discussion / Community Base  / 15 September 2022

Variety Hour: What do you want to see?

Hi everyone, 

We're settling into our new event format - we hope you're all enjoying having a regular monthly space to catch up as much as we are! I'm looking ahead at our next few calls and who we're going to invite along to speak. What do you want to hear about? Are there any specific topics, questions or tech you want us to cover? Who would be top of your wish list to have along to speak? 



I'm an engineer and product designer working on wildlife conservation technology.
Group Curator
WILDLABS Event Speaker

I like the format and the content is very hands on. I think it'd be nice to revisit some of the projects introduced in the Virtual Meetups series and hear about updates on them.Would love to hear what the BearID project, Audiomoth, and Key Conservation is up to.  Also think it'd be interesting to hear about projects from the Wildlabs Tech Hub way back when, and if they stopped, perhaps a postmortem on what worked and what didn't. Would also love to hear about current issues in conservation/tech like Microsoft AI 4 Earth changes and how that might affect projects, recent Inflation Reduction Act Bill in the US (climate change funding) and how that would affect conservation in the US, etc.  

This is super interesting feedback Akiba, thanks a lot! I'd been leaning towards making sure we heard from new voices and projects, so hearing you'd like to hear updates from projects we've heard from before is helpful - that's going to shift how I think about the invitations. 

I'm in agreement about having a space for commentary/debate about current events (eg changes at microsoft, impact of new legislation). I'm keen for us to experiment with formats other than the safe presentation then Q&A and have space for exploring more controversial topics. To this end, next session we're going to include an 'in conversation' section with a pro Web3/NFT expert, as I think there is a lot of hype in this speace, and a lot of questions about the real applications and impact of these types of projects. I'm definitely curious to see if we can get someone from Microsoft to come on and chat to us about implications of their changes for conservation projects. 

Super interesting - lots to think about. Thanks Akiba!  

Of course, Ellie has been knocking it out of the park with the quizzes!

I think the variety of speakers has been really good so far, though I think it could be really interesting to bring in people to talk about failed projects, along the lines of what Akiba asked about in terms of failures.

I'd also like to second Akiba's point about the IRA and climate funding as a potential source of funding/collaboration for conservation tech folks. I have some contacts in that area and could try to reach out if there's interest.

Agree with all previous points!

My additional input would be that I think there is a lot of opportunity for conservation finance + conservation tech to come together, as I feel like the two camps don't do that enough. That sort of ties in with the NFT type stuff and climate change stuff. 

Sort of related to previous input as well, but we just had Climate Week here in NYC and I was pretty shocked by the pretty utter lack of biodiversity talk. Everything was climate-centric, but the biodiversity & climate crises go hand in hand so I would love to see more inclusive & collaborative work at this intersection! Would be great if we could have speakers around this space at variety hour as well. 

Final thought - might be nice to get some updates on supply chain issues & hardware manufacturers e.g., FieldKit, Audiomoth, etc. I feel like there is a lot of confusion still out there about where things stand now and how far away people should expect before they can place orders. I've seen soooo many requests for Audiomoths on Twitter - some sort of rental/loan program would be great with regard to this, but that's a different conversation :)