Fellow BugGuiders, I propose a BG get-together at our spiritual home at Ames, Iowa. It would be a great chance to see some prairie species, and to meet up with our human friends from BugGuide. The idea would be to stay in the Iowa State dorms, eat some meals at their food service, and travel in vans to field locations.
I had a blast at the Minnesota and Tennessee meetings, and in fact we all had so much fun I would suggest at least three nights for those who can stay that long.
The Des Moines airport is close, for those who may be flying.
I mentioned this to John VanDyk and he likes the idea, but I have promised I/we will do the adminstrative work of arranging lodgings, etc. This is assuming that people like the idea of meeting this summer in Iowa.
If people do, perhaps those who are familiar with the northern prairies could suggest an ideal time for flowers blooming, etc.
What do people think?
UPDATE: 2011 Gathering details are at this link
UPDATE: Copying John Pearson's posting here to get it to the top of the page:
Iowa BG Gathering: July 29-31, 2011
We have a date: July 29-31, 2011
We have a place: Ames, Iowa based on the Iowa State University campus with numerous outlying field trip sites.
We have a start-up organizing committee: John VanDyk, MJ Hatfield, Stephen Cresswell, and me. As the effort progresses, this core group will undoubtedly grow into a larger team with recruitment of additional experts, coordinators, trip leaders, quartermasters, partners, and volunteers. A principle guiding our planning is keeping costs down as the key to getting a good turnout. We recognize that many potential participants will have to fly, adding to their costs, and others will bring spouse and children, also adding to the cost. We are exploring several aspects of the event (with details to follow in future postings), including:
Housing and meals - On-campus housing in the Friley Hall dormitory with meals at the nearby Student Union are an option. Numerous motels, campgrounds, and restaurants are also available. Details will be announced in future updates.
Transportation - As we get closer to the event, we will get a count of how many participants will be bringing cars; if sufficient, we could simply carpool to field trip sites. On the other hand, reasonably priced rental vans would be nice, allowing participants to relax and interact more readily and would be more eco-friendly than long caravans of cars. Preliminary estimates for renting vans for the weekend come to about $20 per seat. We will explore these options further and get back to you with more information.
Banquet - We are exploring the possibility of a group dinner on Friday or Saturday evening at the Reiman Gardens in Ames. It is too early to estimate costs at this moment, but we will follow up on this idea and get back to you in future updates.
Field trip sites - There are nearly 150 public conservation sites within a 30-mile radius of Ames, representing a diversity of habitats including forest, prairie, wetlands, and streams. We are in the process of developing maps, descriptions, and suggested routes for field visits. Additionally, we want to organize pre-Gathering and post-Gathering field trips around the perimeter of Iowa so that participants driving from other states can experience special places too far from Ames to be visited during the Gathering itself; possibilities include the Loess Hills of western Iowa , the "Driftless Area" blufflands of northeast Iowa, and other locations yet to be nominated.
We are excited about the Iowa BG Gathering and hope you will consider coming. Please contact us with your ideas, suggestions, and comments! --John Pearson