Minutes of the Canadian Association of Palynologists
Annual General Meeting, 2009
Venue: CANQUA 2009
Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC
May 5th, 2009
Present: Alwynne Beaudoin (Recording Secretary), Gail Chmura, Les Cwynar, Alexandra Gerber, Simon Goring, Terri Lacourse, Estella Leopold, Rolf Mathewes, Matthew Peros (Chair), Jonathan Hughes, Emily Helmer, Florin Pendea, Vera Pospelova, Diana Tirlea, Charlie Schweger, Ian Walker. Quorum achieved.
- Welcome, approval of agenda.
Round table introductions, Matthew thanked Terri for arranging lunch and welcomed attendees. Agenda reviewed. Ian moved to approve agenda, Gail seconded. Agenda approved as presented.
- Minutes from 2008 AGM were reviewed by attendees. Ian moved to accept minutes, Rolf seconded. Minutes accepted.
- President’s Report, Elisabeth Levac (in absentia).
Matthew reviewed the CAP President’s Report, noting that it had been a busy year for the Association. Rolf moved to accept report, Gail seconded. Report accepted as presented. (See below for report)
- Secretary/Treasurer’s Report, Mary Vetter (in absentia).
Matthew reviewed the Secretary/Treasurer’s report. Association expenses are low, with the student award and IFPS dues the main expenses. Simon moved to accept report, Terri seconded. Report accepted as presented. (See below for report)
- Newsletter Editor’s Report, Terri Lacourse.
Terri noted that the next CAP Newsletter should appear soon, pending inclusion of the President’s Message. She indicated that the next CAP Newsletter will be short, mentioning that she has had difficulty securing contributions. General discussion on Newsletter followed. Among suggestions for new or additional content were: a techniques section; information about lab supplies and equipment, including source of supply and details of suppliers; information on coring equipment and fieldwork tips; information about upcoming session at conferences; and discussion about which listservs are useful; and more details about web resources for palynologists. Charlie suggested that content should be directed towards student education. He suggested a series on history of palynology in Canada. He challenged meeting attendees to pick a palynologist and write up about them. Terri noted articles about Calvin Heusser and Pierre Richard in recent Newsletters. Matthew asked for volunteers to write some history articles. Charlie moved to accept report, Ian seconded. Report accepted as presented. (See below for report)
- Website Editor’s Report, Alwynne Beaudoin.
Alwynne reviewed report highlights, including greatly increased web accesses during the last year. Terri noted that this increase was coincidental with CAP Newsletter going to a digital version and was likely attributable to the links to the website included in the Newsletter. Terri moved to accept report, Simon seconded. Report accepted as presented. (See below for report)
- News from IFPS, Jean Nicolas Haas.
No news report from IFPS.
- CAP Student Research Award, Matthew Peros.
Matthew reviewed history of the award and its development. In response to questions, he summarized the criteria for the award. Award recipients must include acknowledgment of CAP in research. The adjudicators this year were Matthew Peros, Terri Lacourse, and Jean Nicolas Haas. This year, CAP received three strong applications. Suzann Stolze, based at Kiel University in Germany, is the first recipient of the award. The meeting records congratulations to Suzann on this award. In answer to questions, Matthew clarified that undergrads could be considered for the award and that applicants need to be members of CAP to qualify. In response to a suggestion that, rather than money, the award might be directed to fund travel to conferences, the sense of the meeting was that CAP likely could not support this, since the amount would be so variable from year to year. Simon moved to accept the report of the student award, Gail seconded. Report accepted as presented. (See below for report)
- Location for next AGM.
Matthew reported that the CAP Executive has determined that the next AGM will be held at AASP-CAP meeting in Halifax in 2010. He expected CAP to have a strong presence at this meeting.
- Conference presence at AASP-CAP Halifax 2010 and GeoCanada 2010 meetings.
Matthew called for ideas for sessions at both these meetings. Simon wondered about the possibility of a dinoflagellate session at the Halifax meeting. Gail thought this would be a good venue for a session on palynological history, highlighting the lineage of palynology in Canada. Alwynne suggested a history session at GeoCanada 2010, remarking that 2010 also marked the 200th anniversary of Asa Gray, a distinguished North American botanist. Several other possibilities were mooted but no resolutions were proposed. Matthew encouraged anyone that wants to organize a session to go ahead.
- Discussion on priorities and goals for CAP 2009/2010.
