In my original message, I had raised the hope that by now, the COVID19 tsunami would have dissipated and become a memory of some sort….Well, my optimistic nature was unfortunately defeated, step by step...
Our ‘organising’ committee had to develop new skills to become a ‘re-organising’ committee!
We were all sincerely so sad initially to come to accept in early 2021 that no distant overseas wetland colleague will be able to enter Aotearoa and attend the 11thINTECOL Wetlands Conference. However, our committee remained hopeful that our Australian colleagues will be able to make it when a travel bubble was opened between our two countries. I know many of them were looking forward to it when the announcement was made last April.
Alas, the bubble did not last too long, and late July, the bubble was bursting… We adapted again…
And then, New Zealand entered in a new lockdown 4 weeks ago. Hope remained nevertheless that the team of 5 Million will beat the delta variant and return to normality. While we are again tracking well, that hope to be ready and have certainty by the 10th of October has certainly waned quickly…
With this message, we are pleased to confirm that our committee, after reviewing all options, has agreed to still hold 11th INTECOL International Wetlands Conference (IWC). We will now host the conference on a virtual platform over 10-15 October 2021. Some side events that had been planned over that week will still be held locally.
Our conference organiser, Conference Innovators, have supported us all along and we have full confidence that we can still deliver together online, an attractive event for all.
This will obviously not look quite like what we had envisaged and worked hard at for the last three years but we hope that you will continue to support our conference. There are many benefits of holding a virtual conference, not the least, reducing our travel impact on the planet. We understand that many of you will be disappointed too and will consider their options. We are now asking all of you who had successfully submitted an oral paper to pre-record their presentations and we will endeavour to organise as many Q&A live opportunities at the end of each session.
Thank you again to the many of you (nearly 500 people) who had submitted an abstract and registered. We hope that you will still be able to participate.
So, for the first time in its history, the INTECOL Wetlands Conference will happen online. Considering our theme, we accept that sharing stories around traditional knowledge may not be so easy, but multiple ideas have already been suggested by our committee members and we will be working hard in the coming month to offer you the best we can. Even virtual field trips have been mentioned. Watch that space!
We remain excited by this new challenge and totally committed to the membership of organisations and sponsors associated to the conference.
Conference Innovators will continue to provide you with all the same support you have received to date. We will be updating you regularly so please, keep an eye on our messages and/or keep checking our website.
We look forward to welcoming you to the 11th Christchurch/Ōtautahi IWC in October 2021!
Ngā mihi mahana/Kind regards
Dr Philippe Gerbeaux | David Perenarra-O’Connell | Shona Myers