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The Landscape Exchange Network for Socio-environmental systems (LENS) values the diversity of views, expertise, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences that LENS members bring to our group. We are committed to providing a safe, productive, and welcoming space for all of those who attend our meetings and events. This Community Agreement will help us create an inclusive, supportive, and safe community that fosters open dialogue and exchange of ideas.

These guidelines apply in all venues, including in-person (e.g., meetings, workshops, conferences, and social gatherings) and online events (e.g., community forum, social media, virtual meetings and events) and apply to all LENS members, attendees, speakers, exhibitors, staff, and contractors.

Expected Behavior

  • When interacting with others, try to stay focused on the common goals of the group.

  • Pay attention when others are speaking and avoid distractions, especially during virtual events.

  • Avoid dominating the conversation and the temptation to respond to every comment.

  • When appropriate, ask others for their opinion.

  • Treat all participants with kindness, respect and consideration, valuing a diversity of views and opinions (including those you may not share).

  • Encourage all voices, help them to be heard, and listen actively.

  • Communicate openly and thoughtfully, with respect for other participants, critiquing ideas rather than individuals.

  • Listen and fully engage in community activities whether those are held virtually or in-person.

  • Be open to being wrong. Be direct, constructive, and positive. Be honest and avoid spreading misinformation.

  • Take responsibility for your impact and your mistakes; if someone says they have been harmed through your words or actions, listen carefully, apologize sincerely, and correct the behavior going forward.

  • Respect people’s right to privacy and confidentiality.

  • Be collaborative, actively seeking diverse perspectives to spark creativity and idea generation. Be mindful not to exert dominance over others. Consider the effect of power dynamics and the way of communication by video vs. audio or other means.

  • Reframe behaviors exercising patience and understanding. During times of stress like the COVID pandemic, it’s important to remember that people may not be showing up as their best selves. Extend grace to everyone and realize that challenging behaviors are a reflection of the stress we are under.

Unacceptable Behavior

  • Unacceptable behavior is generally the opposite of expected behavior. It is often the case that those who violate expected behavior do so unintentionally, but the behavior may still be hurtful or at least counter productive to the goals of LENS and should therefore be addressed.

  • Clear examples of unacceptable behavior include, but are not limited to:

      1. Unwelcome or offensive verbal comments or exclusionary behavior related to age, appearance or body size, employment or military status, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, individual lifestyle, marital status, national origin, physical or cognitive ability, political affiliation, sexual orientation, race, or religion

      2. Treating someone in a condescending manner or with the assumption of incompetence

      3. Inappropriate physical contact

      4. Unwanted sexual attention

      5. Use of sexual or discriminatory images in public spaces or in presentations

      6. Stalking or unwelcome photography, screenshots, or recording of individuals without the explicit permission of that individual and of LENS

      7. Sustained disruption of events, forums, or meetings, including talks and presentations

      8. Bullying behavior such as threatening, humiliating or intimidating someone with abusive words or actions like stalking or following

      9. Retaliation for reporting unacceptable behavior

  • Harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form is unacceptable. Harassment includes speech or behavior that is not welcome or is personally offensive, whether it is based on ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, age, body size, disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, individual lifestyle, physical or cognitive ability, political affiliation, race, or any other reason not related to scientific merit. Harassment intended in a joking manner still constitutes unacceptable behavior. Behavior that is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another, so use discretion to be certain respect is communicated. If you are unsure if a word is derogatory, do not use it.

  • Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose (or unintended effect) of unreasonably interfering with the individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Unwelcome sexual attention or unwelcome physical contact is not acceptable.

Consequences of Unacceptable Behavior

Unacceptable behavior from any member of the LENS community will not be tolerated. Even if the behavior is not egregiously offensive, violators might find themselves pulled aside to discuss their behavior. Facilitators will be in charge of ensuring the dialogue is balanced, that no one participant dominates the conversation, and that interactions generally follow acceptable behavior. Anyone asked to stop unacceptable behavior is expected to comply immediately. Less offensive forms of unacceptable behavior are expected to result in respectful conversation that informs the offender of acceptable alternatives.

More extreme instances of unacceptable behavior may result in the violator being asked to leave an event or online space, either temporarily or for the duration of the event without warning or refund. Violations may prohibit attendance at future LENS meetings and events. Continued or severe infractions of these guidelines may result in being banned from participation in future spaces, events, and activities in perpetuity.

Serious infractions can also be reported to the individual’s home institution and/or to the National Science Foundation. Unlawful behaviors will be reported to law enforcement. Instances of sexual misconduct will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Civil Rights and Sexual Misconduct of the individual’s home institution.

Reporting a Violation of these Guidelines

If you are the subject of unacceptable behavior or have witnessed any such behavior during in-person or virtual events, please notify: Dr. Andrew Elmore, LENS Principal Investigator ( and/or Dr. Lorena Villanueva-Almanza, LENS Project Manager (

For in-person events, call 911 or alert hotel/venue security if someone is in immediate danger or if an immediate and serious safety concern exists.

Confidentiality: If the person raising the concern, any identified individual target, or the accused or a witness asks an event contact for confidentiality of their identity while the concern is being addressed, reasonable steps will be taken to maintain it. LENS cannot guarantee confidentiality if the reported conduct violates any local, state or federal law, or if the situation risks other participants’ safety or imperils an investigation. Furthermore, it will not be considered a breach of confidentiality to disconnect/remove a participant from a virtual event if deemed necessary by the host.

Anyone who receives information during an investigation, however, must maintain its confidentiality; failure to do so is a serious violation of this agreement, as is retaliation against any identified individual target, witness, or anyone who raises or helps resolve a conduct concern.

Community Feedback

This is a living document. There will be regular opportunities to revisit and revise the community agreement as LENS grows and new situations arise. Everyone is encouraged to provide feedback on these guidelines. Email your input to:


These guidelines were adapted from the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the National Association of Science Writers (NASW) codes of conduct. We thank all the LENS Steering Committee members who participated in the development.