The air was chillier than expected, but that didn’t slow down the 55 scientists who gathered at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) on Earth Day. The occasion was the annual spring meeting of the Chesapeake Potomac Regional Chapter (CPRC) of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). Science Traveler is a proud sponsor of CPRC.
Day one was a free optional day made available for CPRC members and their families to take advantage of the varied wildlife habitats at CBEC. A small group of us met in the early morning of April 21st for a guided bird walk led by Dave Palmer of Wildlife International. Dave’s knowledge of the local birds was amazing as he often identified them from their calls long before they came into sight. In the two hours or so walk through marshland, forest, and around the lake, we saw several dozen different kinds of birds, including nesting owls and ospreys. In the afternoon several members boarded kayaks for a closer look at the habitats and birds.
Day two was the meat of the meeting. Fifteen speakers presented their research and entertained questions. Vicki Paulus gave us some insights into the activities at CBEC, followed by an update on SETAC activities by long-time CPRC member and immediate past-president of SETAC-North America, Barnett Rattner. Our keynote speaker was Tim Wheeler, environmental reporter for The Baltimore Sun, who gave us a history of the 30-year fight to save the Chesapeake Bay.
I’m happy to say that we had a wonderful showing of students at the meeting. In addition to the platform presenters we had several posters that stood prominently on easels in the meeting hall. Five of these students won CPRC presentation awards – more on those in a future post.
I’m also very happy to see the engagement of participants at the meeting. The question and answer portions of each talk were often quite lively, with some speakers holding court during the breaks to answer questions that overflowed the allotted time. Even more impressive was the number of people who participated in the “Open Board” meeting during the lunch break. The interest level for doing even more during the rest of the year was very high, as illustrated by the number of people who volunteered for open officer positions, student representative to the Board, and the steering committee to plan the 2014 spring meeting. [Note to all – the Board met last week and will be scheduling elections and follow up meetings shortly]
We wrapped up our Earth Day meeting with a reception that included some amazing food (I was partial to the shrimp), not to mention wine and beer. Thanks to all who attended. Thanks also to Vicki and Judy at CBEC for making available the facility and Casual Caterers for catering everything from breakfast through the reception.
And finally, as the current President of CPRC, I would like to formally thank everyone on the Board and Steering Committee who made this all happen. The work you all put into this meeting was outstanding.
More from the meeting will be posted on the ever-expanding CPRC website.