Call for Proposals


We appreciate your efforts to bring the very best of your knowledge and insight to a wider audience at the conference, and to help us make this event as engaging, collaborative and cutting-edge for your colleagues as possible. We are pleased to provide a venue for you to advance discussion of natural areas topics to this audience.
Please refer to this year’s conference theme and topics when preparing your proposal. We ask that all proposals connect to the theme and fall under the heading of one or more of our announced topics. We also ask that you consider our audience, which is primarily people involved in on-the-ground management and adaptation work, when submitting your proposal.
More detailed information is available on this page on each kind of proposal we are seeking, as well as links to the proposal form for each. Feel free to contact us with questions about the proposal process, and keep in mind that ALL presenters are asked to cover their own registration, accommodations, and expenses.


What is a symposium?

Symposia consist of 5 invited speakers whose talks are strongly integrated. Talks are 25 minutes with 5 minutes for questions. After the 5 talks, there will be 30 minutes available for facilitated discussion in a flexible format; session organizers are requested to use the time to advance and expand the conversation on the topic, with a view towards inspiring continued debate. We ask that organizers consider symposia an opportunity to start conversations at a deeper level than simple presentation Q&A.

Who should consider submitting a proposal for a symposium?

Symposia are ideal for an organizer who has several speakers in mind with different perspectives on a common topic, or is looking for an opportunity to showcase a range of information on that topic with an eye toward advancing knowledge and debate in a particular area. Organizers must be willing to coordinate these speakers and submit all info regarding their symposium, including all participants and their presentation titles, at the time of the proposal. Organizers must register for the conference, and also need to inform their symposium participants that each presenter will be required to register for the conference and cover their registration cost and associated expenses.

​How are individual presentations different from a Symposium or Poster presentation?

An individual presentation is a single talk which takes place in a 30-minute time slot, with 10 minutes for Q&A and discussion. It is important to note that at the Natural Areas Conference, each presenter during a session takes responsibility for fostering an engaging Q&A and discussion period for their own presentation, by having in mind several questions that can engage attendees on the themes and ideas they present. An individual presentation can stand on its own, although the program committee may choose to place your presentation, if accepted, within a Symposium. However, an individual presentation is not proposed as part of a Symposium. A Poster presentation is specifically for those who submit a poster abstract, and the associated presentation is given at the Poster Session and Reception, not during sessions. The program committee may also opt to offer you an opportunity to present your work in the form of a Poster, rather than an oral presentation.

Who should consider submitting a proposal for an individual presentation? We encourage anyone in, or currently a student of, the natural areas profession who wants to share useful, actionable results and information for their colleagues to consider a proposal once they have looked at our proposal review criteria. It is important to note that our conference emphasizes on-the-ground solutions for land managers, rather than data for its own sake, and those considering a proposal should bear this in mind. All presenters will be required to register for the conference and cover their registration cost and associated expenses. We suggest that prospective presenters consider how they will pay for these costs before or at the time of submitting a proposal, as applying for and receiving financial support from any organization can be time-consuming, and NAA only makes conference scholarships available to full-time students on a competitive basis.


How are posters different from individual presentations or symposia?

A poster presents information in the primary form of a physical poster, whose size cannot be more than 4 feet by 4 feet. If their proposal is accepted, the presenter will bring their poster to the Natural Areas Conference and mount it in the place designated for the Poster Session and Reception at the event venue. By submitting a proposal for a poster and having it accepted by the Program Committee, poster presenters agree to be present during the Poster Session and Reception IN PERSON in order to present their work and respond to questions by attendees. Posters are a critical part of the Natural Areas Conference Programming, but they are presented at a dedicated event, rather than during regular sessions. The program committee may also opt to offer some presenters who submitted an individual presentation abstract an opportunity to present work in the form of a Poster, instead of an oral presentation.

Who should consider submitting a proposal for a poster?

We encourage anyone in, or currently a student of, the natural areas profession who wants to share useful, actionable information for their colleagues to consider a proposal once they have looked at our proposal review criteria. But posters are a perfect way to convey the results of a smaller-scale initiative or study in a timely, economical way – or to call attention to information that is still under development. It is important to note that our conference emphasizes on-the-ground solutions for land managers, rather than data for its own sake, and those considering a proposal should bear this in mind. All presenters will be required to register for the conference and cover their registration cost and associated expenses. We suggest that prospective presenters consider how they will pay for these costs before or at the time of submitting a proposal, as applying for and receiving financial support from any organization can be time-consuming, and NAA only makes conference scholarships available to full-time students on a competitive basis.
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​​What is a Field Workshop?

Field Workshops are not Field Trips. Although Field Workshops are definitely intended to be a fun outing to a natural area or natural area-related site for our attendees, and may incorporate a recreational component, Field Workshops are different from Field Trips in that they are considered part of the Natural Areas Conference informational programming for natural areas professionals and have an instructional purpose. They are opportunities for NAC attendees to see some of the methods and initiatives they’ve been hearing about during sessions as they are working on the ground in real time, and they are related to the conference theme and specifically tied to one or more of the conference topic areas. They are usually organized by local volunteers specifically for the conference, and may be led by the same people who presented on a related topic.

Who should consider submitting a proposal for a Field Workshop?

Field Workshops are perfect ways for local natural areas professionals and organizations to bring conference attendees into closer relationship with their work, and showcase the wonderful natural areas they work so hard to manage and preserve. It’s also a great way to add an extra dimension to presentations and topics about ground-level initiatives in the region that are particularly notable. Be advised, however, that organizing a Field Workshop requires thoroughly thinking through the logistics and other possible challenges of any outing and also requires a significant investment of time and energy to develop and make happen. It also requires working with a conference Field Workshop organizer during the run-up to the conference to get total clarity on all the details of the outing.
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What is a Workshop?

Workshops are events that have a greater instructional component than symposia and individual presentations, and participants typically remain in the workshop for the entire session, rather than moving between sessions. They are also more in the hands of the organizer, in the sense that while we review proposals and list them in our registration and in our conference program, organizers are responsible for communicating with participants, and we ask that they take on some of the burden of promoting their workshop themselves.

At our conference, we typically schedule workshops before our regular program, although we sometimes schedule them after or during the time concurrent sessions are going on. The proposal submission form will ask you to choose when you want to hold your workshop, how long you want it to last (half day or whole day), your prospective attendance, your attendance limit, and what times/days are available. Participants sign up in advance for a workshop, and attendance is usually limited.

Who should consider submitting a proposal for a Workshop?

Workshops are perfect for organizers who are looking for a way to gather a group interested in an in-depth topic for an extended instructional experience. For example, we have had Workshops that deal with how to use tools of interest to land managers, or engage with a particular land management initiative or body of knowledge in a rigorous way. We expect Workshop organizers to be registered attendees at the Natural Areas Conference.

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