Over 1,100 people came to New Orleans the week of March 14–18, 2011, for Rethinking Protected Areas in a Changing World, the biennial George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas, and Cultural Sites. The GWS conferences are all about reflection, reconnection, and renewal — a week of stimulating discussion about leading-edge research, innovative practices, and foundational values.
GWS2011 Conference Proceedings are available here in PDF format.
A selection of the nearly 200 posters presented at GWS2011 is available here.
Read on to find out more about our conference aims and philosophy. And if you missed GWS2011, make sure you don't miss the next one: we will be gathering again in Denver, Colorado, in March 2013. Click here to be notified when the GWS2013 Call for Proposals comes out in June 2012. (If you attended GWS2011, no need to do anything ... you'll automatically get the notice.)
When we say "parks," we mean a lot more.
Every two years, the George Wright Society organizes the USA’s premier interdisciplinary professional meeting on parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. By these three overlapping terms we mean a broad array of places, both “cultural” and “natural,” managed by different entities under a variety of designations:
The GWS Conference also encompasses disciplines and activities that link with or otherwise support the work of parks, such as GIS and museum work. Any member of the public is welcome to register and attend.
What's different about GWS conferences? Our broad horizons.
The GWS is unique among professional organizations because our mission is to encourage dialogue and information exchange among all the people needed for protected area conservation. In recent years, 800–1,000 people have attended. Many are from the U.S. National Park Service and the conference program reflects this. However, as noted above, the scope of the conference goes well beyond the U.S. national park system to include other federal agencies, tribes, state agencies, NGOs, academic concerns, and park systems and organizations outside the USA. When it comes to parks, our area of interest is the entire world.
GWS2011: The place to refresh your career.
GWS2011 is your chance to catch up with old friends and colleagues, make important new contacts, get up-to-date on the latest innovations in park management, stay current with research findings in your field, and connect with people who share your core values. With our broad range of program offerings — including thought-provoking keynotes, wide-ranging paper and panel presentations, focused affinity and business meetings, a dynamic poster session, and field trips — the GWS biennial conferences aim to be the park profession’s best all-around training value.
An opportunity to help rebuild New Orleans.
As park professionals, we understand the responsibilities — and satisfaction — that comes with a career in the service of the public and the planet. In selecting New Orleans as the site of GWS2011, the George Wright Society wants to encourage attendees to help, if only in a small way, with the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina. To that end we will be offering a number of service trips: opportunities to work on projects that communities in and around New Orleans have identified as being important to them.
Proposals are being accepted for papers, posters, sessions, and exhibits through September 30.
Want to share your work, your ideas, your values? Put in a proposal for the GWS2011 program! Click the "Call for Proposals" button on the menu to get started.
Questions? Ask us!
We've created this website to answer your questions about the conference. But if anything isn't clear, don't hesitate to contact us — we are always glad to help. Thank you for your interest in the George Wright Society and our conference. We look forward to seeing you in New Orleans.
GWS Executive Director
GWS Conference Coordinator
Conference Cosponsors and Supporters
U.S. National Park Service, Natural Resource Stewardship and Science program
U.S. National Park Service, Cultural Resources program
U.S. National Park Service, Inventory & Monitoring Program
U.S. Geological Survey
United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc.
GWS Board of Directors
Brent A. Mitchell, president
David J. Parsons, vice president
Gary E. Davis, treasurer
Rebecca Conard, secretary
Frank J. Priznar
Molly N. Ross
Jan W. van Wagtendonk
Rebecca Stanfield McCown, graduate student representative
GWS2011 Conference Committee
Melia Lane-Kamahele, chair
Rebecca Stanfield McCown
Jan W. van Wagtendonk
George Melendez Wright Student Travel Scholarship Program
Gillian Bowser, coordinator
Native Participant Travel Grant Program
Sharon Franklet, coordinator
GWS2011 Native Involvement Working Group
photos courtesy of John Wullschleger