We are writing to update the ornithological community on our efforts to develop a business plan for the Society for Ornithology. We understand that lack of details at this point can be frustrating. However, we are working as quickly and thoughtfully as we can so that soon you will have a better idea of what we are proposing and be able to comment on it.
The following timeline will give you an idea of where we have been and where we are going between now and the NAOC in Vancouver next summer.
- Ad Hoc AOU Committee AOU20xx proposes an idea to the AOU Council that a new society be formed called the Society for Ornithology. SFO would provide expanded service to members and ornithology as a science and broaden efforts on publishing the best possible science, foster future ornithologists, promote ornithology and ornithologist as scientists, and facilitate education and outreach. SFO would not be a merger nor a federation of societies. Rather, it would be a new society organized and operated as an NGO with a board of directors and salaried staff.
- The AOU Council approved a motion that instructed our committee to further develop a business plan for this new society. The draft business plan would be reviewed and discussed at the mid-year Council meeting in February 2012.[/font][/size]
- Sue Haig presented the concept of the SFO at the AOU business meeting in Jacksonville, FL.
- Announcement of the SFO Initiative was made on the AOU, OSNA, and Ornithology Exchange websites as well as the Ornithological Newsletter. Several birding magazines also reported on the initiative.
- We contacted presidents of each OSNA society with an invitation to help plan the new society. We had positive feedback from AFO, COS, and WOS. By positive, it means they were interested in seeing how things progressed. It did not mean they endorsed the concept. Other societies wanted to wait to see what we were planning. No society rejected the concept outright.
- Our committee, now called the SFO Steering Committee, organized five subcommittees to explore possibilities and costs for the new society in the over-lapping areas of: governance and management, publications, conservation, communication, and education and outreach.
- The subcommittees are working on their reports. Committees are made up of OSNA members from across the societies. We have specific members from AOU, AFO, COS, and WOS, however, at this stage no one is representing a particular society. Rather, everyone is brainstorming about their “perfect” society for the 21st century.
- AOU Council meets to evaluate business plan. Presidents of WOS, AFO, and COS will participate in this meeting. Other OSNA presidents are welcome to join us if they are interested.
- SFO Committees revise business plan according to feedback at the Council meeting.
- SFO steering committee solicits comments from interested OSNA societies and AOU members. Other societies can solicit opinions from members as they deem appropriate.
- SFO steering committee meets monthly via teleconference with interested OSNA society presidents or representatives to revise business plan.
- SFO steering committee refines plan as per recommendations from OSNA societies.
AUGUST 2012: NAOC
- SFO steering committee meets with OSNA presidents at NAOC to further discuss plan.
- SFO committee chairs present proposed plan to AOU Council with a request to fund the launch of SFO.
- Other OSNA societies can vote to join SFO, reject joining SFO, or choose to join at another time.
- Proceed with development of SFO as approved by AOU, if not other societies.
NOTE: approval to proceed does not mean AOU or any other society will disappear. AOU would continue while SFO is in transition. Other societies would similarly follow this path (more or less) at their discretion.
You can post comments here or send them to me directly. Thanks so much for your patience with this important endeavor.
on behalf of: Bonnie Bowen, Jed Burtt, John Fitzpatrick, Frank Gill, Dylan Kesler, Brian Olsen, and Stan Senner