Dear NAISMA Members, Subscribers, and Conference Attendees:
In light of the rapidly escalating COVID-19 pandemic, the NAISMA Board of Directors and staff, in consultation with co-host Montana Invasive Species Council (MISC), have decided to cancel the in-person portion of the conference and to continue with the virtual conference instead. This decision was based on several factors.
First, there are growing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Missoula County. Missoula hospitals and the Mayor of Missoula announced on Friday last week that they are already in crisis. We did not want to potentially add to Missoula’s crisis by sending attendees from all over the U.S. and if the borders were to open from Canada, from there as well.
Second, a recent survey of our in-person attendees told us that at least 30% of attendees already had a travel ban, expect a travel ban from their employer, or do not feel safe traveling at this time.
Third, with likely additional travel bans expected, we were not certain that we would meet our financial obligations to the conference venue and vendors.
As a result, the NAISMA Board of Directors, staff and I chose to minimize our potential role in escalating the COVID-19 crisis as well as our financial risk, so we decided to be proactive while we can.
NAISMA staff, board of directors, co-host MISC, and the conference planning committee will be adding more resources and fun activities to the virtual conference to make it even better than it was last year, including more small group networking, coffee chats, games, trivia, door prizes, and all virtual attendees will receive a swag bag with a printed program and other goodies!
I’m sorry that we can’t gather in person again this year, but I thank you for your understanding and I look forward to seeing you at the virtual conference in just 1 month. Register here.
If you have already registered, please email mbodde[at]naisma.org for changes to your registration.
Board President, NAISMA