Plenary speaker Carol Evans encouraged attendees to visit Spokane Falls. I'm grateful we listened.
I’m <checks calendar> a little less than two months into my marketing role here at CTT, and I was fortunate already to have traveled to *another* company-sponsored conference. The same CTT staffers worked this event as October’s Raptor Research Foundation meeting (me, Jess Formento, David La Puma, and Mike Lanzone), but in a much different locale and for a broader audience. Yes, I am talking about The Wildlife Society’s 29th Annual Conference, from November 6-10 in Spokane, Washington. Official attendance counts showed more than 2,000 registered participants, making this one big event, and certainly the largest conference I have ever attended.
I am glad that I monitored Spokane's weather ahead of our trip. I needed the hat and gloves pretty much every time we ventured outside to grab food or bird.
Jess Formento and Kelly Ball, aka 2/3 of our Sales & Marketing team. We came prepared for the chilly temps!
Monday’s opening plenary legitimately blew me away. I'd read up a bit enough prior to know that the theme “Celebrating Tribal Wildlife Management: Opportunities, Challenges and Defining a New Path” would certainly befit the location (not to mention the occasion). What I didn’t expect was to run an emotional gamut.
Squeezing into a packed ballroom for the plenary.
A few highlights:
- Carol Evans of the Spokane Tribe of Indians speaking eloquently about living in balance with the natural world and her faith in the return of salmon to Spokane.
- Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s video address (she's also the first Native American to serve as a Cabinet Secretary), reinforcing the importance of respecting Indigenous knowledge of land stewardship,
- Hunters of Color’s Lydia Parker delivering a unique, delightful, and powerful talk about why increasing diversity in outdoor pursuits is essential to restoring balance to nature.
Monday also happened to be my birthday, and our team celebrated it over some really outstanding Mexican food at Cochinito. Like me, David's a food enthusiast, so I always trust his recommendation.
Excellent food, primo company, happy Kelly.
Between sitting in on an A-list plenary lineup, enjoying a veritable winter wonderland of scenery, and a dinner consisting of some of the best Mexican food I've ever had? Not a bad way to turn 47!
CTT's Product Evolution
On Wednesday morning, our CEO and wildlife researcher, Mike Lanzone, delivered a 1/2-hour talk, "Connecting Networks, Wings, and Wildlife for Conservation." Mike shared how his determination to improve available wildlife telemetry for a single study in the mid-2000s resulted in what is today Cellular Tracking Technologies.
Mike's early work with eastern Golden Eagles led to the development of the first-ever GPS GSM wildlife tracking device.
We now offer Iridium transmitters that provide positioning, depth, and temperature specifically for tracking penguins.
Our Busy Booth
Hosting the poster sessions in the exhibitor's hall resulted in awesome booth traffic.
Talking telemetry with wildlife professionals from all over the world.
An until-now unspoken rule among birders who exhibit at conferences is sneaking in juuuust a tiny bit of birding. Because running a booth at a conference literally means you're "on" from the moment you leave your hotel room until you return to said room, conference birding outings are precious, short, and normally confined to about a 1-mile radius outside the conference HQ. (I think they call it Speed Birding?)
The conference's site and our hotel, the Davenport Grand, sits smack in the heart of downtown Spokane. Situated as it is near the incredible Spokane Falls and within Riverfront Park, the habitat surrounding our location attracts a nice variety of waterfowl and songbirds.
David and Mike bird the Falls. That late-day November light . . . . magic.
Having birded out West very little, and hardly at all in the Pacific Northwest, our brief birding excursions resulted in TWO life birds species for my list: American Dipper and Barrow's Goldeneye.
While it's great to be back in the cozy confines of Cape May, I will miss connecting with our clients and interacting with wildlife researchers. Here's to the next conference!