CPRC In Annapolis

Good day for CPRC-SETAC in Annapolis.

Keynote speaker Tala Henry from EPA giving an update on the new TSCA law.

Tons of great posters.

And scientific research papers.

And a great luncheon (not counting the fire alarm test).

More to go this afternoon.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and Edison: The Inventor of the Modern World (both Fall River Press). He has also written two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His next book, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America, is scheduled for release in summer 2017.

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Seeing SETAC in Salt Lake City

I’ve been a member of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) for nearly 30 years. Most of those years I’ve attended the annual meeting held in various cities of North America. This past week we were in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Mormon Church, Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is the center of the Mormon Church, aka, the Church of Latter Day Saints. The temple was a block or so away from the convention center filled with over SETAC members. This year the organizers put up a poster showing all the previous SETAC meeting locations and asked conference participants to put sticky stars on the year they first attended.

SETAC, Salt Lake City

The photo above was taken on Tuesday so doesn’t show all of the stars that were later added (the conference ended Thursday evening), but it does suffice to point out a couple of interesting conclusions.

The first SETAC conference was in 1980 and yet there are still many of the original members still attending the meeting each year. In conversations I had with several people, however, it was clear that we are losing some of our older members and that we need to capture their memories. This was a topic of discussion in our Senior Resource Group meeting, which consists of many of the folks that have been coming to meetings for a very long time. As this year progresses we’ll address this need further.

Also evident is the huge number of first time attendees here in Salt Lake City, and that is a very good thing. It means that we are attracting new members (in particular, new master’s and PhD students). Many of the events at SETAC are geared toward student growth, including assigned mentors, career guidance, and travel awards to help pay for costs of attendance.

SETAC, Salt Lake City, Award

I received my own award at the opening ceremony. Actually, I received two. The first I knew about: Outstanding Regional Chapter Member Award, which reflects all the work I’ve done for the Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter. SETAC presents about 10 awards each year in an organization with about 7000 members worldwide. The fact that they kept flashing the award winners on flat screens around the convention hall was both a sense of pride and a bit unnerving. I also received a second award, a Presidential Citation for Exemplary Service, which SETAC-North America’s President presented on Monday as I chaired a committee meeting.

As with all such conferences, there were plenty of scientific sessions to attend, including those on emerging issues like microplastics and climate change impacts on environmental toxicology. I ran into many old friends, and even a former employee of mine. He was a technician in the aquatic toxicology I ran long ago; now he’s a university professor with his own entourage of students.

One other chance meeting may also prove fruitful. While traveling the hallways between sessions I ran into a science writer I had met a few years earlier. We caught up as best we could in the few minutes we had, but hit on the idea of a possible book collaboration focused on communicating science to the public. We’ll be following up on that idea shortly.

Until then, it’s back home to recalibrate, rejuvenate, and reconsider a previously anticipated December trip. To paraphrase New England Patriot’s Head Coach Bill Belichick, its “On to the Next Science Traveling!”

David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.

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Science Traveling the Great Capitals of the World

I’ve been lucky enough in recent years to travel to three dozen countries on four continents. Over the next several weeks I’ll be science traveling in a handful of the great capitals of the world.

I got started on this trek a week or so ago in New York City. Technically it isn’t a capital, but if you asked any non-American (and perhaps most Americans) to name our greatest city they most likely would name New York. On this occasion I spent some touristy time at the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building, the 9/11 Memorial, and the aircraft carrier Intrepid (which also has the Space Shuttle Enterprise).

Statue of Liberty

But NYC is the beginning of my fall travels. Next up is a weekend in Paris, the capital of France:

The artist in Paris

Followed by a week in London, the capital of the UK:

London from the Eye

To be followed immediately by Salt Lake City (the capital of Utah) for the SETAC meeting, where I’ll pick up an award. And then on to Gettysburg to attend a conference and commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s famous address.

