U P D A T E S :
FT 3, FT 6, TK 1, TK 2 and WK 3 are sold out. WK 4 and WK 5 are cancelled.

Submit Your Field Trip Proposal

2019 ESA Annual Meeting
Louisville, Kentucky
August 11 – 16, 2019


5:00 PM Eastern (2:00 PM Pacific)
Thursday, November 15, 2018

Proposals that are incomplete or received after the deadline will not be considered.

All ESA Annual Meeting proposal and abstract deadlines are 5:00 PM Eastern so that technical support and ESA staff assistance will be immediately available when submitters need it. If you begin your submission very close to the deadline, you are choosing to take a risk and we will not make an exception if you don’t complete your submission in time. The form automatically closes at 5:00 EST (2:00 PST) whether you have completed your submission or not.

ESA meetings, open to ESA members and those interested in ecology, are among the most respected meetings of ecologists in the science community. ESA is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for all meeting participants and ESA staff. All participants including, but not limited to, attendees, speakers, volunteers, exhibitors, ESA staff, service providers and others are expected to abide by the ESA Meetings Code of Conduct.  The Code of Conduct applies to all ESA meeting-related events including those sponsored by organizations other than ESA but held in conjunction with ESA events, in public or private facilities. In addition, ESA members and authors of ESA publications must adhere to the ESA Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics Policy.

How to Submit

You must submit your proposal using the online submission form. Proposals sent by email will not be considered. Click the link below to begin by selecting which type of proposal you would like to submit. You will be able to return to the proposal to edit it until the submission deadline has passed. Information on how to do so will be included in two automated emails you will receive, first when you begin and then when you complete your submission.

About Field Trips

We invite proposals for field trips for the 2019 ESA Annual Meeting. Field trips allow participants to explore ecological attractions local to the meeting city and region. Trips may last part of a day, an entire day, or two days (with an overnight stay included). Most trips require bus transportation; however, we welcome walking and biking tours close to the convention center. Use of public transportation is also encouraged, if applicable. There is a vast array of things to experience within driving distance of Louisville, and we hope attendees take the chance to see what the area has to offer.

Trips that last all or most of a day are usually scheduled during the weekend prior to the beginning of the formal scientific program. Shorter trips may take place over the weekend or during the week. Field trips may be linked with other conference events – just let us know which events should be linked.

Proposal Format

The information listed below must be submitted through the online submission form. It is provided here to assist you in planning your submission. The form may differ slightly from the version listed here. Proposals that are incomplete or received by email will not be considered. You may begin a submission and then return to edit it up until the deadline.

Components of a field trip proposal

  • Trip title
  • Trip overview (250 words max.)
  • Equipment and attire. How should attendees prepare for this trip?
  • A chronological list of times and places for the trip.
  • Directions to and from the field trip site.  These will be given to the bus driver.
  • Is this a one day or overnight trip?
  • A lead organizer (Required; name, institution, and email).
  • Co-organizers (Optional; name, institution, and email for each).
  • A mobile number for the lead organizer in case we need to contact you during the trip.
  • Maximum number of participants
  • Proposed starting and ending date and time
  • Anticipated equipment needs: Hiking boots, sun screen, bug repellent, hat, swim suits, etc.
  • Food and beverage requested for your field trip. Note: box lunch, money to buy lunch, etc.
  • If applicable, outside funding to cover any fees. Include contact and amount to be contributed.
  • Is the field trip intended to be linked with another session? If so, which one?
  • Are there any reservations (hotel stay, guided tour) that need to be made in advance? If so, who should be contacted? The more specific you can be, the better.

Guidelines for Planning

This section is intended to guide your field trip planning. It includes some issues to consider in the context of the trip you hope to offer. We offer guidance so that the time and energy you’ve invested in planning and preparation results in a successful trip. All field trip information should be finalized by mid-March so that trip descriptions and costs can be included when registration for the meeting begins.

