Outgoing President’s Message – Laurie Earley

It was my honor to travel with our incoming President, Steve Brumbaugh, and President-Elect, Rob Titus, to the Jersey Shore representing the California-Nevada Chapter.  The three of us attended the 2018 American Fisheries Society’s 148th Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, NJ.  The Mid-Atlantic chapter welcomed us and made sure attendees enjoyed the beach; from events on the boardwalk and piers, to closing the meeting with the Grand Event on the beach with fireworks.  Steve McMullin’s (now the Society’s Immediate Past-President) plenary speakers addressed the topics of marine fisheries, stakeholder involvement, and communication.  Christine O’Connell captivated the audience with her presentation “Making Your Science Count”, which still lingers in my mind.  She shared the comparison of two mindsets, scientists and journalists (or the general public), which those who attended the recent Bay-Delta Science conference may recognize.  It is important to note that as scientist we present and receive information differently than others.  I think this is important for us to all remember as we continue to make our science more relevant with the general public.  Additionally, the breakout sessions allowed attendees to hear about new research and management in areas both familiar and unfamiliar.  For me, I enjoyed the chance to reconnect with the species I once studied and the areas where I once lived.

Outside of attending the various activities scheduled for Unit Leaders, the primary objective for the Cal-Neva officers was to network with the 2018 Planning team, AFS headquarters staff, and others who will be involved in the planning of the 2019 Joint AFS and Wildlife Society meeting. Since our chapter will be hosting this event, it was especially helpful to make connections with several of the Wildlife Society staff and to meet the incoming TWS President, Darren Miller. The energy and the excitement around this meeting was contagious, and everyone I spoke with had many ideas to share. It is important to remember that our colleagues in TWS are grappling with similar challenges and this upcoming meeting will provide the unique opportunity to collaborate and to have cross-disciplinary discussions about these challenges. I ask that people start thinking about symposia topics and if anyone is interested in getting involved, please reach out to us.

Another major event that occurs during the Annual Meeting is the transition of the Society’s presidents. This event also marks the transition of the Cal-Neva Chapter officers. As we welcome Jesse Trushenski as the incoming Society President, I am excited and hopeful about the future of the Society. However, this occasion was a bittersweet moment for me, as I transition into the immediate Past-President position. I left Atlantic City feeling more driven and enthusiastic then when I arrived and it is unbelievable how quickly this last year flew by. Although I didn’t achieve all that I set out for, I know that I have another year in office which will allow me to continue to shepherd some of my current efforts, including the establishment of a small project grants program. As I wrap-up my duties, I am confident that Steve and Rob will continue to lead the chapter in the right direction and I look forward to working with both of them in the planning of the 2019 meeting.
Regarding some of our recent efforts, I provided our annual report to the AFS Governing Board and currently in the process of preparing our 2017-2018 Report Card to share with chapter membership. Once this is completed it will be available on our website. However, I would like to highlight a few things: we held a successful annual meeting; offered continuing education opportunities; held a joint workshop with the Wildlife Society; provided travel support to 3 student sub-units; provided travel awards for students and young-professionals to attend the CA-NV AFS meeting, the WDAF meeting, and the Society meeting; submitted letters to state and national politicians; and, established the new Native Fish committee. I would like to echo the sentiments of our other Past-Presidents, that these accomplishments are the work of our Chapter Executive Committee. I can’t take credit for all this work and would like to send a big shout out to our Ex Comm and thank them all for their hard work. It has been a pleasure to work with you all.

I am proud to have served as President for our Chapter and I will continue to be proud of our accomplishments. In my exit as President, I challenge our membership to become more involved and to assist our Ex Comm in accomplishing tasks that not only help out our chapter, and our society, but also help out our profession and the future. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the chapter and I look forward to the next year.

Laurie Earley