The Marine Aquarium Conference of North America is a yearly event buzzing with a cornucopia of reef related awesomeness. For some, it’s an annual tradition, for others, a pilgrimage. Regardless, MACNA presents its attendees with an exuberant atmosphere of fun and relaxation, acting as a catalyst where amateur hobbyists, to world renowned scientists and everyone in-between are able to interact in a manner most casual. In no particular order, we’ve picked our top 5 reasons as to why we love MACNA. [Photo credit above: Jeff Saurwein]
New sights, new sounds
The state hopping nature of MACNA presents the event goer a serendipitous excuse to go sightseeing. While vendors and speakers are just as alluring, taking an hour or two each day to see something new is definitely not going to hurt. This year’s MACNA at Washington D.C. really delivered in the cliché touristy department. The White House is cool and all, but there’s really nothing better than a Coelacanth at the Natural History Museum!
Most MACNA attendees would single handedly agree that the talks given at the show are by far and large, the best and most anticipated experience. Really, to sit in the presence of industry icons and experts talking about their areas of expertise — what could be better? My favourite talks this year were those given by Dr. Luiz Rocha, Matt Wandell, Richard Ross, Brian Greene, Lyle Squire and Kevin Kohen. What were your favourites?
You’ve seen them on Facebook. You’ve engaged with them via e-mail. Now you get to see them face to face. With new products, new thingamabobs and gadgets, the vendor booths offer a platform for consumer and provider to engage and geek out. This casual engagement brings us to our next point….
Networking! The combination of a casual atmosphere and the presence of industry names from all over the world in a single location sparks a logarithmic expansion of networking. Meeting new people, exchanging new ideas, isn’t that what MACNA is all about? Who did you get to connect with this year? Was there anyone on your wish list of people to meet? I’m sure of it, and I hope you managed to connect with them!
I lied. There is a #1 in my top 5 MACNA moments. And that, my friends, is reconnecting with friends – both old and new. The afterparties, the obnoxious selfies, the embarrassing dancing. There really is no greater joy, and just for a moment, the world stops spinning, and the crowd keeps dancing. Here’s to an even better MACNA in San Diego next year. One filled with playful banter, childlike happiness and educational, informative lectures about the wonderful hobby that we’ve all come to know and love.