The Waterbird Society is a professional community that respects diversity and promotes inclusion. After much deliberation, The Waterbird Society Council has decided to hold our 40th Anniversary Meeting as planned in New Bern, North Carolina. At this late date we cannot practically move our meeting location without a large financial cost to our relatively small society. The Council has endorsed a motion to increase travel funding to our annual meeting to offset losses that may incur as a result of State and City travel bans [https://waterbirds.org/awards/student-travel-awards]. We are also exploring other options such as extending early registration and abstract submission deadlines, ride-sharing, and room sharing that may allow participants who do not get funded to travel to attend the meeting. Finally, we hope that the law known as HB2 will face several legal challenges that will be successfully resolved in time for our September meeting.

The Waterbird Council has undertaken a number of new actions that will help to reinforce our Society’s culture of inclusion and diversity. First, the Council has endorsed a new Committee on Diversity. [For interest in joining this new Committee, please contact Liz Craig: Ecc79@cornell.edu ]. Second, alongside our scientific program and other waterbird-focused activities, we have also planned an evening panel discussion and reception to encourage meaningful conversation about human diversity and representation within the Waterbird Society. Finally, we have assurances from the city, meeting facilities’ managers and area hospitality partners that all participants in the 2016 Waterbird Society annual conference will be welcomed equally to the City of New Bern. We look forward to having you join us in September for a strong scientific program and these celebrations.