Survey Results: What you think of the Society for Conservation Biology?

The SCB Oceania Board sent out a survey last year to better understand the needs of our members. The survey included a range of topics: motivations for membership, how effective you think we currently are as a Society, and where you would like to see us invest our time and resources. Survey results will help us respond to members needs by shifting priorities and focusing our annual work plans. Here’s what we heard from our members.

Who did we hear from?
We had 76 responses to our survey (a 23% response rate relative to our 370 registered members). Respondents were primarily female (70%), and worked as research scientists or students (56% and 24% respectively). While most respondents were from Australia and New Zealand (75%), we also heard from broader Pacific members as well as members living around the world. Most respondents primarily worked in marine and terrestrial realms: 49% terrestrial, 43% marine, 6% freshwater and 2% subterranean.

Did our members think we should change the name of the Society?
There is some discussion that the Society’s name does not adequately represent the breadth of what we do. So we asked our members what they thought about changing the name to the Society for Conservation Science. A majority affirmed that the name should stay the same with 44% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing with a change, while 31% agreed or strongly agreed that the name should be changed and the rest were unsure.

Why are our members part of SCB and how can we keep them engaged?
We wanted to understand motivations for joining and maintain membership with SCB and ways to keep our members engaged. Respondents chose to be a member of SCB for networking, to stay informed and to translate science into policy and management. Major barriers to membership involvement were lack of time and insufficient knowledge about how to get involved or our activities.
We’ll use this information to focus on delivering the things that originally motivated members to join but we’ll make sure to keep you informed of what we’re up to and provide opportunities to get involved.

How are we doing as a Society?
When asked if we were effective, most respondents agreed that we were effective (44.3%) or didn’t know (42.6%). Respondents thought that the things that most contribute to effectiveness of conservation were education, conservation management, policy development and working with advisory bodies. These were the same things that respondents felt SCB should focus their efforts on.
The activities that members would most like to see SCB Oceania future engagement were conservation management, publications, policy, capacity building and communications.

When investing our resources, respondents wanted SCB to focus on advocacy, education and conferences.

The SCB Oceania section has a strategic plan that guides our annual work plans and we’ve organized sub-committees so our work plans aligned with your priorities: Education and Science, Management, Policy, Capacity Building and Conferences. If you want to know more about what these committees are doing or would like to get involved, contact us via our website. Being regionally relevant is important for us as a Society and, based on the survey responses, you think so too. So, please consider getting involved in SCB Oceania on our various committees, or think about establishing a local Chapter, if there isn’t one you are a part of.

Bringing you exciting regional conferences every 2 years
Conferences were identified as a key part of our core business as a regional section. We will hold an international conference every two years and a regional conference every other year. This year the global SCB conference is in Montpellier. The planning for our 2016 regional conference is well under way and we’re excited to announce that the 2016 Oceania Congress for Conservation Biology will be held in Brisbane July 5-8.