What a year. A world-wide pandemic that has changed virtually all our lives, both for better and for worse. Social unrest that mobilized communities everywhere to speak out about injustices in our society. Wildfires throughout California and Nevada on a more widespread basis than ever before. A crazy and controversial national election reflecting a nation divided over basic principles. We have all been influenced by these events, including the California-Nevada Chapter of AFS.
As we approach 2021 and I term out as sitting President of the Chapter, the thing that really strikes me is how well we as a chapter scrambled to adapt to this rapidly changing landscape of conditions. When you take a cold, hard look, a professional organization that is so committed to bringing people together face-to-face to exchange information, share ideas, and develop collaborations and friendships, could have well just called it good and taken a break while we all waited out this situation. Fear not, though, for the steadfast Cal-Neva Executive Committee shook, shifted, and shimmied its way from having to call off a live annual meeting 3 days before curtain rise in March to working with Western Division, AFS headquarters staff, and an amazing group of grad students at Clemson University to help put on the Society’s first-ever Virtual Spring Conference, which in May featured many of the Cal-Neva member presentations otherwise slated for the cancelled Folsom meeting. A huge shout-out to current President Dave Lentz for coordinating Cal-Neva’s involvement in that ground breaking event, and to all the Cal-Neva members who pulled together recorded presentations and represented the Chapter.
One of the perks associated with serving on the Chapter ExCom is, believe it or not, the monthly meetings. Who doesn’t love another meeting, right? These meetings, though, provide the opportunity for much of the ExCom to come together on a regular basis to manage the business of the Chapter and typically conclude with sharing a meal and a little fun together. Like all forms of gathering, the pandemic required that we either suspend activity – not an option in this case – or, again, adapt and find a new way. Which this amazing group of people did, first by phone and then by webinar. Many thanks to termed out Secretary, Kathleen Berridge, not only for her service on the ExCom overall, but also for her assistance in facilitating our move to virtual meetings. In the same breath, I want to officially welcome new secretary, Nicole Kwan, to the ExCom.
In spite of all the challenges that we’ve faced this year, 2020 has been a year of recognition for the Chapter. Cal-Neva received the Outstanding Large Chapter Award not only from Western Division, but also at the national level, for all its accomplishments in 2019, not the least of which was the Chapter’s role in co-hosting the annual meeting in Reno (see blogpost here). This honor represents the culmination of work conducted by the ExCom and membership over a several year period. Congratulations to all!
The Greeks have a very special word – philotimo – which basically means that one’s acts should bring honor to its family and community through selflessness and with an eye on bettering the world around them. The Cal-Neva Chapter of AFS is imbued with philotimo, always looking for ways to support work in fisheries and to provide opportunity for membership. I have been honored to serve as President of the Chapter and look forward to continuing work as Past President alongside President Dave Lentz and President-Elect Matt Young. Thanks to all for this opportunity and for all of your hard work!
Chapter Past-President Rob Titus