After thoughtful analysis and deliberation, TWS Council has decided to conduct the 2021 TWS Annual Conference virtually. This decision reflects our responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of the Society, our members, conference attendees and the general population while still serving our mission. It also reflects a realistic assessment of the feasibility of travel for many of our potential attendees.
Council also evaluated the potential impacts our members would experience if we proceeded with an in-person conference—and the benefits of deciding to go virtual sooner rather than later—including:
Council also considered the impact this decision would have on our exhibitors, sponsors and partners who provide great support to the Society and our members. Their presence and activities at an in-person conference are different than a virtual conference, requiring different planning, lead times and financial commitment. With TWS making the decision to go virtual now, it will provide more planning time for them to determine how they can best engage with conference attendees and make their interaction more valuable.
An in-person conference requires contracted facilities and vendor relationships, some of which include financial penalties that escalate if we need to cancel the event. By making this decision now, TWS is upholding their responsibility to our members and keeping the Society financially viable and thriving—ensuring that we can continue to provide all of our valuable member benefits, programs and services.
Your health, safety and experience are our top priorities. No matter what the impact of the pandemic is next year, TWS will be ready to safely deliver the high-quality content and experience you’ve come to expect from our Annual Conference. In 2020, more than 2,500 professionals and students engaged virtually and the feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive. We also received many suggestions, so we’ve begun evaluating how we can include many of those enhancements to make the 2021 Annual Conference even better!
The new dates for the 2021 virtual TWS Annual Conference and additional details related to our calls for proposals, presentations, posters, registration date and costs, and more will be announced in the next few weeks. Keep an eye on your email, your eWildlifer, and twsconference.org for news and updates.