Thursday, December 20, 2007

Idaho Environmental Summit - 2007 Postscript

I believe everyone who attended would agree that the 2007 Idaho Environmental Summit in Boise December 11-13, was a great success, with excellent Keynote speakers, breakout knowledge sessions on a range of important topics, and a lot of personal networking opportunities with old and new friends and associates. However, one common question some people asked -- will a documented record of all the topic presentations be made available after the Summit is over? The answer was that even though this was a good idea it was not planned or budgeted for!

At a conference organizers meeting on the last evening December 13, I offered to try to explore some possible ways this might be done using available social networking tools. Below I explain how, in the past several days, I have initiated an experimental network using the popular Ning Social Network platform to start this process.

Also I will note that during the Summit I was asked to try to capture a photographic record of as many of the Summit activities as I could. I am now producing photo albums of the events that happened during the 3 days. The only outside photo I took in three days happened during the Opening Flag Ceremonies with Tribal drummers, when I happened to look out and saw an amazing rainbow colored Solar halo and three sundogs, on both sides and the top. That picture has been placed to the right and you can click on it to make it much larger. Additional photographs of the Summit are systematically being placed on the new Idaho Environmental Network I created. (More detail below)

My partner, Katy Flanagan, helped the Summit produce a "slide show" that was shown on two screens in the main meeting room all three days except during Keynote presentations. We used nature images from Idaho that we have photographed over the years and interspersed Summit Sponsor credit slides throughout the program. We also had an exhibit booth for Mountain Visions where we showed Google Earth projects and other examples of our web site work including high definition panoramas and video, interactive web site production and social network efforts on the Internet.

In my last (most recent) post on December 10, 2007 I listed the Fifteen Idaho Environmental topics that were presented at the 2007 Summit. These were similar to the topics presented at the 2006 Summit that I wrote about in November and December 2006. (See link below)

As I noted in the "Postscript" blog entry on December 12, 2006, there was also some talk among organizers and participants last year about creating a public record of all of the presentations given and posting it on the Summit web site. Possibly because of time involvement and possible costs this was never done last year and for the same reasons this documentation was not planned for this year either. At this time, for example, I cannot even find any web site information about the 2006 Idaho Environmental Summit. Why? I hope the 2007 web site remains available as long as there is interest in these issues. Possibly the 2006 web site can be found and uploaded again for the public record.

Photo sharing Model: As I needed an openly available web site where people could access the conference photographs I had taken, I decided to use the (free) networking structure that I had used before for the Idaho Outdoor Photography and Idaho Common Adventure Network projects. This allows visitors to the web site not only to look at the photos (also in a slide show format) but it also allows them to copy and send the photos or slide shows to others they feel might be interested. People who join the new network can also submit photos of their own and these can be open to other people who visit the web site project. (The image to the right is Richard Louv, Keynote speaker and author of "Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder")

Naturally, this same networking structure will also allow people who join the network to submit links to conference presentations, if they already exist on a web site, or to upload Word, PDF or PowerPoint presentation files, if they are available. It was my understanding that many of these presentations were installed on the personal laptop computers used at the conference and might remain available to the conference organizers or the "Track Managers." For those presentations that are not still available, hopefully the presenters themselves, or someone who knows them, can provide links or files for a better public record of the important knowledge represented at the 2007 Idaho Environmental Summit. Possibly, similar presentation records from the 2006 Summit can also be located. Obviously, this "knowledge base" can be valuable to people who could not attend either of the two annual Summit meetings. And, it will be valuable in the future as more knowledge is accumulated and presented at similar conferences, meetings and seminars.

I have a good start on a new Idaho Environmental Network via that I hope has some potential to create a "web of data" about the topics presented at these Summit meetings. I also hope to initiate some Idaho discussions about GeoWeb, SemanticWeb, OpenSourceWeb and SocialWeb concepts via this project that I have been exploring on this Blog.

I believe most of the approximately 300 + people who attended the Summit will be interested in the hundreds of photographs that will be available, as any person may be visible in one or more of the scenes. If they come and look at, and share, the photographs, they may also become interested in helping locate publicly available sources for some or all of the presentations given and perhaps add additional Idaho Environmental knowledge that is available from the past and in the future.

Please visit the experimental Idaho Environmental Network to see photographs and more information and details about how this project might work. And please "join" the network if you are interested in being involved in discussing these issues further. If there are other similar discussion groups I hope we can share their links with others as well.

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