This item generated lengthy and lively discussion, with many good ideas being explored and different avenues suggested.Rolf suggested CAP should have a greater presence at conferences, perhaps including meetings such as the CAG or AAG conferences. Lengthy discussion followed. All agreed that getting CAP better known in the broader bio- and geoscience communities was important to the long-term survival of the society. Among the points made were that CAP might be better served at smaller meetings, and that it is important to participate in a broader array of meetings, including more botany-themed or marine-themed meetings, to counterbalance the recent trend towards geology-themed meetings.Ian drew attention to the demise of Géographie physique et Quaternaire which published lots of Quaternary palynology. He noted that CJES has a new editor and may be moving more towards environmental earth sciences. He suggested this might be a good venue for CAP members to publish. He suggested that a special journal issue of CAP-related papers could be viable, perhaps arising from a CAP-sponsored session such as this one at CANQUA. Florin thought it was important to look at non-pollen palynomorph issues as well, noting that amoebae or chironomids are hot topics too. Other attendees agreed, noting the wide range of indicators examined by CAP members and potential variety of publication venues.Several participants noted that younger professionals have drifted away from CAP; the Association needs to give them a reason to participate. There is concern in many professional societies about membership declines. Participants pointed out that since news is on the web and digital versions of journals are available online, there is a perception that there is no need to join a professional society anymore. However, Gail noted that with about 50 members, CAP was actually in good shape compared to many associations. Terri added that with so much information online that societies have to create a sense of community in other ways. Considerable discussion ensued. Among the suggestions were: special grad student sessions at conferences, encouraging grad students to organize conference sessions, and faculty members encouraging students to join CAP.
Simon suggested another direction for CAP, by increasing information available through the website. He felt the addition of Pierre Richard’s pollen identification publications on the CAP website was good and suggested that the site needs more information like this, perhaps including more links to other web resources, such as specialized databases.
Charlie felt it was important that CAP consider the lack of employment opportunities for students. Schools are losing palynologists to retirement and they are not being replaced. Publicity is important to highlight the usefulness of palynology in various fields – forensic, honey, and climate studies. But where are the jobs? He felt there were problems with promoting the discipline if there is nowhere for students to go. Other participants noted that it is important for established professionals to promote palynology as a useful tool applicable to many research problems and emphasized that employment opportunities may arise in areas apparently unrelated to palynology but which provide avenues for palynological work.
- Other business.
No other business was brought forward.
After these lengthy discussions, Matthew suggested closing the meeting at 1:50 pm. Gail moved, Ian seconded, attendees agreed. Meeting adjourned.
CAP President’s Report 2009
I would like to start by welcoming all new members of CAP, and greet also send my best wishes to all on this nice spring day. And I want to thank all the executive members for their work, and inputs in various discussions: I thank Mary Vetter, Alwynne Beaudoin, Terri Lacourse and Jean Nicolas Haas for volunteering their time and effort to run CAP. Thanks to Rob Fensome as well for serving as auditor.
This year’s Annual General Meeting will take place on May 5th, during the CANQUA meeting at Simon Fraser University. CAP is sponsoring the session “Putting the Ecology Back into Paleoecology”, organized by Terri Lacourse and Marlow Pellatt. The session will examine how ecology allows fossil-based Quaternary paleoenvironmental reconstruction.
Another session “New Directions in the Use of Pollen Analysis in Environmental and Climatic Reconstructions”, organized by Matthew Peros, Sarah Finkelstein and myself, will take place on May 24th during the Toronto joint assembly.
As I write this report, various Earth Day activities are taking place to increase awareness about the fragility of our planet. We should become more aware of the Earth’s beauty and of the amazingly fine-tuned interactions between all of the Earth’s systems. To me, Earth Day represents the essence of St. Francis of Assisi’s idea that to admire nature is equivalent to praying, something to remember as we are about to start field work, or to go back to the microscope. Palynologists play a role, minor nevertheless important, in trying to understand how our planet works.
I invite our members to read the website editor’ report as many new items have been added to the CAP web page. We welcome suggestions and CAP-related contributions (please go to: http://www.scirpus.ca/cap/cap.shtml).
And speaking of field work…again…I met a former student of Jaan Terasmae two weeks ago. She would tell me about the difficulties she encountered when she was a graduate student in the late 1960’s. Doing field work was a challenge for female students as they were required to have chaperones! I even found an article about this (Burek and Kölbl-Ebert 2007 see reference below). I did what my students do: a little search on Google).
Finally, preparation of the joint AASP-CAP-CPC meeting in Halifax continue. Inputs and ideas are always welcome and we hope many of our CAP members will attend this exciting meeting.
CAP President 2008-2009
Cynthia V. Burek, and Martina Kölbl-Ebert, 2007. Historical problems of travel for women geologists. Geology Today 23:30-32.
CAP Secretary-Treasurer’s Report 2009
As of April 19, 2009, CAP has 57 members in good standing who have paid dues for 2009. This is comparable to the 58 members we had in 2008. As we usually have a few members renewing or a few new members joining as the year progresses, CAP membership may perhaps end up being a bit higher than last year. The recovery of our membership from the low point in 2005 appears stable.
I would like to extend a special welcome to new members:
- Carlos Avendano, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
- Josie M. Delepine, Department of Geography, University of Victoria
- John-Paul Iamonaco, Department of Geography, University of Toronto
- Colin Mustaphi, Laboratory for Paleoclimatology and Climatology, University of Ottawa
For the period ending April 19, 2009, the balance in the CAP account is $5593.75.
