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WFAE: UP FRONT President’s Report by Eric Leonardson

Eric LeonardsonWFAE President’s Report - January to March 2016

2016 is poised to be an exceptionally positive year for WFAE as we face many social and environmental challenges. Last month, the WFAE Board unanimously approved as the new WFAE Vice Presidents Leah Barclay, President of the Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology, and Eric Powell, who is also the new WFAE Representative for the Canadian Association for Sound Ecology. In November, Simo Alitalo, a longtime advocate and practitioner, became the new WFAE Representative for the Finnish Society for Acoustic Ecology. Following many years of effort, the Mexican Forum for Acoustic Ecology returns to an active status. Please see our WFAE Affiliate news page for details.

With Leah and Eric as the new WFAE Vice Presidents, WFAE leadership hopes forward thinking and strategic planning will tap the potential for a more active and vibrant organization. On a practical level, we have opportunities to coalesce communities around the concerns of acoustic ecology, drawing together through revitalizing existing partnerships and establishing new ones. A fortified and diversified international network of scientific, artistic and educational organizations will provide a more effective way of providing WFAE endorsements. More intentional interaction with those interested in working across and in the interstices of multiple disciplines can significantly impact the reach of our work.

Opportunities for engaging a wider community in 2016 are listed on the Calendar. I will mention several of them here:

On January 17, the annual “Art’s Birthday,” kicks off a new year packed with global media and acoustic transmission art events.

Water is essential for life and a powerful, universal metaphor. Using metaphors of water, the 2016 Waterwheel World Water Days Symposium in March offers another opportunity for global community engagement as a significant amount of its concerns involve acoustic communication.

Following the successful WFAE endorsed conference in 2015, we anticipate the next Balance-Unbalance 2016: “Data Science + Eco Action” on May 9-12 in Manizales, Colombia, will coalesce communities around shared concerns of acoustic ecology, addressing the profound social and environmental challenges we now face.

The International Society of Ecoacoustics (ISE) convenes its Ecoacoustics Congress in June and in October we can look forward the second iteration of Invisible Places | Sounding Cities. In October 2016 the second Invisible Places | Sounding Cities Symposium takes place on St. Miguel in the Azores.

The provocative theme “Sounds Lost and Found” for World Listening Day on July 18, 2016, allows WFAE to organize initiatives around a broad base of individual and institutional interest addressing everyone’s fundamental experiences and needs in listening and sound making, as well as the impact of lost soundscapes on animal life.

The next Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology, guest edited by American Society for Acoustic Ecology member Jay Needham, is due for publication in February. Thank you to all who contributed to another excellent edition of WFAE’s flagship publication.

WFAE Secretary Chris DeLaurenti has been diligently building a new WFAE website slated for launch this spring. Revisions include consolidation of our Internet resources in an easy to navigate section and tools for easier, better promotion of WFAE Affiliate activities globally. With the enhanced features of the new website, we have proposed a migration of the WFAE email list to a new service. Access to a free digital [PDF] version of the 2014-15 “Canacoustica” edition of the Soundscape journal will be included.

Many WFAE Affiliates have started with only a small group of dedicated individuals. To learn about the process of starting a WFAE Affiliate Organization, please view the suggested guidelines at Forming An Affiliate Organization or contact us at To stay informed of ongoing developments and share your own news, research, and sounds with our global network, I invite you to subscribe to our email discussion list, “Like” and post to our Facebook Page, and join the WFAE or one of its affiliate organizations.

Header Photo: "Sheltered Moss" from Hattiesburg, Mississippi (USA) by Kim Pluskota, Artist & Designer.