This September the International Association of Landscape Ecologies (ialeUK) annual conference was titled
"The Landscape Ecology of Forests, Woodlands and Trees"
With a full day session on public benefits, my work on trees for Natural Flood Management seemed to fit the bill, and I was really interested in the work of ialeUK anyway.
Landscape Ecology takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the heterogeneity (inherent differences) in and changes to landscapes. The societal and biophysical are both considered - and as an inherent part of my PhD project is understanding how these different knowledges are entangled, and some basic methodologies in working with them, you can see why I was interested in the conference.
See ialeUK for more info on Landscape Ecology
Getting my abstract written up wasn't easy as there were a number of different sessions I wanted to be involved in. I settled for focusing on the methodologies I was using and the interdisciplinary nature of the work in relation to Landscape Ecology, with a leaning towards the public benefits session. Whilst I have a 'draft' abstract text regularly (ish) updated for applying to conferences, it's pretty long and contains far more information than is needed. This is on purpose as then I can make sure I'm rewriting it for each application so it's as relevant as possible to the given brief.
I was delighted to be asked to present, as this conference brought together practitioners and experienced researchers, so my 'early career' input would sit in amongst a real range of experience and knowledge. The conference was scheduled to be held in Edinburgh, and we were going to the Isle of Bute the week before, so I figured we could get the van up to Scotland, I could pop over to the conference for two days and then back to continue our travels - excellent!
Of course Covid and everything else played a curve ball, and although I was going to be not far away in the campervan, the conference would now be based online...
I've got a pretty good set up for attending meetings etc. online from the van, as it sets up with a neat desk and I've got a phone contract with a good hotspot amount largely for this purpose. Presenting live however, was going to be tricky. I already had a plan for how and what I wanted to present, and it involved a lot of maps and visual data that was going to be really hard to stream.
With this in mind I had a chat with the organizer Marc about preparing a video and then being available live during the presentation to answer questions, and after for the session discussions. Whilst a live presentation would have been preferred Marc was really supportive and took on all the technical issues of having my video as a backup in case signal was a problem.
Preparing the video was not easy as I wanted to make sure that I was visible as well as the different applications I was using to show my maps and presentation. I downloaded and learnt how to use OBS studio screen recorder which allowed me to record a number of different screens, and change between different setups, so I was able to fade between a screen which showed my maps with me in the bottom right hand corner, and a screen with just my presentation and without my gurning face to distract from the content. It was worth the effort to learn as I'll try to use this for webinars and presentations in the future, where you take questions afterwards rather than during the event. It means you can actually follow any chat or answer questions online whilst you are 'also' presenting!
In the end this was exactly what we did at the iALE2021 event, as the excellent hotspot signal that I had found turned out to be somewhat variable and cut out for a minute at random intervals!
Fortunately the video was uploaded and ready, and I'm really happy with the results.
As for the video, well having recorded it myself I was able to upload it below, but if you're interested in the full session the videos are available on vimeo here, with links to the full recordings via the conference program here