AIC’s 40th Annual Meeting – ECPN Informational Meeting, May 8

The Emerging Conservation Professionals Network (ECPN) Informational Meeting provided both a great introduction to ECPN and updates on the group’s activities.  Attendees broke out into small discussion groups for second half of the meeting, with ECPN officers facilitating discussions on current initiatives and encouraging feedback and ideas.

At the start of the meeting, the officers whose terms ended over the past year were recognized (Rose Cull, Heather Brown, Amber Kerr-Allison, and Amy Brost).  Two new officers were announced – Gwen Manthey, new Professional Education and Training co-officer and Angela Curmi, new Communications Coordinator.  There are also liaisons in ECPN that work with other AIC committees, geographical regions, and with Canadian emerging conservators (CAC-ECC), and they were introduced.  The officers then gave an update on the key initiatives underway in ECPN: the Mentoring Program, student research platform, outreach through the blog, Facebook, and proposed Forum Calls, and the new PR Toolkit on the AIC wiki.

Then, the attendees broke out into small groups to discuss their thoughts about ECPN’s current programs, and what topics and initiatives are of greatest interest to them.  Here are a few ideas that had broad support at the meeting:

  • Create a quarterly email newsletter (most said that email was the best way to reach them, rather than the blog or Facebook page)
  • Make it clearer how to sign up to be on the ECPN email list
  • Provide more opportunities for ECPN to work on the wiki, perhaps by helping to make content more media-rich (add images, etc)
  • Make the AIC website more user-friendly, and send ideas to the AIC website task force
  • Broad support for the student research platform, and interest in contributing content.  Everyone really liked the idea of a student research platform which could function as a central location for finding all student research. Many were comfortable with the idea of submitting and seeking out either abstracts or full-length papers. If abstract form was selected, including the author’s contact information so the researcher could potentially ask them for more information was preferred.
  • Would like to see ECPN help with centralizing conservation education programs, employment opportunities, internship and fellowship announcements, and help with identifying potential funding sources for post-graduate internships
  • Help identifying possible internship and fellowship opportunities in private practices
  • Increase professional development opportunities, ie, distance (web-based) learning, short-term internships, etc.
  • Consider the needs of international pre-program interns and students, perhaps with online resources for them
  • Interest in a LinkedIn group for ECPN
  • Enthusiastic about the new Forum Calls to begin in 2012

The next regular ECPN meeting will take place via conference call on Monday, June 18 at 1 pm ET.  For more information, visit the ECPN page on the AIC website.

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