Summer & Fall Conferences and COVID-19

News Category: 
Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 19:00
News Source:

With the impact of COVID-19 on both travel and gatherings, organizations are still determining plans for summer and fall conferences. Here is the current information about the status of upcoming conferences.

Wilderness Medical Society (WMS)

WMS 2020 Summer Conference - July 19-23 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

The WMS 2020 Summer Conference is going virtual, July 19-23! As our largest in-person event of the year, this wasn't an easy decision, but with so much uncertainty about the coming months due to COVID-19, we are confident it's the right decision.

As you know, improvisation is one of the key tenets of wilderness medicine, and we saw this as an opportunity for the WMS to adapt and grow based on the unexpected challenges of our current times. Although many things are currently shut down or scaled back, education, creativity, and building community can continue, and that’s exactly what we plan to offer with our first-ever virtual conference.

The WMS virtual conference will be an interactive format with a live chat feature, instant polls and live Q&A sessions.  You’ll therefore get the exceptional education that you’ve come to expect from the WMS to enhance your wilderness medicine knowledge and skills, but now get the added benefit of accessing this education from the comfort of your home or office. And if convenience was not enough of a reason to participate, then affordability is a great reason to register.  We have discounted the registration fee by 50%, making this the most affordable option for FAWM and CME credit that we have ever offered, and so you’ll save money as a result of this change as well!   

Highlights of the conference include 16 morning lectures, 4 afternoon group discussions, a Keynote Address by Stephen K. Robinson, “A True Wilderness – Working at an Altitude of 400,000 Meters” plus research and poster session and online workout class and a virtual exhibit hall.  See the Schedule tab for more details.

Thank you for your interest in our virtual conference, and for your support and understanding of the changes we have had to make to the format of our conference in this time of unexpected challenges and uncertainty.  We look forward to seeing you online in July!


Association for Outdoor Recreation & Education (AORE)

National Conference: October 26 - 30 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

Join us October 26-30th, in the comfort of your own home, workplace, or internet-connected outdoor space, as we virtually gather around the campfire together to make connections among colleagues, partners, industries and the outdoors.

AORE's Annual Conference strives to:

  • broaden collaboration between the outdoor industry and outdoor recreation and education;

  • offer higher-quality educational opportunities;

  • build and strengthen professional skills and knowledge;

  • broaden networking opportunities;

  • educate our attendees in advocacy and public policy efforts;

  • raise awareness of the value and impact of outdoor recreation;

  • and empower attendees to connect people to the outdoors through recreation and education experiences.


Wilderness Risk Management Conference (WRMC)

National Conference: October 19 - 23, VIRTUAL CONFERENCE (Note Date Change)

After much deliberation, we’ve made the decision to take the 2020 WRMC online, and are shifting the dates to the week of October 19th. Mark your calendars!

The WRMC is an important annual connection point for our community, and some of those connection opportunities will undoubtedly be lost in the absence of shared physical space this year. 

That said, as we turn our attention to a digital event, we are truly excited about the possibilities of what might be gained. Here are just a few of the things energizing us about this opportunity:

  • Reduced expenses mean lower registration fees, which (we hope) will make participation more accessible. Likewise, a digital event eliminates travel expenses.
  • Although the overall volume of content will be smaller than in recent years, there will be few, if any, concurrent sessions and many will be recorded. So, attendees will actually have access to more educational content.
  • Being forced to explore online learning opportunities this year will inevitably pave the way for new thinking about our online presence in future years.  
  • We are able to shift event dates to eliminate the scheduling conflict with this year’s Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education (AORE) conference. 

We’re currently re-reviewing workshop proposals and redesigning the educational agenda and other conference events for the digital platform. We’ll have more news about event structure and content in the next few weeks. In the meantime, here are a few specific things we’re working on.

  • Affinity space pre-conference gatherings for BIPOC and others traditionally underrepresented at the WRMC and/or in the outdoors. 
  • Highlighting educational resources that address how racism and injustice have shaped the outdoor industry and how JEDI work supports and amplifies risk management competence.
  • Suggestions and expectations for speakers regarding how to foster equitable, inclusive learning spaces in their WRMC workshops.
  • And, of course, COVID-related educational content.

We plan to open registration in early July, and will share updated registration fees and the conference schedule at that time. We look forward to engaging with you in new and creative ways this year, and supporting our community in this unprecedented time.
With gratitude and excitement.

WRMC Steering Committee and Staff

More Information

Association for Experiential Education (AEE)

International Conference: November 12 - 14, VIRTUAL CONFERENCE

We'd like to provide an update on AEE International Conference planning. We know that you all are anxiously awaiting a decision from us We have come to the decision that the 2020 AEE International Conference, from November 12-14, will be entirely virtual. This decision comes after weeks of assessing the impacts and fallout of the pandemic, and connecting with countless community members and organizations grappling with its effects.

We are confident that we can deliver an engaging and meaningful conference in this format. Based on the survey we distributed in the beginning stages of planning, we received invaluable feedback regarding what elements of the conference are most valued. We will work hard to deliver virtual versions of your favorite traditions like the Kurt Hahn address and ActivatEE. We will support our workshop presenters to deliver engaging and educational presentations. We will provide many networking opportunities. We just ask that you tap into your roots of experiential education to welcome new ideas and changes to the conference structure as we adapt to the virtual space.

Over the coming weeks, we will be confirming what this new conference will look like, and many more details will be available regarding programming, content, and registration. We do not have specific details to share at this time, and we again appreciate your patience as we work to finalize the next phase of planning. 

Please know that we are committed to:

  • Making the conference as accessible as possible for our global community
  • Creating an inviting and exciting experience that echoes the format and feeling of our past in-person conferences
  • Maintaining the same level of professionalism and educational significance of our content, sessions, and professional development opportunities 
  • Communicating as openly as possible about our decisions

Please be on the lookout for announcements on our conference website, social media channels, and through email.
Thank you again for your support as we navigate forward. We are excited to see what this community can create together in November! 
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions, comments, or concerns.

More Information

Posting Dates: 
Sunday, May 17, 2020 to Sunday, November 15, 2020