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Report on the 5th ANPC Conference and Conservation

Techniques Workshops

(Recovery: A Decade Towards A Biodiverse Future)

(Geelong, 24 February - 1 March 2003)


Paul Gibson Roy, PhD student, Burnley College, University of Melbourne


From Australasian Plant Conservation, Volume 12, Number 1, June 2003

It is not an exaggeration to say that I had been waiting eagerly for the 5th ANPC conference since attending the 4th at Albury/Wodonga some years past. That conference had been my first introduction to a conservation focused network and I was hooked.

I had started on a research project of my own, and so was able to submit a paper for the fifth ANPC conference. This time, I was not only looking forward to being exposed to a fascinating coverage of conservation research and practical applications of conservation techniques, but also to the nervousness I knew I would feel as the time of my presentation approached.

In his welcome to the conference participants Rob Small suggested the conference and its setting would provide an opportunity for all to congregate with like-minded people and advance the cause of biodiversity protection. I think that by and large he was right. Part of the joy of attending this conference was to be immersed in the enthusiasm generated by those attending, contributing to, and organising the event. It was quite infectious.

The organising committee selected what I thought a compelling range of topics for presentation and discussion and the presentations were of a high standard. It would be pointless to mention any in particular as all presenters brought to life their own area of interest or research in a whole manner of styles and techniques. My nervousness peaked late in the second day when with huge relief I returned to my chair, complimentary bottle of wine in hand thinking, 'I hope what just came out of my mouth made some sense to everyone stuck out there'. Regardless, I am grateful for the support and encouragement of fellow attendees.

Because of a teaching commitment I had to miss the field trip, which as I anticipated, was highly successful (reported as such to me by C.J. Delpratt).

The first half of the week had been taken up by a wonderful range of papers and posters. The second, with workshop sessions, was even better. Each workshop I attended increased the level of information above that given in the paper sessions with presenters able to give in‑depth insights and practical instruction. It seemed everyone's dilemma revolved around wanting to attend all workshops offered at each session.

There were many highlights for me during the week in Geelong. The conference dinner was certainly one. It was a great opportunity to relax and get to know the person behind the name tag. The guest speaker had me absolutely captivated from the beginning to the end of his presentation on New Guinea. It was totally out of left field for me, but capped off a most enjoyable evening.

I have mentioned the skill and passion of the paper and workshop presenters. I must also comment on what I know isn't taken for granted by participants. The organisation of this conference (Jeanette et al), was at all levels quite superb. I shudder to think of the amount of work involved in running such an event successfully. I know it probably helps when the organisers are committed to the cause, but boy they did a good job. Those at the front table each day were absolute champions. It just felt like it was going to be a good day when you had finished dealing with them. Staff at the centre were a pleasure to deal with at all times, and the setting for the conference was an excellent choice.

The fifth ANPC conference has left me once again looking forward to the sixth. I would like to thank the organisers for the opportunity to take part in this event. It was a great thrill to present my area of interest to such an accomplished gathering, and to receive encouragement and support from the many talented people attending.