Conferences - are they worth it?

Roo Campbell from the Scottish Wildcat Action project talks about the range contractions of Wildcats, here illustrating that forest cover does not necessarily dictate distribution or abundance

Roo Campbell from the Scottish Wildcat Action project talks about the range contractions of Wildcats, here illustrating that forest cover does not necessarily dictate distribution or abundance

We frequently see conferences advertised but are they really worth the time/money and if so, how do you choose the right one to go to? Last weekend BiOME attended The Mammal Societies’ 62nd Spring Conference. It was a superb event and certainly one of the best conferences that we have attended. So why did we choose this one and what was so good about it? First and foremost the programme looked jam-packed with fascinating talks, many relevant to our line of work in commercial ecology, others providing fascinating insights into the ecology and conservation of British mammals, and some appealed simply to our enthusiasm as naturalists and mammalogists, such as a talk on the history of Bears in the UK. Other talks covered the updated Water Vole Mitigation Handbook, bats and wind farms, open-source data, invasive species, and several interesting talks on Badgers. On top of the talks there were numerous informative posters and a new rapid-fire section allowing speakers five-minutes to introduce their subject and results, as well as an afternoon of workshops.

A fascinating talk on the cultural and natural significance of Bears in the UK and how our depiction of them through time gives a clue as to whether they were still at large in the countryside or whether the residing only in Man's cages

A fascinating talk on the cultural and natural significance of Bears in the UK and how our depiction of them through time gives a clue as to whether they were still at large in the countryside or whether the residing only in Man's cages

There are, of course, other benefits from attending conferences. They are a brilliant place to meet new people, engage in discussion relevant to your interests and work, potentially form new work links, and they are inevitably very social events. The Mammal Society conference is no exception with regard to the latter, and much of the important discussion goes on over a pint or two once the talks have finished. Whilst conferences can be relatively expensive to attend, if you make the most of them they are an outstanding source of encouragement and information to help expand your enthusiasm for the subject and become more informed as a professional.

See you there, or maybe at a different conference, next year!