EFI-NEON Research Coordination Network

The Ecological Forecasting Initiative RCN:
Using NEON-enabled near-term forecasting to synthesize our understanding of predictability across ecological systems and scales (EFI-RCN)

Workshop and Meeting Announcements:

The EFI Student Association (EFISA) is hosting an Early Career meeting on June 14-15, 2021.  This 2-day meeting will focus on enabling early career (undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs) scientists to participate in ecological forecasting. The meeting will center around 1) developing collaborations and sharing skills amongst attendees, and 2) focus on highlighting student forecasts submitted to the EFI RCN NEON Ecological Forecast Challenge and providing skills-based workshops. Application material will be available later in March.

The EFI-RCN is hosting two virtual meetings under this year’s RCN theme of education. The first will be a one-day workshop on inclusive pedagogy on June 7, 2021, with specific aims to 1) raise awareness of best practices for creating educational tools using inclusive pedagogy principles, 2) discuss major hurdles for inclusive instruction in ecological forecasting, and 3) prioritize specific problems that EFI can help reduce through its Working Groups. 

The second will be a two-day meeting on June 28-29, 2021 focused on building a community around creating educational resources related to ecological forecasting, and where possible, utilizing the NEON Ecological Forecast Challenge forecasts, to address gaps in the existing curriculum. We will specifically focus on ways members of the EFI community can incorporate the production of educational resources into the forecasts they inform, produce, or use already. You can find a list of forecasting related educational resources HERE.

Through these meetings, our overarching goal is to improve access to the discipline of ecological forecasting for anyone interested in forecasting at academic and non-academic institutions, at all career stages, and of all demographic backgrounds by critically considering how to fill existing gaps in learners’ education with an explicit consideration of equity and inclusion.

Because of the hands-on and discussion-based approach we are taking to these meetings, both virtual meetings will have limited attendance with 30 participants at the inclusive pedagogy workshop and 50 participants at the two-day education meeting. To ensure that we maintain diverse participation, applications are available for the Inclusive Pedagogy Workshop and the Education Meeting and both will be due May 1, 2021. We encourage all members of the EFI community to consider submitting an application to one or both of the meetings, regardless of career stage, experience in ecological forecasting, or disciplinary background.

EFI-RCN Overview

Vision: Solve the challenge of predicting nature and, ultimately, forecast the effects of alternative environmental policies and actions.

Goal: Create a community of practice that builds capacity for ecological forecasting by leveraging NEON data products.


  1. Define community standards and best practices for developing, sharing, and archiving forecasts and models
  2. Increase the number and diversity of NEON-enabled forecasts by developing and hosting the NEON Ecological Forecasting Challenge
  3. Create educational materials to empower scientists at all career stages to forecast using NEON data products
  4. Support the creation of software to produce NEON-enabled forecasts at intensive and collaborative coding-focused workshops
  5. Align forecast outputs and decision support with the needs of forecast users at mission-driven agencies to guide decision making, and
  6. Synthesize forecasts to examine how limits to forecastability vary across ecological systems and scales.
Overview of the EFI-RCN and the NEON Ecological Forecasting Challenge

Actual and Proposed Network Activities:

The RCN held its first Workshop on May 12-13, 2020. Here are details from the Workshop. Here are videos from the Workshop Sessions.


Project PI: R. Quinn Thomas (Virginia Tech, rqthomas@vt.edu)

Steering Committee: Michael Dietze (Boston University), Melissa Kenney (University of Minnesota), Christine Laney (NEON), Jason McLachlan (University of Notre Dame), Carl Boettiger (University of California, Berkeley), Cayelan Carey (Virginia Tech), Andy Fox (UCAR), Leah Johnson (Virginia Tech), and Jake Weltzin (USGS)

Interested in being involved?  Join the Ecological Forecasting Initiative and sign-up for the EFI newletter to learn about EFI-RCN activities.