[Tweeters] WOS Conference suggestion of opening up field trips

Scott Downes downess at charter.net
Mon Apr 15 15:45:44 PDT 2013

I saw in one post, a suggestion to open up field trips so that more can participate. There are two ways to do this (speaking as somebody who has helped to organize 2 of the last 3 conferences): One is to increase the number of trips. While this sounds easy, each trip needs a leader and we already experience leader overload and drain the well close to dry each year by trying to find leaders for the more than 40 trips currently being offered at each conference.

The second way is to up the number of people on each trip. I'll go on the record as one of the vocal opponents during my time on the board (and when asked about this conference as well) to not increase the number of participants. Many of these trips are on gravel roads in remote areas and having 15 or 16 people on a trip all trying to get on bird X usually doesn't result in a good trip for birding results. Not to mention logistics of the leader trying to wrangle 4 or 5 cars in a line or find pullouts for this many cars. If we went to a higher number of people on a trip, I would think vans would be prudent, but that has it's own logistics and added cost.

I know it's frustrating on registration day, but the number of positive comments about the conferences themselves always far outweigh the other issues. There rarely is a "bad" field trip, and most people are quite happy with their weekends, despite not getting their first choice. As I said, having been in the fire for 2 of the last 3 years I know the frustration that Jane, Dan and the rest of the board is feeling right now. Despite these minor setbacks, the current system of 12 on field trips and 40+ trips seems to be working wonderfully. We had almost 200 people at Spokane last year. That is almost 200 for a state birding conference, not a regional or national. Quite impressive to me.

See you all in Omak.

Scott Downes
downess at charter.net
Yakima WA

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