The Strategies in Ecology Education, Development, and Sustainability, better known as SEEDS, program was established in 1996. This award-winning education program aims to “diversify and advance the ecology profession through opportunities that stimulate and nurture the interest of underrepresented students to participate, and to lead in ecology.”
Through SEEDS, ESA has seen an increase in the participation of underrepresented undergraduate students at ESA meetings, and SEEDS mentoring activities and outreach efforts have been instrumental in developing interest in ecology among minority undergraduate students. SEEDS accomplishes this by providing undergrad and graduate travel awards to aid attendance at ESA annual meetings, as well as local activities through dozens of campus chapters across seven regions. Leadership programs, field trips, and seminars are among potential events at campus, regional, and national levels. Opportunities for summer research are awarded through SEEDS Partnerships for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) fellowships each year.
In 2006, SEEDS received the 2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, established by the White House in 1995. SEEDS was also recognized with the 2008 American Institute for Biological Science (AIBS) Diversity Leadership Award.