Gettysburg Tweet

Which reminds me that I skipped an event. On October 20th I’ll be the featured speaker for the Lincoln Group of DC. My topic is “Lincoln and Technology,” which allows me to blend my two favorite topics. Sign up now on the Lincoln Group web page.

I’ll have more from the road as connections allow, and many stories after my return(s).

David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.

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I Won a SETAC Award!

Recently I received a call from Greg Schiefer, Executive Director of SETAC-NA, also known as the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry-North America. SETAC is an international scientific organization comprising over 6000 members, of which over 3200 are in the North American region. Greg informed me that I had won the 2015 Outstanding Regional Chapter Member Award.

CPRC logoSETAC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This award is very special to me. I’ve been a member of my regional chapter, the Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter (CPRC), for nearly 25 years, and SETAC for even longer. During that time I’ve been President of CPRC on two separate occasions. At other times have been a Board member, Secretary, Treasurer, Vice-President, and Newsletter Editor/Publisher. It’s been a lot of work, all volunteer, but I’ve loved every minute of it.

The Outstanding Regional Chapter Member Award recognizes “the countless hours that its members contribute, often in the background, to the functioning of the Society’s Regional Chapters.” I am honored to receive it.

This award joins other recognition I’ve received during my years with SETAC, including a President’s Citation (2005) and an Executive Director’s Citation (1996). I was also privileged to receive the Distinguished Service Award from CPRC in 2002.

Being a member of CPRC and SETAC has been an amazing experience. Through these organizations I have made many friends, developed incredible professional contacts, and learned everything from keeping up with the science to how to negotiate a cavernous conference center filled with thousands of other lost colleagues desperately seeking the right meeting room for their next session.

I’m happy to say that I continue to be highly involved with both the parent and regional groups. I chair a committee for SETAC and attend annual meetings for SETAC and CPRC, and I regularly contribute presentations and newsletter articles. Science Traveler (aka, this website/my professional writing business) has been a proud sponsor of CPRC for the last three years.

To say I appreciate receiving this award would be a vast understatement. I’m looking forward to featuring it next to my writer’s desk…and continuing to be active with SETAC and CPRC. Thank you all.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.

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Join CPRC at our 2015 Annual Spring Meeting – April 24

CPRC logoThe following is a cross-posting from the Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter of SETAC. Get more information here.

The CPRC SETAC Annual Spring Meeting will be held Friday April 24th, 2015 at the Robinson Nature Center in Columbia, MD

Meeting Agenda (Program & Abstracts) 

Registration

Registration is $75 for non-members, $60 for professional members, $30 for student non-members and $25 for student members.  The fee includes all of the catered food and drink (breakfast, breaks and lunch) and non-member registration includes a complimentary one year CPRC SETAC membership.  For driving directions to Robinson Nature Center please follow this link.

To register, please fill out the 2015 Meeting Registration Form (Word)  and email it to treasurer.cprc.setac@gmail.com.  Payments can be submitted via PayPal (no PayPal account is required, but please add $2 to cover the PayPal fee) by following this link.  On the registration form, be sure to indicate if you will be joining us for the Friday evening social from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Ellicott Mills Brewing Company.  Directions from Robinson Nature Center to Main Street Ellicott City are here.

Area Hotels (pdf)

Keynote Speaker

CPRC SETAC is happy to announce this year’s keynote speaker Mr. James M. Harkins, the Director of Maryland Environmental Service, an independent state agency that operates hundreds of environmental projects including water and wastewater treatment plants, recycling facilities, landfills, and dredged material containment facilities. Jim, a former Harford County Executive, and a two-term member of the Maryland House of Delegates would like to share with you his vast insight and experience tackling environmental issues of our region.  Please find Mr. Harkins bio here (pdf).

Saturday Volunteer Opportunity

Please join us for a Conservation Stewardship Activity at Robinson Nature Center (RNC) on Saturday April 25th from 10:00-12:00. Let’s get outdoors to celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day, continue conversations from the meeting, and give back to RNC to say thanks for the use of their beautiful meeting space! The activity most likely will be either planting native trees and shrubs or removing invasive plants from the forest. Families and friends are welcome!

