A year to look on with pride

From summer schools to a new journal, BES President Richard Bardgett introduces this year’s achievements for the 2018-19 Annual Review.

BES President Richard Bardgett

It’s been another year full of highlights for the British Ecological Society. Selecting what makes it into our Annual Review for the year from November 2018 to October 2019 has once again been a difficult task. This is my second year as president, and as the year draws to a close, so does my two-year term. But I could not be prouder of all that the Society does. We could fill another ten Annual Reviews with all the achievements that I have been lucky enough to see.

Science is at our core

Support for ecological science remains, rightly so, at the core of what the BES does. Our six journals continue to publish the latest ground-breaking research, and our newest journal People and Nature has exceeded all expectations for paper submissions on the interactions between humans and the natural world.

I was delighted to be in the Yorkshire Dales for the Society’s summer school for 16–18 year-olds at Malham. This week-long field studies course gave a group of 30 students from low-income and ethnic minority backgrounds an incredible taster of all that ecology is about. I was inspired by their willingness to throw themselves into the experience, discovering ecology, hearing from experts and learning from each other. I left Malham feeling that the future of ecology will be in safe hands with students like these.

We work hard to make sure we are a welcoming home for all ecologists.

A diverse and growing membership

The Society remains strong and can do so much, thanks to its enthusiastic and committed membership. The graphic below shows just how many people get involved with their society, in many different ways.

The BES has over 6,000 members who benefit from the support their membership offers for their science and careers. While most members are based in the UK, we are a truly international Society with members in 125 countries across the globe. We work hard to make sure we are a welcoming home for all ecologists. I was proud to see the number of new initiatives at our Annual Meeting in Birmingham to recognise our diversity as a community. With gender neutral toilets, quiet spaces, pronoun stickers, childcare on site and ‘please offer me a seat’ badges, we strive to make our flagship event of the year a friendly and welcoming environment for everyone.

A new home

One large change for the Society this year has been a move to a new home in central London, in between Islington and Old Street. The bright new office has been designed and fitted out to our needs with sustainability a key concern throughout. The result is fantastic and testament to the hard work of all those involved. Make sure you visit when you get a chance.

BES new premises

By the end of the year we will have a new strategy for the years 2020–2023 providing a framework for our future direction. The strategy will set out our values and goals, based on inputs from across the Society and extensive external consultation, and it will be full of bold ideas and ambition. Its formation has been a positive discussion throughout the year, and strongly reflects the view that there has been no more important time for ecological research and for our voice to be heard.

Read the highlights