A few weeks ago I went to the New York Botanical Garden for the Native Plant Symposium. Overall, it was a good experience. The organizers put together a great line-up of speakers, and I thought each presentation was interesting and thought provoking. One aspect of this symposium that was interesting to me was that it was targeted towards a fairly general audience. The talks were not like those you would see at ESA, though in a few cases new research was presented. The symposium was part of the adult education department at the garden, and it was clear that many of the attendees were individuals who were especially interested in plants in a more general sense. All of the talks are available on YouTube, and they’re worth having a look at. Each of the presentations contained something that made me stop and think about my current research or teaching, envisioning it in a slightly different light. That was great for me. The one downside of the conference (for me) was that is was so big (400+ attendees I think) that I didn’t really have an opportunity to chat with other local plant ecologists. I probably could have, but events this size tend to make me recede a bit.
There’s another symposium coming up, focusing on invasive plants. I’m planning to got to that one too, and hoping it’s as informative as the native plants one was.