If you can join us, please complete the volunteer form (Volunteer Event Solo Application) and bring it with you on the 25th. All tools, gloves, and refreshments will be provided. Dress for working outdoors, including closed-toed shoes (no flip-flops or sandals).

The conference will include a full-day technical program with platform and poster presentations. This meeting will bring together professionals from multiple disciplines to present their scientific research and to discuss ongoing and emerging regional issues. Attendance is recommended for environmental professionals and students exploring solutions for environmental health problems, managers and regulators of natural resources, and environmental experts pursuing research and development. We enthusiastically encourage participation of individuals from academia, private industry, and government agencies.

Past CPRC SETAC Annual Spring Meeting attendees have enjoyed a full-day exploring scientific solutions while networking with the region’s top professionals. Everyone was provided with cutting-edge environmental education and offered the opportunity for public outreach through CPRC SETAC sponsored activities. Students were also engaged in mentoring and career guidance. So, save the date (April 24, 2015) and come join us at the Robinson Nature Center for another invigorating professional forum on major environmental issues of the CPRC region and beyond!

Spring 2012 outside building shots cropped_for website2

The Chesapeake and Potomac Regional Chapter (CPRC) of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) is a regional chapter of SETAC-North America (NA). CPRC SETAC started in the year 1983. Like the national organization, CPRC SETAC is comprised of a mixture of members working in government, industry, private sector (e.g., consulting) and academic jobs.

I have had the personal privilege of serving as President of CPRC on two separate occasions, plus at various times have been on the Board, Newsletter Editor, Treasurer, Secretary, and general all-around active member. Science Traveler has been a proud Sponsor of CPRC for the last three years.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. He is currently writing a book on Thomas Edison.

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CPRC Presentation at Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center

As this post goes live I’ll be attending the Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter (CPRC) of SETAC at their annual spring meeting. As the immediate Past-President I’m happy to say that Science Traveler is a sponsor of CPRC. The meeting features Emma Lavoie of EPA’s Design for the Environment program as our keynote speaker, as well as a dozen presentations of research by students, professors, and other researchers.

Scientists

Scientist types

And I get the last word. Well, technically not the actual last word because current President Brad Pratt will present a series of awards to students for best platform and poster presentations. But I’ll be the last talk of the day before the awards and the catered reception that follows.

My topic is: Remembering the Big Picture – Communicating Local Science to a Global Audience. I’ll use photos from my recent Argentina trip to highlight the “teaching opportunities” available for reaching out to the public. More on that after I return.

The Public

Public types

This will be an incredibly busy week – books to write, education to outreach, science to travel, and much much more. See you again tomorrow.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity. You can order a signed copy directly from me, download the ebook at barnesandnoble.com, and find hard copies at Barnes and Noble bookstores, as well as online at B&N.com and Amazon.com.

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Join CPRC at our 2014 Annual Spring Meeting – April 27-28

CPRC logoThe following is a cross-posting from the Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter of SETAC. Get more information here.

2014 CPRC Annual Spring Meeting

The CPRC-SETAC Annual Spring Meeting will be held Monday April 28th, 2014 at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center in Grasonville, MD

 Registration

Registration is $65 for non-members (includes 2014 CPRC-SETAC membership), $50 for professional members and $25 for students.  The fee includes the optional “Day On The Bay” Sunday April 27th to take advantage of all that CBEC and Chesapeake Bay have to offer.  The fee also includes all of the catered food and drink (breakfast, breaks, lunch and happy hour!) during the meeting day on Monday April 28th.

To register, please fill out the 2014 Meeting Registration Form  and email to treasurer.cprc.setac@gmail.com.  Payments can be submitted via PayPal (no PayPal account is required) by following this link.

 Day On The Bay!

