Virtual Meeting FAQ

The decision to host SER2021 as a completely virtual conference was made with the safety of our delegates in mind. With the trajectory of the pandemic still unclear, our aim was also to reduce uncertainty as participants and delegates plan for the year ahead.

The virtual meeting will take place from 21 – 24 June 2021. The four day event will be focused on providing opportunities for interaction, community, and the chance to share work and connect with colleagues from across the world.

We know that a virtual conference will look and feel different than those that take place in person. But we are excited to deliver an event that will offer multiple ways to engage, explore, network, and socialize. We are also planning a number of events and initiatives that are only possible in a virtual format. While we are still finalizing the structure of the conference, we’ll be developing a set of recommendations, tips, and tools for getting the most out of SER2021. Stay tuned!

Amidst the continuing challenges of the pandemic, we heard from the SER community that they wanted more certainty about the event format and dates, that many people couldn’t imagine feeling comfortable participating in person, and a growing interest in a robust virtual conference participation for environmental or financial reasons.

Virtual conferences offer a number of benefits to participants. A significant benefit is broader access to conference content: without the need to travel, SER2021 will be more accessible than ever, and we hope to see participation from audiences that normally couldn’t take the time, travel, or expense to join us. Another benefit is greater flexibility in when and how you interact with conference content. In-person conferences require you to pick and choose sessions to participate in and be physically present – this can lead to long days, missed sessions, and difficulty deciding what to participate in. A virtual conference allows you to watch on-demand content on your schedule, participate in as many live sessions as you choose, and access content both before and after the event. Finally, as we begin the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a virtual conference will give us unique opportunities to showcase ecological restoration work happening in communities around the world.

SER is committed to making our virtual conference accessible to participants from around the world. Since we can’t all gather in the same place, this means we’ll be breaking up each day into two shorter sessions (one in the morning in North America, one in the evening in North America) to allow participants a chance to present, learn, and engage during reasonable hours for their time zone. One of the two sessions should work for people in nearly any time zone around the world. Having two shorter sessions will also reduce time spent in front of the computer each day, although you are welcome to participate in as many sessions as you like.

For each day of the conference you can expect:

  • Plenary/keynote presentations including a live Q&A with the keynote speakers
  • Consecutive concurrent sessions featuring live discussion and Q&A sessions with speakers (presentations will not be given during these sessions, they will be focused on discussions only)
  • Presentations and posters available on demand before, during, and after the conference
  • Planned and spontaneous networking and social sessions
  • Exhibits to learn more about products, software, and services

Amidst the continuing challenges of the pandemic, we heard from the SER community that they wanted more certainty about the event format and dates, that many people couldn’t imagine feeling comfortable participating in person, and a growing interest in a robust virtual conference participation for environmental or financial reasons.

Virtual conferences offer a number of benefits to participants. A significant benefit is broader access to conference content: without the need to travel, SER2021 will be more accessible than ever, and we hope to see participation from audiences that normally couldn’t take the time, travel, or expense to join us. Another benefit is greater flexibility in when and how you interact with conference content. In-person conferences require you to pick and choose sessions to participate in and be physically present – this can lead to long days, missed sessions, and difficulty deciding what to participate in. A virtual conference allows you to watch on-demand content on your schedule, participate in as many live sessions as you choose, and access content both before and after the event. Finally, as we begin the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, a virtual conference will give us unique opportunities to showcase ecological restoration work happening in communities around the world.

We recognize that interactivity, connectivity, and spontaneity are all important aspects of attending a conference, and that it can be very hard to replicate that in a virtual event. The virtual event platform we’ll be using for SER2021 will allow attendees to easily chat and video call with other participants; you’ll also have the option to see others who are in the same sessions as a way to identify people interested in the same topics. A hub for networking will also give you the opportunity to jump into group chats or video sessions with others interested in connecting.

All contributed and organized oral sessions will have an assigned time for presenters to be online for a live video discussion and Q&A session to compliment the on-demand content available for these sessions. Attendees will also have the option to submit questions for presenters on individual talks to respond to directly.

All presentations and poster files will be uploaded by presenters before the conference and will be available for attendees to view on demand in advance of (or after) the live conference days. Talks will be recorded with audio, and poster presenters will have the option to record a short overview of their work. Talks can be given in the speaker’s native language as long as accurate English subtitles are included with the talk (we will provide guidance for how to do this). All abstracts must be in English. We are exploring ways to encourage diverse presentation opportunities, especially to increase opportunities for practitioners to present (e.g. short videos of your field projects).

Each day will be broken in two sessions – one in the morning US Eastern Time and one in the evening US Eastern Time. Each session will start with a plenary video followed by a live Q&A session with the keynote speaker. We are exploring options for offering closed captioning and subtitles for multiple languages for each plenary talk, and the morning and evening sessions will feature different speakers. After the plenary, there will be several concurrent sessions where attendees can join live discussions with the speakers from contributed and organized oral sessions. Outside of these two daily sessions, we will be working with our chapters and Events Committee to develop options for video or other live networking and social activities.

One of the great things about a virtual conference is that you’ll be able to catch up on anything you missed or revisit interesting presentations again. All live sessions (plenaries and discussion sessions) will be recorded and available to watch on demand. Conference recordings will be available for at least one month after the event to all conference delegates.  

Being in the field is one of the best ways to see and understand restoration, and we are sorry we won’t be able to host our normal suite of in-person field trips and our Make a Difference volunteer day. However, a virtual conference gives us a chance to bring the diverse, novel, and exciting world of restoration to conference attendees in ways we never could before.

Field Trips

Starting several weeks before the conference, we’ll be hosting Field Trip Fridays (Thursday evening North American eastern time and Friday morning North American eastern time). Conference participants will have the option to virtually join field trips each Friday to explore restoration projects from around the world. The field trips will provide a mix of pre-recorded video with live Q&A. Like a regular field trip, delegates will see what the field sites and restoration interventions look like, and will be able to ask questions and engage with the speakers at multiple times throughout the trip. Field trips will be no more than 2 hours long.

Make a Difference Week

Our Make a Difference day events have been an important part of our World Conferences and give participants a chance to directly contribute to restoration activities in the locale of the conference. It’s a way of giving back to our hosts and their local community. With a virtual event, the conference is global in scope. In recognition we are seeking individuals and organizations to partner with to organize locally developed and led volunteer restoration events in advance of the conference (depending on COVID safety). By promoting volunteer restoration events across the globe during the same week (e.g. invasive species eradication projects, plantings), Make a Difference Week will be an amazing chance to engage your community in hands-on restoration and to promote the human health and wellbeing benefits of restoration as well – especially as part of the UN Decade on Restoration.  Contact us to get involved and to host and promote an event in your backyard.

Secretariat SER2021 World Conference
Conferium Conference Services

425, boul. René-Lévesque Ouest
Québec QC  G1S 1S2
Canada

Tel.: +1 418 522 8182

Toll-free (Canada and U.S.): 1 800 618 8182

Monday to Friday - 09:00 to 16:00 U.S. / Canadian Eastern Time

E-mail:  ser2021@conferium.com

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