Annual Conference - COVID-19 Version - November 6-8, 2020

The Conference Planning Committee has made the decision to restructure the 2020 Annual Conference in response to COVID-19 pandemic. 

All the planning completed so far related to the site, theme and various presenters will be saved for 2021, when we hope the conference can be held at Long Lake Conservation Center as originally planned.

While we are all disappointed that this is necessary, we feel confident that it is the right decision. Predictions for how the pandemic will play out through fall and winter are wide-ranging, but it seems safe to say that all the risks that currently exist will still be in play in November, with the added possibility of new waves of infection due to seasonal changes. We recognize that even if overnight programming is allowed at that point, many of our members, presenters, and other conference attendees would likely have reservations about staying in dorm rooms housing up to 8 individuals from different households, attending sessions in full classrooms, and eating in a large dining hall. 

The Conference Planning Committee also recognizes the many challenges that 2020 has brought into sharp relief, both in our field and in American society as a whole. We feel that it is imperative that MNA facilitates spaces and platforms through which we can discuss how we are responding to and addressing these challenges. With that in mind, we have begun to outline a new structure for our November conference. While these plans are still in the works, here are some of the broad strokes we’d like to share with you now:

  • The conference will still be held on the same weekend (Nov 6-8), though the timing will be different. 
  • Ideally, we will offer both virtual and in-person (smaller and more localized) options for attendance. We know that our attendees are facing a variety of circumstances. Some may need to refrain from in-person attendance, while others may have barriers to online attendance. Our hope is to provide options that answer as many of the needs as we can.
  • If the pandemic situation is such that no in-person events are possible, we will have plans to adjust to a fully virtual conference. 
  • We know that 2020 has also been financially challenging for many naturalists and interpreters. We are exploring options to ensure that the conference is accessible regardless of one’s ability to pay a registration fee. 
  • Conference events will center around discussions with one another and will have specific focus on spending time outside, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the nationwide call-to-action to address systemic racism in a more effective way.  
We look forward to sharing more details with you as we get them nailed down and would be happy to receive any feedback, ideas, or questions you have. Please contact us at

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