On April 27th, we will have a lot of fun helping the environment! CPRC along with MatrixNeworld, CBEC, and Restore the Earth Foundation organized a Coastal Wetland Restoration project where volunteers will plant nearly 600 plants over a 2,000 square foot area to restore a coastal wetland and help prevent further shoreline erosion. See attached flyer for more details.  Please take a look at the attached flyer for more details and RSVP sending an email to vice.president.cprc.setac@gmail.com.

Area hotels (pdf with map)

Best Western Kent Narrows Inn in Gasonville, MD has agreed to hold a block of rooms at the rate of $79/night for Sunday April 27th and Monday April 28th.  To get the block rate, call (410-827-6767) and tell them you are with CPRC.  They are holding only 11 rooms and the rooms will be released for general booking on March 27th.  Please contact vice.president.cprc.setac@gmail.com with any issues or difficulties.

Area restaurants (pdf with map)

 Carpooling 

Please email cprc.setac@gmail.com with 1) your name, 2) phone number, 3) address, and 4) route taken to meeting or if you need a ride.  We’ll hook you up!

Contact

If you have any questions about the meeting, feel free to contact CPRC-SETAC at cprc.setac@gmail.com.

This website, Science Traveler, is a proud sponsor of CPRC and SETAC. I’ll also be presenting at the CPRC meeting – my topic: Remembering the Big Picture – Communicating Local Science to a Global Audience. [With scenes from Argentina as my backdrop]

Come join us for a day on the bay. Make that two days on the bay!

David J. Kent is an avid traveler and the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity. You can order a signed copy directly from me, download the ebook at barnesandnoble.com, and find hard copies exclusively at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

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Science Traveler to Sponsor Chesapeake-Potomac Regional Chapter of SETAC in 2014

CPRC logoFor the second year in a row Science Traveler (i.e., this website) will be an Associate Sponsor of the Chesapeake Potomac Regional Chapter of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. I have been involved with SETAC for more than 25 years, the last 22 of which have been as a member of CPRC. In fact, I’ve just completed my second term as President of CPRC and will continue as immediate Past-President during 2014.

CPRC “provides a professional forum for individuals from private industry, academia, and government agencies who are engaged in the study and analysis and solutions for environmental problems, management and regulation of natural resources, and/or research and development.” It represents the area surrounding Washington DC, including all of Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, the District, and parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware and beyond. SETAC is a renowned international scientific organization.

You can find their websites by clicking on the links above, or even better, clicking on the really cool logo at the top of the article.

The timing couldn’t be better. CPRC has two huge upcoming events that members are going to want to be a part of. [If you’re not a current member, it’s easy to become one right here, right now.]

The first event is a February 20th dinner at Adele’s in the University of Maryland Student Union in College Park. We’ll have tons of food and drink, along with a distinguished guest speaker – Dr. Donald C. Weber of the USDA, who will talk about “Pesticides and Alternatives for our Region:  Lightening the Load“.

The other major event is our annual spring meeting, which will be held at the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center (CBEC) on April 27-28, 2014. You can read all about last year’s event at CBEC in this recap. The meeting will feature an optional Sunday guided bird hike, kayaking, and picnic on the grounds, followed by a full Monday of presentations and posters (and some of the best catering on the Eastern shore). The location is beautiful so be sure to watch for updates on the CPRC website.

As an Associate Sponsor, Science Traveler plays a key role in helping CPRC foster interaction among its members, sponsor scientific meetings and social events, produce a biannual newsletter, maintain a website, and, perhaps most importantly, sponsor student awards “that encourage and promote the research and professional development of our student members.”

CPRC Science Traveler

More about CPRC and SETAC.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity. You can order a signed copy directly from me, download the ebook at barnesandnoble.com, and find hard copies exclusively at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

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Preview of Tennessee Road Trip

I’m currently in the middle of a road trip sandwich. Off to the big apple today (perhaps a pastrami on rye at Katz’s Deli) and not long returned from a trip down the road to Tennessee and environs (where I had pulled pork on a bun). I’ll come back with some details and more photos later, but for now here’s a quick preview of the Tennessee road trip that included two National Parks, two Aquariums, two sets of caves, two days at SETAC, and too many times in and out of Tennessee.