The following items are yet to be paid:
a) IFPS dues for 2009. Dues are $1.50 USD per member, so the amount owed at the present time is $85.50 USD (approximately $102 CAD). Our IFPS Councilor Jean Nicolas Haas will pay them and be reimbursed.
b) The student award of $200 to be presented at the 2009 AGM
c) Lunch for the 2009 AGM
The trial of accepting dues in Canadian or US funds, instituted because the Bank of Montreal eliminated fees for deposits of US cash and cheques, was successful. This has made payment of membership dues easier for our US and international members, and I believe contributed to the renewal of some lapsed memberships. This practice will continue unless the Bank of Montreal changes its fee structure.
Recommendations: Paying the outstanding commitments will still leave a healthy balance in our account. Our regular annual charges are IFPS dues ($1.50 USD per member), the annual corporation renewal fee ($25 + GST), and the new student award ($200). CAP is in a good financial position to continue to support outreach initiatives at conferences (e.g., coffee breaks) and sponsor sessions as desired.
CAP Annual Financial Statement
1 May 2008 – 19 April 2009
The closing balance includes 66 prepaid annual memberships in the amount of $660.00 for the years 2010-2015. This will affect the income from this source for the years indicated.
Statement by Appointed Auditor:
It is my opinion that the above financial statement represents a full and fair account of the financial affairs of the Canadian Association of Palynologists for the period indicated above.
CAP Newsletter Editor’s Report 2009
In April 2007, the CAP Executive decided to produce and distribute the CAP Newsletter in a electronic format. Since then, all issues of the Newsletter have been electronic. Focus can now be put on improving other aspects of the Newsletter. The December 2008 Newsletter was distributed to CAP members on November 24, 2008. It consisted of 24 pages, including a review of CAP’s Special Session at GAC/MAC 2008 in honour of Pierre Richard. This edition also announced CAP’s inaugural Student Research Award. The May 2009 Newsletter has not yet been sent to the members, as I am waiting for the President’s Message. The Newsletter will be distributed by mid-May 2009.
CAP Newsletter Editor
CAP Website Editor’s Report 2009
I have continued as editor for the CAP website since the last AGM. The presentation is located at http://www.scirpus.ca/cap/cap.shtml, under my own domain (www.scirpus.ca). There are no costs to CAP associated with this hosting. Accesses to the presentation have continued to be relatively high, and usually exceed 2000 each month. The presentation provides various resources and information about CAP to the palynological community. I have continued to update time-sensitive sections of the presentation, such as the conference listing and various announcements, throughout the year. Back issues of recent CAP Newsletters (though not the latest issues) are now archived on the website, making them available to members over the long-term. I have maintained the author listing and index to past CAP Newsletter issues. As time permits, I have been scanning and adding older CAP Newsletters as PDF files to the website.
This year has also seen a major addition to the website in the form of a PDF version of Pierre Richard’s Atlas pollinique des arbres et de quelques arbustes indigènes du Québec. The Atlas is comprehensive and richly illustrated. This publication should be of great benefit to palynologists, especially those working in eastern North America. I am very pleased to include it in CAP’s web presentation. It is available through the CAP Library page at http://www.scirpus.ca/cap/library.htm. The file was provided through the good offices of Michelle Garneau and Elisabeth Levac and is distributed with the permission of the original publisher and copyright holder, the Société Provancher. The file size is quite large (14.7 MB) and I would be interested to hear if anyone has difficulty downloading it.
This year is also marks the first CAP Student Research Award. I have set up a page to provide information about the Award and the application process, as well as provide a year-to-year record of the Award recipients.
The presentation has grown considerably in the last couple of years and now includes 214 pages of information (static .htm pages) and 29 PDF files. As always, I would appreciate more CAP-related material for the web presentation. I would be pleased to receive suggestions or content for new components to broaden its appeal. If CAP members are agreeable, I am prepared to continue as the Association’s Website Editor for another year.
Alwynne B. Beaudoin
CAP Website Editor
Report on CAP Student Research Award 2009
After being formally discussed at the 2007 CAP AGM in Ottawa, the submission deadline for the first annual CAP student award passed on March 1, 2009. The award consists of $200 to be directed toward an aspect of the student’s thesis or dissertation research, a three-year membership in CAP, and a certificate. Advertisements were posted on the pollen, paleolimnology, and Quaternary e-mail listserves, on the CAP website, and in the CAP Newsletter.
We received three submissions; two from students at the University of Toronto and one from a student at Kiel University in Germany. The President-elect, Matthew Peros, asked for two volunteers from the CAP executive to help adjudicate the award; Terri Lacourse and Jean-Nicolas Haas agreed to do so. The winner will be formally announced at the 2009 CANQUA meeting in Vancouver in May. Following this announcement, the President-elect will provide recommendations for any potential changes to how the award is advertised, its rules, and the process by which a winner is selected. CAP thanks all those who applied.
Matthew C. Peros
This summary originally appeared in CAP Newsletter 32(2):3-10, 2009.