The EcoHealth Network – A Brief History
James Aronson is restoration ecologist and longtime member of the Society for Ecological Restoration. In the fall of 2016, following 30 years of academic and applied work on various aspects of ecological restoration, he moved from Montpellier, France, back to the United States, where he works as a senior scientist at the Missouri Botanical Garden's Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development. In late 2017, each with a sense of urgency to address the crises threatening life on Earth, James joined economist Neva Goodwin, engineer Laura Orlando, and ecologist Cristina Eisenberg to form the Steering Committee of what is now the EcoHealth Network (EHN).
The Committee met numerous times, and communicated non-stop between meetings, to define and write up the objectives of EHN. The process turned up many wonderful discoveries, communities, and friendships. The group committed to building a global action network to rapidly expand restoration activities and projects, while strengthening restoration's engagement with soil health, public health, and cities. EHN's close ties to the Missouri Botanical Garden led to work in the city of St. Louis, Missouri, and nearby regions, where it hopes to create a flourishing culture of restoration. Boston, Massachusetts and its environs, will be its next city-region project, with others to follow.
EHN reached several milestones in early 2019: establishing our website, holding a public meeting in St. Louis to launch EcoHealth-St. Louis, and hosting, at the Missouri Botanical Garden, an international workshop to bring together people engaged with restoration ecology, soil science, and public health, all feeling the same sense of urgency that started the EcoHealth Network.