Assessment of the 6th North American Duck Symposium (2013): “Ecology and 512 Conservation of North American Waterfowl”
Using web-based technology, we e-mailed a survey link to all 450 conferees of the 6th North American Duck Symposium (NADS 6), “Ecology and Conservation of North American Waterfowl” (ECNAW), seeking feedback from attendees in order to guide the organisation of future waterfowl and other wildlife symposia. Twelve questions were posed to evaluate the 2013 all-waterfowl symposium and a further 18 questions to assist planning future similar meetings. A total of 284 responses (63%) were received; the feedback suggested that NADS 6 was well organised, that it presented relevant information and that it was valuable to conferees. Perceptions of respondents on the structure of NADS 6 (i.e. whether presentation on all waterfowl should be included, or only on ducks) may not be representative of attendees of previous NADS meetings, as these focused on duck species. Nevertheless, respondents suggested that future symposia should continue on a 3-year rotation and retain its 4-day format with four morning plenary sessions, concurrent afternoon oral presentations and evening poster and mentee-mentor sessions. Respondents also recommended a maximum of three concurrent afternoon sessions and indicated that future symposia might continue to embrace geese and swans as well as ducks. The results suggest a need for officials of NADS to determine future meeting frameworks and venues. Web-based surveys provide a useful tool for conference evaluation and can promote effective design and relevance of future meetings and related events.
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