The time has come (and gone) for passing the torch to the next Chapter President, Rob Titus. This message may be a bit belated, but it is sincere none the less. It has been an honor carrying the title of Chapter President and I am proud of what we achieved during my tenure. The Chapter kicked off a new small grants program to help members pursue relevant and important research regardless of the stage in their career. We formed the Diversity and Outreach Committee to work toward broadening our membership. And, of course, we were integral in pulling off the largest meeting of fish and wildlife biologists ever with the 2019 AFS and TWS Joint Annual Meeting in Reno. And all of this while continuing our regular Chapter business of travel grants, comment letters supporting science-based policy, and supporting science programs for all ages via programs like the Nature Bowl in Placer County.
It may seem a bit cliché, but I would encourage every professional to get involved with a society they feel a connection with. My professional network has expanded exponentially, even having taken office more than 10 years into my career. I now know fish biologists that are experts on various species and in various topics, from suckers to salmonids and from e-fishing to aquaculture. At any given time, I can call on their expertise when I may be hung up on an issue a bit outside my own wheelhouse. Many of these folks I also now have the privilege of calling my friends. I’ve drawn inspiration from people like Society Past-President Jesse Trushenski and our own Past-President Laurie Earley, who set an example by always jumping in whole-heartedly and being a driving force rather than simply waiting on the wings for things to get done. And from current Chapter President Rob Titus, who knew that the monumental lift of the 2019 Reno meeting was on the horizon yet stepped up to run for office undeterred.
We are living and working in a difficult time for science right now, where motives and results are questioned at every turn. Pseudoscience and misinformation have the internet as their platform, making it that much more important that we support avenues for spreading legitimate science. Science that prides itself in a standard upheld by peer review. Whether through membership dues, meeting attendance, journal subscriptions, or Executive Committee involvement, your contribution matters, and I thank you for it.
As Past-President I like to imagine that my role now is to pass on some sage advice to those that follow and wrap up a few loose ends. But, the realist in me also realizes that much of my sage advice is more like those life-hack videos online, where the people watching already know most of it and just pick up a little something useful here or there. While it may be a bit of a blow to the ego, there is a lot of comfort in knowing the Chapter is in such capable hands. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to lead the California-Nevada Chapter. I am eager to find out what is yet to come under our new leadership, and I hope I can continue to contribute in the years ahead.