With new people in our conservation community — as well as experienced folks who may want a refresher — it makes sense to publish a clear guide to participating in the WACD Annual Conference.

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What is the WACD annual conference?

The WACD annual conference provides a mechanism for people in our conversation community to come together to learn, to share, and to build stronger working relationships. It is different than the annual business meeting which is a formal meeting of voting members, as required in Part IV, Section 1 Meeting of Members of the WACD bylaws.

In 2021, the annual conference begins on November 2 and concludes on November 20. The annual business meeting will be held on November 30.

Why is the annual conference held?

It has been WACD’s tradition to hold an annual conference before the annual business meeting. Before COVID, the annual conference transitioned seamlessly into the annual business meeting. With COVID, these two events are separated this year.

In years past, some annual conference topics were geared toward helping attendees learn more about specific topics before being asked to make decisions on them at the annual business meeting. While that could happen this year, you should be aware that WACD selected topics for the annual conference in September, well before resolutions were brought forward at area association meetings in October. If some topics overlap, it will be because they are important within our community and “top of mind” for many of our people!

The conference will be a virtual event

Because of COVID restrictions, WACD chose to present the annual conference virtually in 2021. The conference will be held on Zoom. Each session will last up to two-and-a-half hours, on three separate days each week (Tuesday around lunchtime, Thursday around dinnertime, and Saturday morning). This pattern continues during the first three weeks of November 2021.

Registered attendees will receive Zoom links by email so that they can participate in the conference.

How to get the most out of the conference

Several behaviors will help you get the most out of the conference.

  • Show up! Show up early! It helps everyone when a presentation can start on time. Showing up several minutes early lets you make sure that your camera and microphone are working. You’ll get a chance to visit with people from across the state as everyone prepares for the session.
  • Keep your camera on and microphone off! It helps the presenter and members of the audience to be able to see faces so please endeavor to keep your camera on. Extraneous noises can be very disruptive so it helps to mute your microphone during the presentation. For those connecting by phone without a mute button, press *6 to mute and unmute your phone.
  • Use the “raise hand” function to ask questions! With many people participating, physically raising your hand may not be noticed. When you use the “raise hand” function in Zoom, it moves you to the top of the participant screen so that the speaker and host can see that you have a question.
  • Wait until the end of a presentation to ask questions. Most presenters will prefer that you wait until the end of their presentation to ask questions. We have built question-and-answer time into most presentations.

Will presentations be recorded?

The short answer to this question is a very firm maybe. At this time, we do not have permission from every speaker to record their presentation. We will clarify this with speakers as the conference proceeds so that we can capture some presentations.

If there is a session or presentation that you wish to be recorded, please tell us so that we can work with the presenter(s). Reach WACD Olympia staff at .