GAC-MAC WOLFVILLE '92
If you've read this far, you will know by now that the GAC-MAC (the joint annual meeting of the Geological and Mineralogical Associations of Canada) was a momentous event in the life of the Geology Department (and Acadia). Wolfville '92, as the event was called, started to raise some eyebrows in mid-January when courier deliveries were lined up three and four at a time outside the conference office (more than half the abstracts were received on or after the deadline!) The university conference services never really believed our estimates of attendance until, when asked what rooms in BAC we wanted, we replied, "All of them, plus some in Huggins, Elliott, and the Denton Auditorium". However, they rose to task, and we believe that Acadia offered facilities as complete as any conference centre, with the added advantage that participants could stroll across campus or along Main Street without missing their favourite speakers.
The meeting was a success from all angles - over 600 scheduled talks, over 900 registrants and guests, and a healthy financial outcome. Perhaps most satisfying for us at Acadia was to be able to welcome back alumni as scientists in their own right. One of the unexpected pleasures was the exceptional success of the field trip program, which provides us with a perman- ent record in the form of 21 very useful and up-to-date field trip guides. The field trip program was initiated by Mike Keen, and concluded by Bob Boehner, who describes himself as being on "the edge": read on....
A view from the edge (contributed by R. Boehner, B.Sc. '74, M.Sc. '77)
The GAC-MAC Wolfville '92 Joint Annual Meeting was a resounding success that defied conventional wisdom on locations for large national scientific meetings. Why it was such a hit is not easy to analyze given the prevailing uncertainty in the economy and the geoscience profession as a whole. The importance of exposure to hard reality of geology in the field is sometimes lost in the computer age of high technology and digital science. Nothing is as humbling as defending interpretations and models in full view of the rocks themselves. Few other disciplines are as dependent upon 'ground truth' as geology and the response to the field trip program offered at Wolfville '92 exceeded all expectations. Approximately 30% of the meeting participants registered for a field trip (240 in all). This level of participation reversed a declining trend and was one of the highest in the history of these meetings.
Among the factors of this success (an unbiased view) are the character and quality of the venue and the trips offered to take advantage of the superb local and regional attractions. The key ingredients were the trip leaders who carried the greatest burden of preparing excellent guidebooks (on sale through the Atlantic Geoscience Society), planning and operating the trips for personal and professional sacrifice/gratification. There are times when I question the sanity of people who 'volunteer' for these things. An additional source of tremendous satisfaction comes from the interest and success of the expanded program of Walking Tours, prepared for Wolfville '92. These brochure-style guides on local geological, environmental and historical themes within walking or short driving distance of Wolfville were conceived and prepared with enthusiasm by Stewart Ferguson and Jack Colwell. These efforts mirror those responsible for the numerous components essential to the success of the meeting as a whole. They will be lasting legacy connecting the Acadia Geology Department, the university community and the town of Wolfville (at least until Wolfville '92....2092!, or when the ulcers heal!).