Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Thoughts from the International Congress of Entomology 2016

It has been a little over a week since we participated at the International Congress of Entomology 2016 in Orlando, FL and it was a great experience.  The Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health hosted a booth in the Exhibit Hall for the week and we also participated in the Symposium: What Happens When Pest Occurrence Data is Shared: End of the World or New Horizons?

Image by: Rebekah D. Wallace
The conference had over 6,600 registered attendants and about half came from outside of the United States, representing 102 countries. It was a great opportunity to meet people we may not have another chance to otherwise.  In the six days that the Exhibit Hall was open and we were able to talk to over 260 people from at least 32 countries.  We talked at length with researchers from Nigeria, industry representatives from the U.K., academics from New Zealand, and more.  Some of the most interested attendees were the students who came from everywhere.  We were able to talk to people who had not heard of our program, those who only knew about one or two things that we do, and people who were avid supporters of Bugwood.

In working at the booth, we were able to make new connections with people who may be interested in using images from the Image Database in teaching and outreach.  Many were also interested in contributing images so that other researchers, teachers, students, etc. could have access to high-quality images.  We talked to people about EDDMapS and how we work with people in the invasive species community to map species occurrences across the U.S. and in Canada, and there were many people interested in potentially mapping in their own country, asking how we could work together to make that happen.  They learned about our smartphone apps and all of the types we have developed for reporting invasive species, identification, decision support, and more.  The teachers, and really anyone who has given a presentation, were interested in Bugwood Presents, our presentation database that allows you to upload, download, and embed presentations.

But, really, the greatest thing is when avid supporters would come to the booth and talk with other visitors about all of the things that we have done with them.  Countless projects, hours (and after-hours), travel time, webinars, e-mails, phone calls, and more with all of our partners is definitely worth it to hear how much people have been satisfied with the work we are doing.

Thank you to everyone who stopped by!