Striving for success in Cleveland

By Nick Wesdock

This year’s opening night event will be held at the world-famous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on Monday evening. ©Erik Drost

Correction: A previous version of this story, which appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of The Wildlife Professional, incorrectly mentioned that our opening night event at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame would be on Sunday. The correct date of that event is Monday, Oct. 8, 2018. The time of the event has not been announced.

The family gathered for their first meal together last May at their home on the 12th floor of Cleveland’s Terminal Tower. On the menu for the feathery family: bat.

Steps away from the site of The Wildlife Society’s 25th Annual Conference next October, the tower has been home to many peregrine falcons over the past 28 years, including these new parents, known by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources as Lady Millar and Stacker.

The success of once-endangered peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) in and around Cleveland reflects the city’s renaissance, as well as TWS President John McDonald’s plenary theme for this year’s conference: Recognizing and Sustaining Conservation Successes.

This October’s celebration of a quarter-century of TWS Annual Conferences is poised to have attendees reveling in the achievements of the wildlife profession.

A rockin’ program

This year’s schedule will build upon the great experiences of past TWS conferences with one-of-a-kind venues, lively events and some favorable modifications.

In a major change, the core days of this year’s conference program run Monday through Thursday, with workshops on Sunday so conference attendees can easily travel to Cleveland on Saturday. (Recent conferences ran Sunday through Wednesday, with workshops on Saturday.)

Hosting Monday’s opening night event is the world-famous Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where attendees can meander through six levels of exhibits at an exclusive event for conference attendees. Drink tickets will be provided, but eat before this drinks-only event!

The Student-Professional Networking Event will return Tuesday evening, and plenary and keynote sessions have moved to late morning. Concurrent sessions will begin at 8:10 a.m., leading into a mid-morning refreshment break, followed by a general plenary or keynote session. Daily 50-minute poster sessions will take place in the members activity center each afternoon, where refreshments will be available.

Three field trips delve into local wildlife science, conservation and management efforts, exploring Cleveland Metroparks’ Emerald Necklace, floating down the reclaimed river that gave rise to the modern environmental movement and meandering through five distinct ecosystems while native wildlife traverse overhead.

A city on the rise

Conference-goers will experience what Clevelanders have known for years: this former industrial powerhouse has transformed into a mecca for arts, culture, food, beer, sports, music and yes, even wildlife.

Cleveland was named as one of three U.S. destinations on National Geographic Traveler’s list of 21 best places to visit in 2018. Its renaissance coincides with a $3 billion revitalization of the city’s meeting and convention venues, which conference attendees will call home for the week.

The sleek new Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland features state-of-the-art meeting spaces and technology that make the venue easy for conference-goers to navigate. Floor-to-ceiling windows in the grand ballroom offer stunning views of Lake Erie from the members activity center. It even has a working farm!

The Hilton Cleveland Downtown, one of our two host hotels, offers a convenient connection to the convention center. Attendees will receive a discounted nightly room rate by booking in TWS’ block at the gorgeous new hotel. Hilton guests can enjoy three onsite dining options and a bar with panoramic views atop the building. The hotel also offers fitness and business facilities, a gift shop and onsite parking.

Also partnering with TWS to host attendees at a discounted rate, The Westin Cleveland Downtown offers impeccable service and a host of amenities, with locally sourced cuisine at the hotel’s restaurant, a 24-hour fitness studio and a business center.

Both hotels have convenient access to TWS programs and activities at the convention center, as well as downtown Cleveland’s culture and nightlife. As usual, members staying at either hotel will find significant savings off the standard rates, free in-room Wi-Fi, friendly booking terms and great accommodations and service that has been vetted.

Hopefully this preview of TWS’ 25th Annual Conference has you as excited to get to Cleveland as we are. The conference runs from Sunday, Oct. 7 through Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018. Registration opens in May.

For frequent updates, be sure to check out wildlife.org and twsconference.org, where you will find information on calls for proposals and presentations, accommodations, events and activities, educational and training opportunities, and more.

Nick WesdockNick Wesdock is The Wildlife Society’s Membership and Conferences Coordinator. You can follow him on Twitter at @nick_wesdock.

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