If you have questions during the planning process, please contact Christi Nam.

General guidelines

Trips are required to have one organizer who will be the point of contact for correspondence with ESA and will be asked to make decisions regarding the trip during planning. Co-organizers may also be listed, but the lead organizer is the point of contact.

  • All trips will begin and end at the Convention Center and all participants must travel with the group.
  • Trip organizers are expected to accompany the entire trip to provide information during the trip and handle any unexpected developments.
  • All aspects of each trip (transport, logistics, personnel, etc.) should be accomplished as economically as possible. The higher the trip costs, the more challenging it will be to attract registrants.
  • No financial or contractual commitments may be made without approval of Christi Nam.
  • The trip title and overview should be written with particular attention to attracting attendees. A concise title and compelling overview can make a big difference.
  • Trips that do not meet the minimum registration number (10 registrants, not counting the trip organizer and co-organizers) will be cancelled.

What is your itinerary?

The itinerary is an agenda for the trip in order of stops, including addresses for every stop. Here’s a hypothetical example.

  • 7:00 AM – Leave Kentucky International Convention Center for Mammoth Cave National Park (1 Mammoth Cave Pkwy, Mammoth Cave, KY 42259), to arrive by 9:00 AM.
  • 2:30 PM – Leave Mammoth Cave National Park for Kentucky International Convention Center (221 S 4th St, Louisville, KY 40202) to arrive by 4:30 PM.

This is a very simple example with only one destination included. The itinerary must state a specific destination(s) for the trip and a detailed itinerary which provides a list of addresses and indicates how much time will be spent in each place. This means that before submitting the proposal, the trip organizer needs to work out an overall plan for the trip that follows a realistic schedule.

Ultimately the itinerary you provide will be used by the bus driver – exactly as written. It can be revised after the proposal stage but it cannot be revised last minute (after March).

Most trips will visit one or more destinations that fall under a consistent theme. It is up to the leaders to determine the amount of interpretive material provided and the number of local experts and other resource people involved.

How many people can your trip accommodate?

Early in your planning, you should determine how many people can go on your trip.

The maximum number of participants may be determined by available space at the destination, the number of people that you are comfortable leading, the transportation limitations required by the site (e.g., if buses cannot access the site so you are limited to smaller vehicles), or by other factors. ESA staff will work with you to determine if transportation options limit this.

If the trip doesn’t meet a minimum of 10 registrants (not counting organizers and co-organizers) then it will be cancelled.

What are the transportation needs for your trip?

Transportation for all field trips will be arranged by ESA. Most trips will require buses, but walking tours and public transportation are welcome options as well. Please let us know if there are any locations on your itinerary that would be difficult to reach by bus.

Who can participate in your trip?

Your trip description should provide guidelines about the age and physical capabilities of the participants. Children under the age of 15 are not permitted on field trips. Each participant will need to sign a liability waiver release form before boarding the bus on the day of the trip.

What is the schedule for your trip?

You should determine when your trip will occur. In addition to your own schedule and time constraints posed by the trip itself, here are some things to consider.

All participants will be picked up and dropped off at the Convention Center at specific times. You should plan your trip to occur within the planned time and you should strive to stick to your schedule to avoid problems for people with other activities scheduled after the trip.

The conference begins at 5 pm on Sunday, August 11 with the Opening Plenary and ends at noon on Friday, August 16. Field trips can be scheduled for the preceding weekend (August 10-11) or during the week. The timing of your trip can strongly influence the number of participants.

Full day trips can run on either Saturday or Sunday. We typically advise against planning a full day trip during the week unless there is a strong justification for doing so. Sunday trips are more popular than Saturday because attendees need arrive only one day earlier. Keep in mind that the 5:00 PM start of the meeting on Sunday evening may limit your planned activities.

