Monday, September 27, 2010

MACC Fall Conference -- Oct 23 & Nov 6

In Massachusetts, much of the responsibility for enforcement of the Clean Water Act -- particularly the wetlands provisions -- rests with local, volunteer boards known as conservation commissioners. Appointed by town governments, ConCom members (as they are known) are not required to have any professional training to do this important work. In some towns, they employ conservation agents, who generally have degrees in biology, geography, or a related field. (On conservation agent has a double-major from BSC -- biology and geography. We're very proud of that alum!)

Fortunately, most conservation commissioners in the state take their work quite seriously, and take advantage of the rich opportunities for professional development afforded by the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissioners (MACC). These include an eight-part fundamentals certification program that most commissioners try to complete (as has Dr. Hayes-Bohanan), an advanced certification, and various other workshops on environmental science, public policy, administration, and resource management.

Workshops and certification programs are offered throughout the year in various locations around Massachusetts, but the greatest variety can be found in a single day at the fall and spring conferences. This year, the fall conference is being held on two separate dates in two locations, to be more accessible to the entire state. Check the fall conference page for details, and compare workshop offerings to the fundamentals page if you are interested in getting started on that certification (which requires a total of eight, half-day workshops).

At the conference, you will meet concom volunteers, conservation agents, and representatives from various companies that provide related products and services (from consulting to high-infiltration paving materials). For anybody interested in volunteer or professional environmental work, this is one of the best opportunities for networking in Massachusetts. And if you go, wear a BSU t-shirt, so that some of our alumni in attendance can find you! Dr. Hayes-Bohanan is probably not attending, but has done so many times in the past; feel free to ask him questions.

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