There are many, so many, downsides to these terrible times with Covid keeping us from direct contact with anyone outside whatever "bubble" we've figured out that makes sense for ourselves and our families.
But here's an upside: You can attend a really good conference (or two), virtually, at much less than regular attendance would cost!
Maybe you could have a look at what's on the agenda, see what your team might find especially valuable and set up a watch party.
We all know the river, and its watershed, continues to need our understanding and this might be a way to continue our education, and maybe enjoy some camaraderie to boot.
Here's some of them. If I'm missing one or more, let me know.
From the Headwaters to the Bay and the Tribs In-Between:
Staying Connected Amidst a Pandemic
The four days kick off on Monday at 10 a.m. with a welcome and opening remarks from Representative Antonio Delgado (NY-19) The organizers -- the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed -- are still looking for suggested questions for Delgado to address. I've already submitted mine!
And you know I'm going to be there for this breakout session (Monday 1 p.m.):
A panel on the Flexible Flow Management Program -- aka how the Delaware River's headwaters are the New York City reservoirs, and how what NYCDEP does with them affects the entire watershed.
Studded throughout the forum are member sessions for each state in the watershed, with the state lead heading a discussion of strategy and tactics specific to that state. Everyone is welcome to attend any of these. You're not relegated to ONLY your state!
On Thursday at 11 a.m., some serious movers and shakers will talk about "Connecting the Dots Between Watershed-Wide Partnerships."
Also on Thursday, at 1 p.m., get the Delaware River Basin Commission's rundown on "A Fishable, Swimmable (and Drinkable) Delaware Estuary." The DRBC has the responsibility for both the quality and quantity of water in the river, a big complicated job. Diving into this session might be a great way to celebrate that "our" river is American Rivers' River of the Year!
How Philly Can Rise Up to the Climate Challenge
The agenda is still filling out, but you can expect to hear lightning sessions on how to live sustainably at home and learn how businesses and organizations are embracing challenges and creating opportunities. As its name implies, Green Philly's symposium will be based in Philly but it promises takeaways for everyone.
2020 Watershed Congress
Yes, it's a week-long conference, but some days there's only one session, like on Monday when the keynote address will be "Today's Youth -- Tomorrow's Environmental Leaders."
On Wednesday there are seven sessions, and the lineup includes the session, "Fishable and Swimmable Waters, Recreation and Stream Health -- Survey Findings."
That could prove an interesting counterpoint to the DRBC's talk on the same topic, which was at the first conference mentioned above. The DRBC and the Delaware Riverkeeper are at odds on this issue.
The presenters range from researchers from Villanova and the Stroud Water Research Center to businesses like Princeton Hydro and a host of environmental advocacy groups.
Water, water, everywhere
They call it "the best place for your one-stop shopping on all the pressing issues facing the UDR!" It includes sessions on stream restoration, the persistence of knotweed, and my favorite: "A Citizens Guide to the Flexible Flow Management Program."
Delaware Watershed Research Conference
The conference program will include a keynote talk by Mike Slattery of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a series of presentations by researchers doing work in the Delaware River.
The conference will be free.
And bringing us full circle, a preview of these presentations will be offered at the Delaware River Watershed Forum on Sept. 17 from 1 to 2 p.m. (see above.)