Conceptually, the trip was planned as a multi-day drive down through the Shenandoah’s, the Blue Ridge, and into the Great Smoky Mountains. The first part started off with good weather, but by the time we reached the Blue Ridge Parkway the meaning of “Great Smoky” came clearly into view. By which I mean to say that there was no “clearly”…and no “view.”

Backing up a bit we first stopped at the Natural Bridge just north of Roanoke, Virginia. The Bridge is a rather cool natural rock archway that most people drive over without ever noticing the valley below. Since this is a preview I’ll give you the long view for now. In a later post I’ll revisit to talk about the surveyor – some guy named George Washington – leaving his initials in the rock face.

Natural Bridge Long View

As I mentioned, the Smoky Mountains gave us a good example of why they are called the Great Smoky Mountains. I did get a chance to hike the Appalachian Trail for the third or fourth time. Granted it was a very small part of the Trail, but the Trail nonetheless.

Appalachian Trail Great Smoky Mountains

A night in Gatlinburg proved more interesting than expected. The fact that there is an aquarium in the mountains of Tennessee is odd enough, but the fact that it was a Ripley’s aquarium gives a hint of what you can expect in the town. The aquarium turned out to be wonderful, but it looked like Ripley’s (of Believe it or Not! fame) had turned the main street into a bizarre entertainment strip. We’ll come back to that later.

Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies - Gatlinburg TN

Let’s see, Tennessee borders on Kentucky, right? So the natural next step was to drive all the way through the state to Cave City, KY for the world famous Mammoth Caves. At 390 miles of tunnels (and still counting), Mammoth is the longest cave system in the world.

Mammoth Caves network of tunnels

Back to Tennessee. After all, the impetus for the trip was to attend the annual SETAC meeting in Nashville. I spent most of the three days there chatting with other attendees; even sold nearly a dozen books. Alas, that time went fast and we were off to Huntsville, Alabama, home to a large Apollo-era space center.

Saturn V rocket - Huntsville AL

Seeing a Saturn V rocket next to the highway brought me back to the old days when I kept a scrapbook of the Apollo missions. But even more thought-provoking is the realization that the rocket is 363 feet tall, 33 feet in diameter, and has 3 stages – all numbers divisible by 3. Nikola Tesla would have loved it!

Back to Tennessee. And yes, about this time we saw yet another sign welcoming us back to the Volunteer state as the road trip took us from VA to TN to NC to TN to KY to TN to AL to TN to VA. Since I had been in Memphis years ago I think I now have Tennessee fully covered. In any case, this leg took us to Chattanooga for, you guessed it, yet another major aquarium. But here we also did some Civil War-era sightseeing. First, up the cliffs to the top of Lookout Mountain, center of a famous Civil War battle.

Lookout Mountain, Chattanooga TN

Then back down about half way to Ruby Falls, a 145-foot tall waterfall that is completely underground. Not only do you take an elevator down nearly 300 feet, but as you walk the half mile through the caves the mountain rises above you so that the Falls are nearly 1200 feet below the surface. For now, here’s the above-ground to whet your appetite.

Ruby Falls, Chattanooga TN

That’s enough for now. I’ll do future posts on the major stops and include some of the amazing photos. You won’t want to miss the Ruby Falls photo! [Or the interesting solar power angle]

Hey, is that Ashanti at the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting? Cool.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity. You can order a signed copy directly from me, download the ebook at barnesandnoble.com, and find hard copies exclusively at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

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Recap of CPRC-SETAC 2013 Annual Spring Meeting

CPRC logoThe 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.

CPRC birdwalk

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.

Tim Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun

Tim Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun

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.

CPRC annual spring meeting 2013

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.

CPRC Board et al.

CPRC Board et al. (Photo courtesy of Dan Lavoie)

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.

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