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Plant Focus

Quercus peninsularis
A Red Oak (Section Lobatae) endemic to inland ranges of northern Baja California, Mexico

UC Davis Delivers Outstanding Conference

The 9th International Oak Society Conference held at UC Davis last October was probably the most ambitious IOS Conference to date—and it was a memorable success. Though the Conference itself took place over four days from October 21 to 24, the associated Tours took off October 15 and ended October 29, so for those lucky few who participated in the entire program, it was a continuous two weeks of oaking. There were 282 registered participants, not including spouses and guests. We had 60 speakers, 15 poster presenters, 5 workshop leaders, 15 local tour leaders, 1 case study presenter, 1 film presenter, and 80 friendly, ever-smiling staff and volunteers who ensured everything ran smoothly.

Conference Committee Chair Emily Griswold welcomes attendees at the Plenary Session, October 22 © Abbey Hart

The 2018 Conference introduced several novel features:

- We had concurrent sessions for most of the Conference, following an initial plenary session for all. The concurrent sessions involved two tracks, sometimes three, and were constructed so as to group presentations by theme and by level of technical complexity, allowing participants to choose tracks most suited to their interests.

- The Conference had an overriding theme: “Oak Landscapes for the Future: Adapting to Climate Change”, which was reflected in the subjects chosen for the Keynote Addresses at the Opening Reception and Gala Dinner, and also in many of the presentations. However, there was still a great variety of subjects, as is typical for our diverse Society. The theme was revisited in a wrap-up discussion at the Meeting of Members at the close of the Conference.

 - Lightning Talks, an exciting new format of strictly timed 5-minute talks, were included in a session, and 13 presenters opted for this format.

- Pre- and Post-Conference Tours were split in two, so we had four Tours in all, Sierra Nevada and North Coast before, and San Francisco Bay Area and Central Coast after the Conference, allowing participants to choose options according to their budgets and availability.

- Three optional Pre-Conference Day-Trips took place on the Sunday prior to the Opening Reception, as well as an Oak Discovery Day in Shields Oak Grove in UC Davis Arboretum.

In addition, the schedule included an afternoon of local tours, the traditional Gala Dinner (held in the Sacramento Library Galleria), our second silent auction, presentation of IOS Service Awards, satellite meetings, workshops, a meeting of members, and a mammoth seed exchange.

One of the most anticipated moments of the Conference took place at the Gala Dinner, when Dr. Fuh-Jiunn Pan announced that the 2021 Conference will take place in Taiwan, hosted by the Taiwan Forest Research Institute.

Gala Dinner at the Sacramento Library Galleria © Guy Sternberg

Summary reports on Tours and Day-Trips have been published on the website (follow links above), and there will be more in the next issue of Oak News & Notes, the IOS newsletter. Full reports will appear in the next issue of International Oaks, the Proceedings of the 9th International Oak Society Conference, due out around May 2019.

The Conference Committee received a "tOAKen" of our appreciation at the Gala Dinner (left to right): Stewart Winchester, David Muffly, Zarah Wyly, Rachel Davis, Abbey Hart, Emily Griswold (Chair), and Melissa Cruz Hernandez. Check out the Conference Committee Photo Gallery for more detail! © Shaun Haddock

Warm congratulations and thanks are due to Conference Organizer Emily Griswold and the Conference Committee: Shannon Still (sadly not able to accompany us at the Conference due to illness), Stewart Winchester, David Muffly, Zarah Wyly, Rachel Davis, Abbey Hart, and Melissa Cruz. This was indeed a Conference for the history books—and a pleasure to attend!

Group photo outside the UC Davis Conference Center taken by Guy Sternberg (watch him at work here) © Guy Sternberg

Check out more photos from the Conference in a photo gallery here.