Background/Question/Methods Human connection is more important than ever as the world is facing the COVID-19 global pandemic. Previous in-person conferences have moved to virtual platforms, providing new opportunities for scientific connection and engagement across the globe. However, such virtual interaction also poses new challenges to ecologists and human-focused ecological research across regions due to different time zones, Internet connection issues, and non-accessible field sites. Ecologists may be left feeling disconnected from the activities and events organized outside their regions. Therefore, new avenues through which human connections in ecology can be strengthened are needed to promote inclusivity, international participation, and interdisciplinary engagement. Results/Conclusions For the 2021 annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, we have organized the U.S. and Asia-Pacific discussion panel on Planetary Health that brings human ecologists from Asia, Australia, Africa, and Latin American regions to share ongoing Planetary Health activities and challenges in their regions. I will describe the motivation for initiating this effort, ways to engage with broader/international audiences, and discuss new opportunities to maintain vital connections among ESA members across the world during the annual conference. The diverse perspectives and insights from these international engagement activities can have collective impacts on scientific societies, especially during the global pandemic.