American Ornithologists' Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society merge to form AOS
Two of the oldest and most influential professional ornithological societies in the world have legally merged, forming the American Ornithological Society (AOS), an organization devoted to advancing research focused on birds in the Western Hemisphere, promoting their conservation, and training the next generation of scientists.
Nearly 3,000 members of the American Ornithologists' Union and the Cooper Ornithological Society approved the merger earlier this year in association with the North American Ornithological Conference held in Washington DC. Under the leadership of executive director Melinda Pruett-Jones, AOS is based in Chicago at the Field Museum of Natural History. For more information on the new AOS and the merger process, visit www.americanornithology.org.
"Over the past six years we have actively collaborated as separate organizations: meeting together, publishing our journals jointly and working together to benefit the conservation of birds. After fact-finding and due diligence, and in response to the tremendous positive feedback from our membership, I am proud to announce a single merged society that will advance ornithology by combining our assets — human, financial and intellectual," said AOS president Steven Beissinger.
The largest ornithological society in the Western Hemisphere, AOS produces scientific publications of the highest quality, hosts intellectually engaging and professionally vital meetings, serves ornithologists at every career stage, pursues a global perspective, and informs public policy on all issues important to ornithology and ornithological collections. AOS assets now exceed $10 million in support of ornithology, and it will invest nearly $1 million to advance its mission in its first year as a merged society.
The new organization is undertaking new initiatives to help students, early professionals and international members and to address the needs of scientists, academics and conservation professionals in advancing knowledge, not only in the Western Hemisphere but across the globe. AOS also recently launched a program to encourage members to reach out to their local communities and showcase ornithology as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field students might not have considered.
"The society is redoubling past efforts to prepare future generations of scientists and conservation leaders. Success requires a multi-dimensional approach that integrates science, new technologies, public policy and citizen outreach; works with other ornithological and scientific communities; and collaborates with local, state, federal and international government entities," said former American Ornithologists' Union president Susan Haig, who began the merging effort in 2010.
"AOS is distinguished by its tremendous collective expertise, eminent scientists, conservation practitioners, early career innovators, and students. The society will especially focus on attracting diversity in the profession," said former Cooper Ornithological Society president Martin Raphael.
The first meeting of the new AOS will be held July 31 to August 5, 2017 on the campus of Michigan State University.