This semester, I got to attend my first major science conference, The Southeastern Ecology Conference. The lab had attended a smaller conference at Clemson earlier in the semester, but SEEC was on a whole different level.
The weekend began on Friday, we caravanned over to Athens, GA. After two hours of trying to keep up with Kylie on the road, we arrived at our hotel. We all got checked in and we all began to get really excited! Since it was already getting kind of late, we decided to head over to downtown to get checked in for SEEC and eat dinner. We ate at Mellow Mushroom and all bonded over pizza. After hours of exchanging ghost stories (which weren't exactly my favorite) and quizzing each other with trivia questions, we headed back to the hotel to get rested up for the big day.
Saturday morning began early. We all woke up and got ready and convened in the hotel lobby. As we headed over to the UGA campus I began to get really nervous and excited all at once. I had had the opportunity to present my work to my fellow Clemson peers but the crowd that was going to be at UGA was diverse and new. The morning began with a wonderful keynote speaker who talked about unique and innovative methods of reaching out to more people about conservation issues. Her ideas ranged from the Tree Climber Barbie Doll to hosting parties in the jungle inviting all different types of artists. Her topic was very interesting and relatable seeing as a major focus for all of us in the lab is conservation and conservation awareness. After the keynote speaker we got to walk around and attend different talks that interested us. My favorite talk was from a guy who studied fish who had symbiotic relationships with sharks. It was really cool to see all the different research going on in schools across the Southeast. After the talks, it was our turn to present at a poster session. Me and Lauren had a lot of people come talk to us about our poster and it was really fun to discuss our project to other ecologists and behavioral scientists. They provided us with a lot of good input and commended the work we had done.
After the conference was over we all went downtown to eat. We were all pretty tired at this point but it was a great time to reflect on all that had happened that day. Overall, attending SEEC was a lot of fun! It offered us time to bond as a lab, learn about a ton of other research projects going on in the Southeast and ultimately share our project that we have worked so hard on with more people. I can't wait to attend my next big conference!