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Your Feedback in Action: New Networking Opportunity and Virtual Seminar Series

Earlier this summer, ForestGEO circulated a survey to network members to gauge interest in possible prospective virtual programs.  Within two weeks, 40 ForestGEO members who are active in the network as PIs, postdocs, grant recipients, workshop participants, and ForestGEOnet listserv subscribers responded with their feedback. Collectively, these 40 people are affiliated with 27 ForestGEO research plots and provided us with helpful ideas and impressions regarding potential virtual initiatives.

One theme that emerged is that ForestGEO members seek greater connectivity with each other. With that in mind, ForestGEO has launched two new programs: an early career networking opportunity, and a monthly seminar series.

ForestGEO connected 39 early-career researchers into nine groups spanning 14 time zones. Groups were organized by common research interests, and met for a 30-minute videoconference. We suggested conversation topics such as research bottlenecks, memorable field experiences, and new quarantine hobbies.  Feedback for the initiative has been positive, and we plan to offer the program again in the future.  Former ForestGEO Research Grant recipient, Evan Gora, a PhD candidate at the University of Louisville, said, “Even apart from potential collaborations, we had a fruitful and engaging conversation about science.  If we overlap at a conference or workshop, then I will definitely seek my group members out.”

Also in response to the survey, ForestGEO is introducing a virtual seminar series.  It will be offered monthly and will include two speakers during a one-hour session. Each speaker will give a short talk followed by discussion and Q&A. The seminars will showcase a variety of topics, some of broad, general interest and others on a more focused research project.  We look forward to featuring plot PIs, postdocs, and other members of the network. ForestGEO will offer these seminars on the third Wednesday of every month from 9-10 AM, EDT and will require prior registration. To make the seminars accessible across many time zones, we will share recordings with those who request them in advance. 

Our first seminar on September 16 will feature Dan Johnson and Camille Piponiot.  Dan is a PI of both the Lilly Dicky Woods (Indiana, USA) and Ordway Swisher (Florida, USA) plots. He will be presenting an introduction to the Ordway Swisher plot, an upland sandhill forest and the most recent research site to join the ForestGEO network. Camille is a postdoctoral fellow with a joint appointment at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and will present on her work with size-related carbon dynamics in ForestGEO sites

Would you like to present at a future seminar?  We welcome talks on both published and in-progress work.  Please email ForestGEO@si.edu to be considered.  

We thank all those who took the time to respond to our survey, and we look forward to developing our programs to continue to support members of the ForestGEO network.