In addition to the longer weekend trips, we are always happy to see short trips proposed that take place in the morning or afternoon of a week day. These are a great opportunity to get people out of the convention center area to see some of the local attractions. Such trips should ideally be planned to minimize overlap with scientific sessions at the meeting. For example, if the trip takes place in the morning, plan to return in time for attendees to go to the afternoon sessions.

Overnight trips are allowed but with a note of caution: they are generally more difficult to fill unless the destination has very strong appeal. They require people to arrive earlier to the meeting and (usually) to arrange for additional lodging the night before the trip. Overnight trips should be scheduled to leave on Saturday and return by 5:00 PM on Sunday.

You will need to provide an agenda for your trip and detailed directions to any destinations.

This information is essential in pricing the trip.

A link to an online map service is a required part of the proposal. Click to begin trip directions from the Convention Center using Google® Maps. Once you have mapped out the directions, you can use the main menu to save a link to include in your proposal.

What financial arrangements will your trip require?

ESA does not make a profit on field trips, but we must break even.

ESA will consider the following when setting the fee for a field trip:

  • Transportation costs.
  • Breakfast, box lunches, bottled water.
  • Admission or entrance fees.
  • Other costs such as boat rentals, bicycle rentals, etc.
  • Overnight lodging and included meals (also include the bus driver’s lodging and meals).
  • Direct costs incurred by trip leaders and any other non-paying co-leaders or assistants plus 5% for contingency purposes.

ESA field trips will not:

  • Pay any guide fees or consulting fees to trip organizers or trip leaders.
  • Make charitable contributions or donations to organizations supported by the trip organizer or leader.
  • Allow trip leaders to make any kind of financial profit in running the trip.
  • Include alcohol themed destinations or activities (pub crawls, wine tastings). We know these are fun, but they need to take place on your own outside of a field trip due to liability concerns.

Evaluation Process and Criteria

Proposals for field trips are reviewed and selected by the Program Chair in consultation with the Local Program Host and any other peers s/he may invite to assess proposals. The primary criteria for acceptance include logistical feasibility, probable interest by meeting attendees, and a clearly written and compelling description. Limits of space and time may make it impossible to accommodate all worthy submissions. The Program Chair has final authority for acceptance and scheduling for any proposed field trip.

The scheduling requests of trip organizers are taken into consideration but are not guaranteed as the final scheduling. Since many trips request morning departures, the start times typically need to be staggered as a series of departures in the final scheduling.

If Your Proposal Is Accepted

All trip organizers will be notified of acceptance decisions by mid-January. At that time, organizers will be provided with instructions to begin preparing the trip for the online program in the spring. In February, trip organizers will be informed of their trip’s scheduling.

Finalized information for all accepted trips will become available in the online program when registration opens (typically in April) so that meeting attendees can browse available trips.

Cancellation Policy

Once a field trip has been accepted and listed online, cancellation imposes a serious burden. Once a scheduled field trip reaches the minimum registration, it will not be cancelled. Do not submit a proposal if you are uncertain that you will be able to fulfill your obligation to organize and conduct the trip. Once a trip is accepted by the Program Chair, cancellation by the trip organizer may preclude the acceptance of any trips proposed by the organizer for the 2020 ESA Annual Meeting.

If minimum registration is not reached by mid-June, the trip may be cancelled. ESA will be in communication with the trip organizer if this becomes likely.

Important Dates

November 15, 2018 Deadline for submitting a proposal to ESA.
January 10, 2019 Notification of acceptance sent to organizer.
February 7, 2019 Notification of scheduling (session date and time) sent to organizer.
Early April 2019 Finalized session information is available in the online program


Dr. Sarah Emery
Local Program Host
University of Louisville
Professor and Director of Graduate Studies
Biology Department
Louisville, KY 40292
Phone: (502) 852-5940
E-mail: sarah.emery@louisville.edu
Christi Nam
Associate Director, Convention & Meetings
Ecological Society of America
1990 M Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036 USA
Phone: (202) 833-8773 x 213
Fax: (202) 833-8775
Email: christi@esa.org