I had a discussion with a "young professional" tonight at the NAOC-V who expressed his disappointment that a workshop he attended didn't really train participants in the nuts and bolts of how to do a particular analysis technique that's very difficult to master on one's own. He throught the instruction followed the same tortuous path of most stats classes - emphasis on theory when what people really need to know is "how do I set up my data to make that graph"? He said that he wished someone at these meetings would just have a room with some computers set up and somebody there to just show you how to make the software work, because that's the major hurdle to him being able to actually use that technique. The other guy - a newly minted PhD - agreed, indicating that most of what he knows how to do has come from the members of his lab working together over months to practice different techniques. If you don't have such a resource at your disposal, how do you really learn how to do such things?
So here we go. Why can't we do this at the 2013 meeting? DISTANCE, MARK, occupancy modeling, ecological niche modeling, etc. There are many really useful - in some cases essential - techniques that young professionals must master to be effective, and unless they've had someone really walk them through the process, it can be very difficult to develop proficiency in such things. Why don't we pick one (or two) and find someone who'd be willing to do some real step-by-step instruction in some of these tools? Seems like just the ticket to engage young professionals (both as presenters and attendees) and foster some real loyalty to the WOS for creating a great learning opportunity at our annual meeting.
It goes without saying that such demonstrations should involve no additional fee and take place during the meeting.