Biological and Agricultural Engineering professor and department Extension leader Michael Burchell was recently elected as president of the American Ecological Engineering Society. The appointment, which started in June 2021, marks the society’s 22nd anniversary along with a new agenda.
Founded on principles introduced by H.T. Odum, the society is the premier ecological engineering association in the United States. Its membership includes academic and industry professionals, as well as a robust group of graduate and undergraduate students, who commit to the design of sustainable ecosystems that integrate human society with the natural environment for the benefit of both.
“We believe that ecological engineering principles will be the key to solving many existing and emerging environmental challenges,” says Burchell.
”Our goal this year is to strengthen the society by increasing membership and communicating with the public and private sectors what it is that we do. An important message that we are trying to convey is that our society is not just open to engineers, but also to other disciplines that are key to successful ecological engineered projects, such as ecologists, hydrologists, soil scientists, sociologists, and economists”
Burchell notes the society’s focus and increasing capability to connect students with a high volume of faculty and industry professionals. “We are doing a better job to intentionally create collaboration spaces through a new webinar series and at the conference for students, faculty and practitioners to engage with each other.”
For practitioners, membership is an opportunity to share ideas and build partnerships with universities where those ideas can be researched and tested.
The society is also beginning an open source journal titled the Journal of Ecological Engineering Design managed by the University of Vermont Libraries. The peer-reviewed journal will include research, design and philosophies related to ecological engineering principles.
“An open source journal provides access to everyone without a subscription” Burchell explains. “We want to create opportunities that follow through on our commitment to education and outreach.”
The 2022 conference, which will be the first in-person event since the beginning of the pandemic, will be held in Baltimore, MA on June 20-23 and is sponsored by the University of Maryland. More information about the society can be found here or by emailing Michael Burchell.