Today marked the end of a spectacular conference. This morning we had a filling breakfast of food bought last night at the grocery store. Afterwards we went to the last plenary session of our time at ArcticNet and heard a fascinating panel of scientists discuss safety in the field. It was amazing to see how ArcticNet had put such a large focus on safety by including this presentation in the plenary sessions. In the presentation a remarkable rescue was relayed in which a graduate student doing cliff research had a boulder fall on him. Scientists needed to get him out quickly, as he had broken ribs and a spinal cord injury. The communication effort between those on the cliff, those at the top of the cliff, and those in the rescue team was quite impressive. The graduate was lifted out 16 hours after the boulder fell on him and taken immediately to a hospital where he went immediately into spinal surgery. A year later he was back on track and working in the field. However, he had to fight insurance to get the health care he needed. It was a good reminder to be wary and prepare for the worst even when thinking the chance is too small to be worth the time and money to prepare safely.
After the plenary session it was time to say our goodbyes to new and old friends, promising to stay in touch and continue the important work to be done. Ahead of us lay a long, exhausting day of travel.
I think I can safely speak for all of us in saying the conference went extremely well. Our data was well received, and if everything works out we should have new WhiskerPrinting data from Assiniboine Zoo to analyze as well as stronger partnerships with those we saw at the conference. In addition it offered a chance to get more on the same page with work being done between Kelvin, Park and Junior Rangers. Overall the conference went very well and I think all of us learned a whole lot. Hopefully some of those ideas are things we can take with us to help continue to improve and grow ISAMR.