Those that have been with the Network a long time will remember when the Oilapalooza (nod to Mike Ziccardi for the creative naming) conferences started. This event has grown and evolved, and gone from a (mostly) annual conference to a biennial one. Now during the in-between years, we host our biennial Oiled Wildlife Planning Summit (OWPS). As all of us (and many of you) prep for Oilapalooza, I wanted to revisit last year’s (the 2nd Biennial) Summit.
The goal of the Summit is for Network members to be able to collaborate on reviewing, expanding, and improving OWCN programs. We start by putting out a request for proposals to the Network to find subjects of interest. During the Summit, those who submitted proposals deliver speed talks on their topic. Next, all the attendees choose a project of interest to assist on developing further. From there, Summit attendees and the rest of the Network have the opportunity to join work groups that spend the next year (DEADLINE: Oilapalooza!) developing the projects.
During last year’s Summit 32 of our 43 member organizations sent representatives to participate – in total about 60 people attended. This also included OSPR and UC Davis personnel. Following the speed talks, voting, intense discussions, and lots of scribbled notes on giant poster paper, the group narrowed it down to 5 workgroups:
- Cross Training & Responder Exchange
- Training Program Development
- Evidence Collection and Handling Training
- OWCN Mentor Research Program
- Inland Species Taxa Specialists
Each of these workgroups met over the last year to develop their topics, determine their goals, and work toward accomplishing them.
With Oilapalooza quickly approaching (next week!) we’ve asked a representative from each group to present on their topic. They each have just a few minutes and a couple slides to talk about what they’ve accomplished and where they want things to go from here. Some groups have completed their tasks, some may have a few things to wrap up, and others may even expand their topic continuing to work well after Oilapalooza (We’re looking at you, Green Team). I don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder, so we’ll post some summaries of the work (or maybe get some guest bloggers on here to show off the workgroups!) after Oilapalooza.
These projects represent a lot of coordination and a lot of work for already busy people. We’re impressed and incredibly appreciative of what they’ve done. The OWCN truly is a Network, and our member organizations are a great resource both during spill-time and during the (relative) calms. Thanks for all you do and a special shout out to these working groups for everything they’ve accomplished!
– Greg Frankfurter