Rich Stedman, me (jet lagged, straight from the plane), and Chris Raymond at the welcome mixer.

After the PECS working group meeting in South Africa I flew directly to Portland, Maine, for the 2023 IASNR Conference. IASNR is my primary professional organization and I currently serve on its Council, so that adds an additional layer of busyness during the conference. It was particularly nice to be there with a team: postdoc Brooke McWherter, PhD student Keahna Margeson and MES Emily Snair all came along.

Co-leading the New Member’s Meeting with Bill Stewart.

The New Member’s Meeting I co-ran as part of my role as Chair of the Membership Committee was better attended than any I’ve ever seen – we were running to other rooms to steal chairs. Despite the size, we ended up having an excellent conversation about what brings people to IASNR and what it can offer.

On the first day of presentations, I was part of a panel about publishing with Society and Natural Resources and the SNR Book Series. It was exciting to be able to share the news that the external reviews are back for the decennial review of the field that I am lead co-editing with Gladman Thondhlana and Douglas Jackson-Smith and that we submitted in late January. The reviews are very supportive and we are busily doing final changes to the manuscript so that it can be published in time for the 30th IASNR next year in Cairns, Australia.

Emily Snair presenting her proposal poster

That evening at the poster session, Emily presented her proposal work that is currently undergoing research ethics review, including to some kids attending the event with their academic Mom. I also ‘won’ the big ticket item in the silent auction, a bunch of Moomin swag Chris Raymond brought from Helsinki!

Me, Emily, Jen and Elson at our ResNet panel

On day two, we held a super panel on ResNet Landscape 1 featuring Emily Wells (virtually) on Indigenous values, Jen Holzer (Brock) on collaborative networks and Elson Galang (McGill) on scenario planning. It was well attended and generated some good discussions. Keahna Margeson also presented the results of her first comprehensive exam on social license for ocean and coastal management. Brooke also co-ran a session on research ethics in diverse contexts as part of her work on the Ethics Committee of IASNR. The day concluded with a lobster bake at Peaks Island with a very mausy and foggy ferry crossing.

Day three was a bit more restful. At the lunchtime IASNR All Member’s Meeting where I got to award the second Bridgebuilder Award to Emily Huff, again as part of my role as Membership Committee chair. That evening, Keahna ran the Quizbowl as part of her role as Student Representative Elect, and afterward we had an informal Canadian Caucus meeting at the kooky little AirBnB row house I was sharing with some of my team.

Canadian kitchen party in the AirBnB, including Emily, Jen, Ben, John, Brooke and Keahna.

On day four, I presented on the landscape culturomics work of my team, synthesizing a few recent works to advocate for a government role in ensuring researcher access to social media data for research with public good purposes. Brooke also presented some preliminary research on livestock farmers and systems thinking based on participants of the Advanced Grazing Systems (AGS) farmer mentorship program she is studying in her postdoc. The next day we spent driving back to Halifax by way of the NB farm of AGS-collaborator Cedric MacLeod where we got to see him moving his cattle to a rich new pasture. Brooke was a hero doing that big drive all in one day and I was very grateful to get back to my family after two weeks.

Happy cow on fresh pasture