The George Wright Society Conference on Parks, Protected Areas & Cultural Sites • New Orleans, Louisiana • March 14–18, 2011

GWS2013: Value

Why is GWS2011 a “must” to attend?

  • The George Wright Society Conference, which dates back to 1982, is the USA’s largest interdisciplinary professional conference on parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. It takes place only once every two years. For professionals working in national parks, other kinds of protected areas, and cultural sites, it is the country’s largest and most important meeting of its kind.
  • Unlike the conferences of other professional societies, GWS2011 is not narrowly focused on a single discipline. It is is the only professional meeting that brings together the entire range of interests focused on parks: cultural and natural resource professionals, social scientists, educators and interpreters, administrators, museum professionals — if it’s relevant to parks, it’s at GWS2011.
  • The GWS2011 program will be the one of the largest and most diverse ever offered. There will be well over 100 sessions that cover virtually every resource-related topic in the realm of parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. The conference will have numerous presentations from people in various federal and state agencies, from outside the USA, from NGOs and other partner organizations, and from academia. Interchange among all these people provides fresh viewpoints and access to innovative thinking.

What will attendees take home with them?

  • A sense of “connectedness” — to the peers in one’s discipline and to other parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. It is critical for resource professionals to keep up with the state-of-the-art in their discipline, and the easiest and most economical way to do that is to attend GWS2011.
  • An understanding of how things fit together. In addition, going to GWS2011 gives attendees a chance to see how their work fits in with what is going on elsewhere in the world of parks, protected areas, and cultural sites. This is especially important for people working in smaller parks or at isolated duty stations.
  • A solid sense of the latest trends and innovations affecting parks.
  • Practical solutions that can be applied immediately to problems at one’s home park or office. Many sessions at GWS2011 are oriented toward hands-on knowledge that managers can use in their daily work right away.
  • Links to new colleagues. The GWS Conference is the premier place to meet others who do what you do.
I'm a supervisor ... and I'm dealing with travel ceilings.  Why should I let my employees attend?
  • We understand the challenges you face in deciding how to parcel out a lean travel and training budget.  In the end, your decision has to be what is strategically best for your park, organization, or program.  Aside from the personal benefits (listed above) that your employees will bring back to augment your team, a major advantage the GWS conferences offer in terms of bang-for-your-training-buck is that you can use our meeting to schedule Workshops and Business Meetings that you would otherwise have to do on a standalone basis.  By piggybacking onto GWS2011, you save money (and let us handle all the site logistics).
  • It's also quite possible that key people you need to meet with will be attending the conference anyway, so there is the potential for synergy — and cost savings.
  • If you can let your people attend only one meeting a year, GWS2011 is a very good choice to be that meeting.