Looking back over the past 2 years there is much to report, and much that will be left for my successors to continue to work on. Let me focus on several areas of accomplishment and then suggest areas that will need more efforts.
First, we have set goals for each of our two annual meetings, with the fall meeting focusing on academic and professional geographers and the Spring meeting a more academic conference format with a major emphasis on student participation, presentations, and competition.
Second, we tried to schedule future dates and sites for our meetings to provide more lead time for planning into the future. However, even our best laid plans can go awry. Our current Fall meeting is a case in point, as this meeting has gone through a number of iterations as we struggled with projected costs, focus, and ability to reserve rooms. However, we have held fast to the second last weekend of October, and hopefully that date can be maintained into the future to allow for long range planning by all.
Third, we have built bridges to the Washington Geographic Alliance (WAGA) and K-12 educators. We are offering WAGA the opportunity to use our newsletter to remain in touch with their members, and our Vice President (if the proposed revisions to the by-laws are accepted - see below) will sit on the WAGA board providing greater communication and coordination between our two organizations.
Fourth, we have continued to reach-out to the Professional Geographers in our region, and again based on bylaw revisions, hope to designate one board seat specifically for a Professional Geographer.
Fifth, we have expanded our contacts throughout the Pacific Northwest region by extending an invitation to our brethren across the border in Canada to attend our meetings. In fact our upcoming Spring meeting in April 2004 will be held at University College of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, BC. Given the large number of Geography programs in the lower mainland of BC plus on Vancouver Island, this could provide for some very stimulating Spring meetings in the future.
Finally, we have attempted to provide a long range, regular schedule of four annual board meetings, making it easier for our board members to plan their attendance well in advance, and also to make it easier for the general membership to attend if they should so choose.
In sum, during the past two years we (and I do mean this in a collective way, since much of these accomplishments are due to the work of all the board members) have provided the AWG with greater focus, organization, and out-reach.
However, much remains to be done, our ties with professional geographers, K-12 teachers and WAGA are only at the preliminary stages. More needs to be done to attract students to our meetings, especially as active participants in the Spring. Finally, as geographers, we all need to coordinate our efforts together in a more seamless manner to make the study and application of geography a truly life-long experience.
Finally, I wish to thank all those that made the last two years so productive and look forward to working with JW Harrington and the rest of our membership.
Patrick Buckley is Associate Professor of Geography at Western Washington University.