration as a conservation and social strategy.
Secondly, like many members, I was very reassured to read the International Standards published by SER last year, which restate our core guiding principles of restoration based on indigenous reference systems, in the context of the challenges undoubtedly presented by global change. If elected, I am committed to maximum diffusion of these standards, as well as their constant revision as a living document in light of advances in science and environmental change.
Thirdly, my experience of restoration ranges from Mexico to South Africa, from Mozambique to Australia, from Chicago to Costa Rica, from Italy and SE Asia, and is rooted in my native Ireland. I think this global reach is reflected in my nominator and referees' being native to four different continents. If elected, I would strive to make the Board more representative of these diverse restoration communities, and as attentive to the insights of practitioners and indigenous communities as it is, rightly, to the rigour of scientists.
Finally, whether you are inclined to support me or not, I would ask that you read the information and statements on all five candidates for these two positions before voting. My friend and colleague Cristina Eisenberg is also running, and I know that Vicky Temperton is also a candidate of the highest calibre. I do not know the work of the other two candidates directly, but their statements are impressive and well worth reading before you reach your decision.
As well as the information below, you can find out more about me on my website.
And, if you decide to vote for me, I would very grateful if you could forward this message to your own SER network.
If there is anything you would like clarified, or you have any comments, I would be delighted to hear from you. However, please bear in mind that I am travelling until Feb 15 with mostly zero internet access, so I may not be able to reply to you until then.
Many thanks for considering my candidacy and, whatever the outcome of this election, I look forward to working with you in SER in the future.
All good wishes
Paddy Woodworth background election statements in full:
Please describe the applicant’s relevant skills and area of expertise:
Journalist, author, researcher, lecturer, communicator, activist: former arts editor and foreign desk editor at The Irish Times; also published by The International Herald Tribune, Vanity Fair, El Pais, Annals of Missouri Botanical Garden etc etc; broadcast for RTE, the BBC, Al Jazeera and Spanish and US public radio. Numerous articles on restoration; reported on SER conferences, both international and European, since 2005, for The Irish Times. Books published by Oxford, Yale and (on restoration) Chicago University Presses. Lectured on restoration at US and Irish institutions, including Dartmouth College, NY Botanical Garden, EPA ( Ireland). Taught 5-seminar restoration course at DePaul University, Chicago. Co-founder, Irish Forum on Natural Capital. Spanish fluent, French functional. Website: www.paddywoodworth.com
In no more than 250 words, please describe (in third person) the applicant’s educational background, experience in restoration, and any other relevant information:
BA (Hons) in English language and literature, Trinity College, Dublin. Fellow, International Writing Program, U of Iowa. Fellow, Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College. Adjunct Senior Lecturer, University College, Dublin. Research Associate, Missouri Botanical Garden. Member, European Cultural Parliament. Founder member, Irish Forum on Natural Capital.
Restoration experience: 10 years’ researching and writing Our Once and Future Planet: Restoring the World in the Climate Change Century (U of Chicago Press, 2013), described by Restoration Ecology as “an incredibly enjoyable and thought-provoking read for the restoration scholar and general public alike,” by Science as “a clear and thoughtful description of the historical and theoretical underpinnings of restoration ecology with detailed accounts of projects from around the world”, by the South African Journal of Science as “a scholarly and most informed account of the current state of restoration ecology…an excellent critique of science at work.”
Participation in SER conferences: Plenary speaker (“Working for Water”, Perth 2009); presentation on communicating restoration, Mérida 2011); co-organiser/chair, symposium (‘Novel Ecosystems: New Normal or Red Herring?” České Budějovice 2012), organiser/chair, symposium ("The historically-based reference system in a rapidly changing world: a nostalgic anachronism, or a cornerstone concept for restoration?", Madison 2013); co-organiser/chair, symposium (“Mind Your Language! Communication and Miscommunication in Restoration Writing”, Manchester 2015); co-organiser/chair, symposia (“Big Ideas: Big Practice”, Iguaçu 2017). Edited SER Newsletter (May 2017). Work in establishing the Irish Forum on Natural Capital driven by desire to develop a working convergence between policy makers, NGOs, state agencies and general public on environmental issues.
Please describe, in no more than 250 words, why the applicant wants to serve on the SER Board of Directors.
I believe that ecological restoration is the cutting-edge conservation strategy to meet the great challenges of our climate change century; SER is the most effective catalyst for developing, clarifying and implementing restoration concepts within the international scientific and environmentalist communities. The new SER International Standards are a superb tool for interested parties, and have moved us beyond the futile cul-de-sac that the so-called ‘novel’ ecosystems theory created. All this is due to many years’ admirable and dedicated work by members, board and staff.
But we must now reach beyond “interested parties”, beyond preaching to the choir. The failure of SER boards to prioritise and resource the communication of these messages to a much broader public is notable and frustrating. Effective interaction with print, electronic and social media is lacking. At conference after conference, stimulating and widely relevant debates, and newsworthy and media-friendly individuals, go largely unnoticed by local, national and international media outlets. Unless a wider public is engaged with the restoration message, there is little hope that our well-founded proposals for restoring biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being will prosper.
I ask for your support because, as a journalist, author and lecturer who has widely and successfully communicated restoration, I can bring a committed voice and an experienced skill-set to the board to help remedy this media deficit. I can contribute as someone grounded in the humanities but scientifically literate, an outsider-insider who can help bring restoration’s promise to our ultimate stake-holders, the public.
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