By Jenifer Wisniewski, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
In a normal world, we’d be packing our bags for a trip to New Mexico in a few days. But I don’t need to tell you there’s no such thing as a normal world in 2020.
First, COVID-19 forced us to postpone the ACI Conference from July to November. Then we had to cancel it altogether. The Board of Directors hated having to make that decision, and we held off for as long as we could, but with health concerns and travel restrictions, we believe it was the right decision.
Fortunately, the hard work and preparation of conference coordinator Lance Cherry and his staff to make our New Mexico experience a memorable one will not go to waste. We’re still going to have an ACI Conference in New Mexico! The only difference will be the dates. Mark your calendars now for July 25-28, 2021, and for the optional Locavore Workshop on the 29th. And watch for the ACI website to be updated soon.
Cancelling the conference has affected ACI in several ways, including the Awards presentation and the election of officers and Board members at the business meeting. Here’s what we’re doing about those.
Judging is currently underway for the Awards Contest. Even though we can’t have an in-person ceremony, we’ll still have an online awards presentation – Sunday, Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. EDT. Awards Chair Blake Podhajsky and Co-chair Aaron Meier have some great ideas for an entertaining presentation ceremony. We’ll be sharing details soon.
Normally we would elect a slate of officers and three new board members at our annual business meeting. After reviewing the ACI Bylaws, the board decided to keep all current officers and board positions as-is until 2021.
We hate not being able to get together this year, but we look forward to gathering in Santa Fe in 2021. Meanwhile, stay safe and healthy!