I had a busy week last week; want to give you a quick report on what I was doing. First. . . .
Many times I have been asked why Nebraska fisheries biologists are not doing what biologists in some other state are doing. The implication behind those questions is that we do not know what biologists in other states are doing. I suppose a pointy-headed fisheries biologist could live under some rock, but there are no good biologists who are not familiar with the state of the science in their state AND others. I will admit that it can be difficult to find enough time to keep up with all of the recent research and published papers, but we do what we can. In addition, part of “staying current” in our profession is participation in professional organizations and attendance at professional meetings.
Last week we hosted one of the best of those professional meetings here in Lincoln, the Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference.
If you are interested in some details about a professional meeting of pointy-headed fish and wildlife biologists, follow the links above and do some exploring. You can find abstracts of papers and posters that were presented. If you do that, you will see that papers were presented on a variety of topics, a variety of species, from a variety of places including Nebraska. We even took a few folks on a quick field trip to see some of our aquatic habitat rehabilitation work being done on Conestoga Reservoir just west of town. Our Aquatic Habitat Program is one of the few of its kind anywhere, and we are proud of it!
There were about 700 attendees at the conference last week, and those folks represented at least 13 states and 3 Canadian provinces. The MidWest Fish & Wildlife Conference represents states from the Dakotas south to Kansas, and then east over to Ohio and north up into Canada; that gives you an idea of the origin of the majority of the attendees.
Our guests started arriving in Lincoln on Sunday, Feb. 5, and the conference wrapped up on the following Wednesday. Days were filled with meetings and presentations while nights offered opportunities for socializing, catching up with old friends, and meeting new ones. We had a great social on Sunday evening while taking in the Super Bowl on the big screen. I walked through the doors into the big room for the Sunday night social and was immediately greeted by some fellow fish-squeezers from Illinois and Wisconsin, some that I had not seen for years. Yes, I had a few fish stories for them. I got to say “Hi” to other acquaintances from South Dakota, Kansas, and even Washington D.C., and once again got to shake the hand of my now-retired adviser from my undergrad days at the University of Nebraska. It was good to see them all again.
As you can imagine, these conferences are great opportunities for students in the field to publicize their research and make connections with potential employers. Some of us “old dogs” get re-energized by seeing the work being done by those just getting into the field!
I had a busy week last week, had some other duties to take care of, but I spent as much time at “the MidWest” as I could and was very happy that we got to host it this year! I believe next year it is on to Wisconsin.