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CERF 2013: Innovations and Inspirations

Article by Steve Weisberg, CERF 2013 Conference Chair

When Susan Williams and Joy Bartholomew asked me to lead the CERF 2013 meeting in San Diego, I asked how they would judge whether the meeting was successful. Much to my surprise, they didn’t start with finances (though let’s be real, it’s on the list). Instead, they emphasized the culture of CERF and making the meeting memorable.

They felt the most successful meetings were ones that introduce innovations that serve as inspirations for things we do at future CERF meetings.

I am pleased to say that your CERF planning team has taken that mandate seriously and is considering many new and exciting initiatives that we hope will make San Diego memorable. The first initiative is institution of plenary sessions in which we bring in high profile speakers, who will provide new perspectives to the CERF community.

The plenary sessions will establish topical themes that will pervade the rest of the meeting, as the plenary sessions are followed by a series of invited and contributed sessions on the same topics. We will even have workshops and field trips that are paired with those themes.  Your Scientific Program Chairs, John Largier and Skyli McAfee, have written an article in the October 2012 newsletter starting on page 6 providing more detail on the plenary themes (and, of course, we will have many sessions on other topics as contributed by the CERF community).  

Our second new initiative is the CERF Bowl, an estuarine science quiz competition in which the regional chapters will compete against each other for the soon-to-be-coveted CERF Bowl trophy! The competition will be modeled after the National Ocean Science Bowl and will be an evening event, which we hope will be both entertaining and a means of instilling local chapter pride. Make sure to start selecting your team at your next regional affiliate society meeting.

We also have several other initiatives under consideration, including a debate in which we bring in leading college debating teams to argue the pros and cons of a sociopolitical issue of interest to CERF members. We are also looking to institute an auction to support student activities (please let us know if you have science memorabilia or other items that you would like to contribute to the auction). Put all these together with a great set of workshops, local tours and all that San Diego has to offer, and this is a meeting you will want to attend.

I hope to see you there.