North American Conference to Be Held as an In-Person/Virtual Hybrid

North American Conference to Be Held as an In-Person/Virtual Hybrid

The 87th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference (NAWNRC) will be held in-person at the Davenport Grand in Spokane, Washington on the week of March 14, 2022, and will offer various virtual hybrid options to related meeting coordinators. These options may include Zoom-style virtual-only meetings, 2-way streaming of in-person meetings (allowing virtual attendees to see and interact with in-person attendees), and one-way streaming (online viewing in real-time).

Spokane skyline

The Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) and its conference partners agreed to an in-person/virtual hybrid meeting following months of formal and informal assessment of conference attendee preferences. “The North American is, and always has been, a meeting by and for the continent’s natural resource conservation partners,” assured Steve Williams, President of WMI. “As the needs, focus, and methods of conservation have changed over the past century, so will the style and structure of the conference. WMI is dedicated to serving the natural resource management community by adapting and administrating a conference that will meet the needs of our partners and all those who will forge the force for conservation in future decades.”

In a recent survey sent to past conference attendees, WMI found that 77.7% of survey respondents (n=405) indicated that their organization or agency was “Likely” or “Very Likely” to support their travel to an in-person NAWNRC. Similarly, 75% of respondents indicated they were “Likely” or “Very Likely” to “personally choose to attend this multi-day meeting with several hundred of your colleagues.”

Pie chart from north american conference survey

“It is clear from the survey results and many, many conversations with organizational leadership, that the large majority of the professional conservation community who attend the North American would prefer to do so in-person next year,” said Matt Dunfee, WMI Director of Special Programs and NAWNRC Chair. “However,” noted Dunfee, “there remains many of our colleagues who still prefer virtual participation.” In the same conference attendee survey, respondents were nearly perfectly split on their preference for a “completely in-person” conference and a “virtual/in-person” hybrid.

“The past two years has, I think, changed the way we think about professional conferences, irrespective of COVID-19 concerns,” said Dunfee. “We at WMI are going to do our best to provide a forum for the work and networking that is best done in person while also embracing new tools that allow more conservation professionals to engage in the critical thought leadership that has emblemized the North American over its more than 100-year history.”

The initial conference schedule is currently being drafted, and related meeting invitations are expected to go out in the coming weeks. COVID-19 safety protocols are also being drafted and reviewed by Davenport Grand staff and WMI. As updates become available, they will be posted on WMI’s NAWNRC website.

Photo Credit
Orin Blomberg, Flickr
November 16, 2021