Ecologist Desirée L. Narango has just won the Early Career Award from the Ecological Society of America (ESA)—an award given to junior researchers who “have advanced ecological knowledge” and show “promise of continuing to make outstanding contributions” in the field of ecology. Narango was recognized for her pioneering research on the impact of native plants on ecosystems, her science communication efforts and her work promoting diversity and inclusion in ecology.
Narango is a 2020 David H. Smith conservation research fellow with a joint appointment in the departments of biology and environmental conservation. Her work focuses on what she calls “shared living and working spaces,” or the ecology of the places that confront us when we step outside, such as residential yards, urban forests, and agricultural fields. “I study how we can make habitats that are great for wildlife and people, such as yards and forests that also successfully support biodiversity conservation, food webs and species interactions,” says Narango.
Narango notes that it’s rare for a postdoc to receive the ESA’s Early Career Award, which is usually reserved for those on the tenure track. “Not only is it a great honor to have this recognition of my research,” says Narango, “but it is also an opportunity for me to have more of a voice at the ESA and help make it more inclusive and supportive for early career researchers, students, and members of underrepresented communities.”