The ECPN Informational Meeting had a wonderful turnout of more than 50 people. Chair Rose Cull and AIC Staff Liaison Ryan Winfield indicated that there has been a good response across the AIC membership to what ECPN has accomplished so far, and recognition of its importance, vitality, and growth.
Chair Rose Cull announced that there would be three upcoming vacancies on the ECPN committee: the Chair, Vice-Chair, and Outreach Coordinator positions. Position descriptions will be posted online and will appear in the AIC News. The positions will be filled in September. The minutes from the previous meeting on 5/19 were also approved. Minutes are published on the ECPN blog following approval.
Communications Coordinator Amy Brost asked everyone to take a look at the informational sheet about ECPN in the conference bag. The sheet provides the URL of the group’s blog (emergingconservator.blogspot.com) and Flickr page (flickr.com/groups/conservators), as well as dial-in information for participating in the group’s monthly conference call (866-225-4944, conference ID 9992396916). The call takes place on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 1 pm ET. Everyone in the room was encouraged to take part in a future call. The next call will be on June 16.
Amy advised that emerging conservators are being invited to help with the development of the Specialty Group Wikis. There are also opportunities for emerging conservators to write book reviews for JAIC and other online publications as long as they have sufficient expertise on the topic. This will be the topic of a future blog post on the ECPN blog. Amy indicated that the group will work in the coming year to connect pre-program and emerging conservators with regional conservation centers to enhance ECPN involvement in regional Angels Projects. She encouraged everyone to see the ECPN poster in the Exhibit Hall and make a note of the contact information provided for the Chair and the committee Coordinators in order to follow up later with any questions, or to volunteer.
Outreach Coordinator Heather Brown encouraged attendees to visit the Facebook page, which has roughly 325 members, 100 of whom have joined since August. She also encouraged everyone to post their photos to the group’s Flickr page. They could be photos from the AIC meeting, but they could also be photos from other AIC or conservation-related events or workshops. The group would like to have a lively dialogue on the Facebook page and expand the assets on Flickr, so everyone was invited to contribute. Heather urged everyone to consider blogging about their conservation experiences. Rose indicated that anyone interested in creating content for the blog could reach out to her or Ryan to be set up as an author.
Heather is actively soliciting input from everyone about possible topics for webinars and podcasts. Some initial ideas could include how to create a conservation portfolio, or how to set up a private practice. She encouraged everyone to consider what they are hoping to learn through ECPN.
Education & Training Co-Coordinators Amber Kerr-Allison and Caroline Roberts shared an overview of the proposal to develop an online student research repository. This repository is on the agenda for discussion with the graduate program leadership during this week’s annual meeting. Some of the issues that will be discussed include: types of documents to be included (although the goal is to provide abstracts as well as full text), the submission and vetting process, hosting, and copyright issues.
Another exciting program that was established a few years ago but is now hitting its stride is the Mentoring Program. Ryan Winfield indicated that the mentor-mentee matches made so far have generally been successful, but that there is a shortage of mentors. Roughly 20 more mentors are needed to match to the current mentee applicants. The AIC meeting presents a good opportunity to ask someone you admire to consider serving as a mentor. Mentors need to have Professional Associate or Fellow status in AIC. Ryan encouraged anyone who had applied to be a mentee but had not heard back to please be patient until more mentors could be identified. They can also get in touch with Ryan or Rose to discuss further.
In the coming year, the group is hoping to identify one or more Graduate Student Liaisons to each of the American training programs. This will give AIC and ECPN a “point person” for reaching current students about opportunities. As ECPN becomes more visible and productive, more of the AIC membership thinks of reaching out to the group, and having designated liaisons will help streamline communication. This designated liaison model may be effective for connecting ECPN to the regional conservation centers as well.
Lastly, everyone was especially encouraged to participate in the Portfolio Session on Thursday, June 2 during the morning and afternoon breaks. This is a rare chance to see portfolios from all stages – pre-program, graduate, and emerging professional. This event is new for 2011.
There were many questions about the online student research repository, but because the idea is still in the proposal phase, many details of how it will work are not yet known. The outcome of the discussion with the graduate program leadership may be discussed in ECPN’s June 16 call, in which everyone was invited to participate. Others were curious about the group’s connections to emerging professionals in related fields, and indeed, strengthening those connections is a goal for the coming year. Some inquired about the international reach of ECPN. The group has a liaison to the ECC-CAC, Stephanie Porto, but aside from Canada, ECPN does not have a liaison to any other country. Some asked about qualifications for involvement in ECPN. The committee coordinators range from pre-program to graduate students to emerging professionals, so anyone is welcome.
Amber and Amy encouraged everyone in the room to find some way to be involved, whether by taking on a position on the committee, or by helping with one specific project. The group welcomes new ideas and is made better by ongoing input from everyone in the room. The more people who get involved, the better ECPN can be. Rose collected everyone’s email address and will send a follow-up survey to see how everyone felt about the ECPN sessions and events at this year’s meeting. Everyone was invited to ECPN’s Happy Hour on Friday from 6-10 at McGillin’s Olde Ale House.