Post Conference Wrap-Up
On behalf of the GEER 2015 Executive Steering and Program Committees, I want to thank all of you for your support of, and participation in, what an excellent GEER conference! We had 526 registrants, 31 dedicated oral sessions organized by participants, nine oral sessions of individually contributed papers, 97 posters, a great pre-conference workshop on invasive species, and three plenary sessions starting each day of the meeting. On Earth Day, we were inspired and energized by the students from the South Plantation High School Everglades Restoration Magnet Program. The energy level from all of you was invigorating, lots of ideas and new directions for research emerged as the meeting progressed, and new and long-lasting contacts and professional networks were forged.
You may have run into Maggy Hurchalla who attended the entire conference. In a note to her advocacy group – the River Warriors -- in Stuart, she wrote, “The researchers who presented papers and posters were enthusiastic and excited. They are learning things they never knew. They’ve got tools to work with they never had before.” And, “Most of all, I think you would be glad to see how much they care. Scientists are supposed to be dispassionate nerds. Everglades researchers really care about restoring our estuary, the Everglades and the whole Greater Everglades Ecosystem.” These are kind words from an Everglades hero.
Many thanks are due to our conference sponsors, the student volunteers, the committee members, the plenary speakers, all of the speakers and poster presenters, and of course, our conference organizers. None of the conference success would have been possible without the hard work, professionalism, and attention to detail provided by Beth Miller-Tipton, Tamar Ditzian, and all of their colleagues at the University of Florida/IFAS Office of Conferences and Institutes. I am pretty sure that a large majority of you benefitted from direct interactions from them and their special brand of personal attention. Kudos to them for all of their efforts!
We will be conducting a detailed review of the 235 conference evaluations returned by many of you. That number represents a 44% return on our request for evaluation – a phenomenal response! You can rest assured your thoughtful input will be carefully and thoroughly evaluated and considered, and will result in an even better conference next time.
On that note, please mark your calendars now for GEER 2017, which will be held once again at the Coral Springs Marriott the week of April 17-21, 2017.
Nick Aumen and K. Ramesh Reddy, GEER 2015 Conference Co-Chairs