SWST is evolving quickly to meet the fast-changing research and education landscape of our members. We have held four International Conventions outside of North America. The 2014 Convention in Zvolen Slovakia was a huge success. Heavy participation from across Europe helped increase SWST membership by over 10%. In 2015 we continue developing the Society by introducing a host of firsts to the International Convention.

This year we strike out on our own to hold our first North American Convention that is a full week, scientific learning and networking event. Our success in internationalizing the society is clearly illustrated by the diverse geographical coverage of those submitting abstracts for the convention. The figure shows in green all the countries from which we received abstracts. We have over 230 abstracts from 31 different countries!Nearly half of these are from early stage researchers – students on up to someone within three years of receiving their PhD – another first for the 2015 Convention.

Tuesday June 9 of the Convention is a day dedicated to early stage researchers. We created this day to focus on future leaders of SWST and provide extra time for those young people to present their work. In total, we will see 36 oral presentations on Tuesday from early stage researchers, plus many others during the rest of the week. As part of this special day two mini-workshops will be held – another first for the 2015 Convention.

The two mini-workshops are two hours long and focus on publishing in SWST journals. That’s right journals. In December of 2014 the SWST Board approved creation of a business focused journal, tentatively titled: Bio-Products Business. One of the workshops focuses on publishing in Wood & Fiber Science and is appropriate for technically-focused participants. The other workshop focuses on publishing in Bio-Products Business and is for social science-oriented participants. The instructional teams for the workshops include the Editor for each journal. Business and marketing focused abstracts represented nearly one of every five submitted. This happened through cooperation with the IUFRO 5.10 Research Group – another first for the 2015 Convention.

The Forest Products Marketing and Business Management Research Group of the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations (IUFRO) is a major part of the Convention this year. Friday June 12 will consist of concurrent SWST and IUFRO sessions. We expect the best ever representation of business-focused researchers at any SWST Convention. Finally, we want to emphasize the Convention venue – another first for the 2015 Convention.

Forget cities, traffic, and pollution. Prepare yourself for the nature and grandeur of the great American West. We will be staying at Jackson Lake Lodge within Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Twenty minutes away is Yellowstone National Park. This is a family-friendly destination of epic proportions. You should plan extra time before or after the Convention to explore what the area has to offer.

In the coming weeks we will profile each day of the 2015 Convention so you can familiarize yourself with everything that will be available. Up next, learn about the activities of Monday June 8.

Early bird registration deadline is March 1!