Inaugural GWS Student Summit draws chapter members together to consider "passing of the torch"

Late last month, members of GWS Student Chapters participated the inaugural GWS Student Summit.  The meeting, held in Glacier National Park (USA), was proposed, programmed, organized, and led entirely by the students.  The University of Montana and the National Park Service co-hosted the event.

The summit was proposed last year as a means to reflect on the NPS Centennial and, more broadly, on the forthcoming "passing of the torch" as an entire cohort of protected area professionals begin to wind down their careers and future leaders begin to step up.  The summit addressed several questions:

* What have we learned from the past, and how can we better understand the challenges in the future?
* Where is there overlap in the perspectives among issues, and where are there differences?
* Ultimately, what actions will make us better prepared to address the challenges of protected area management in the second 100 years of the National Park Service?

The inaugural student-led summit included 25 people, 21 of which were students from six different universities in the United States: University of Montana, Clemson University, University of California–Merced, University of Utah, Kansas State University, and Oregon State University. Additional members included two faculty members from the University of Montana, one George Wright Society board member, and several current and former National Park Services employees.  Although ultimately unable to attend, personnel and students associated with Parks Canada helped plan the summit.

The organizers reckoned the summit to be a big success, with almost all the goals for the meeting achieved.  For more information, take a look at the Summit Report, available here:

We are planning to publish a set of summit-based articles by student authors in a future issue of The George Wright Forum.

Our thanks to go to all the persons involved in planning and carrying out this event.  All indications are that the future is in good hands!