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NEIWPCC Returns to In-Person Events with the Annual Northeast Aquatic Biologists Conference

Posted on Thursday, March 17th, 2022 | Posted in Events, News

Attendees’ face masks could not hide the beaming smiles underneath, as regional attendees at the Northeast Aquatic Biologists (NAB) Conference greeted each other after two long years of virtual collaboration. Many enthusiastic waves, cheerful elbow bumps, and spirited hugs between friends were witnessed throughout the event.

After over a year of successful virtual conferences, NEIWPCC held the NAB Conference in Portland, Maine in March. The meeting covered a wide variety of topics, including emerging contaminants in water and wildlife; data visualization and automation; regional monitoring networks; national lake assessments; aquatic invasive species; and climate change.

Dave Courtemanch, freshwater science and policy analyst at the Maine chapter of The Nature Conservancy, and previously with the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP), served as the plenary speaker. Courtemanch discussed his efforts to bring biomonitoring experiences in Maine to faraway places such as Kenya and the Dominican Republic.

Maulian Dana, Penobscot Nation tribal ambassador, gave an impactful keynote address to NAB attendees. Dana shared her involvement in educating and advocating for policy and laws that impact and protect the Penobscot Nation’s sovereignty, culture, natural resources, and general welfare.

Tom Danielson, ME DEP and co-chair of this year’s NAB Conference, facilitated the awards ceremony during the banquet dinner. Katherine Abbott and Alec Baker, both of UMass Amherst, received the award for the best student oral presentation. Stefanie Farrington, also of UMass Amherst, received the best student poster presentation award. Finally, Courtemanch received the Legendary Aquatic Biologist award in recognition of his extensive career devoted to furthering science and policy to protect the region’s aquatic resources, and with gratitude for serving as a thoughtful mentor and supportive adviser to environmental professionals in their work to carry out the Clean Water Act.

Dave Courtemanch received the Legendary Aquatic Biologist at the NAB conference.

Dave Courtemanch (right) of The Nature Conservancy received the Legendary Aquatic Biologist award.

After the conference, NEIWPCC surveyed attendees for their feedback. “I feel so fortunate to be part of such a great group of people,” wrote one attendee. “The atmosphere, size, accepting nature, and mix of practitioners, academics, and consultants is very special. NAB remains my favorite conference.”

“The comments show how valuable the event is to the NAB community,” said Maryann Dugan, NEIWPCC environmental analyst and coordinator of the NAB Conference, “and why many people worked diligently to make it happen, despite the difficulties of navigating the ongoing pandemic.”

The event was a success largely due to the work of the NAB planning team and the support from exhibitors and sponsors. The NAB planning team included Tom Danielson, co-chair, Maine Department of Environmental Protection; Dahlia Tympanick, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection; Kirsten Hugger and Dave Neils, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services; Kellie Merrell and Heather Pembrook, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation; Brian Duffy and Zachary Smith, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Mary Becker, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Jane Sawyers and Katie DeGoosh-DiMarzio, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; Corey Conville and Ian Dombroski, EPA Region 1; and Maryann Dugan, Richard Friesner, Ashley Harrington, and Megan Nickerson, NEIWPCC. GZA, HOBO by Onset, In-Situ, and OTT Hydromet hosted displays in the exhibitor hall, while Tetra Tech, Midwest Biodiversity Institute, Xylem, and EA Engineering, Science and Technology contributed at the sponsorship level.

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Katherine Abbott and Alec Baker, both of UMass Amherst, received the award for the best student oral presentation

Awardees Katherine Abbott and Alec Baker for the best student oral presentation.

Stefanie Farrington, also of UMass Amherst, received the best student poster presentation award

Stefanie Farrington received the best student poster presentation award.