he 2014 American Federation of Aviculture, Inc. (APA) hosted the 40th educational convention in Portland, Oregon, the City of Roses, with much anticipation and great success. Bird lovers traveled from across the globe to gather together for this amazing educational meeting of the minds. Even Portland's Mayor, Charlie Hales, welcomed the APA to the city of Portland. His letter was featured in the convention program. Portland provided a wonderful backdrop for the convention as an entertaining and historical city with fun and unique opportunities for visitors to experience. Downtown Portland, in itself, offered us a multi-cultural experience with the famous food trucks and downtown concerts. If you are a fan of the NBC series, Grimm, you would recognize many different sections of Downtown used in their scenes. For the most part, we all took a little time to venture out and do some exploring.
The Holiday Inn and Conference Center serves many Portland conventions. The open dining area adjacent to the common conference area meant that attendees never had to really leave "conference central", and the wait-staff handled the conversational table hopping with grace and good humor.
Of course, it goes without saying, that the major topics of conversation amongst us focused on everything aviculture. The 2014 APA convention, once again, covered all aspects of aviculture and proved to be another invaluable educational convention. Where else will you get an opportunity to pick and choose among 30 different presentations about aviculture?
Several Board members, Chairs, and volunteers arrived in Portland the Saturday before the convention to begin setting up for Wednesday's conference kickoff. With the arrival of the APA truck and store merchandise, the tingle of excitement started to build. As the teams organized for set up, the level of excitement escalated and became contagious, even spreading to curious hotel staff and other non-conference guests. As the birds began to arrive and attendees checked in for the conference, a whole new level of excitement surged through the venue, and the anticipation became exhilaration.
The board members and committee chairs held the annual board meeting on Tuesday before the conference. All APA members are always invited and encouraged to attend board meetings. When other members of APA participate in board meetings, it helps the board and chairs to stay connected and chear their input, 'which is always appreciated and often helpful as the board tackles projects. As the board meeting adjourned, a new buzz of enthusiasm permeated the conference site, and the smiles became infectious, no matter one's state of exhaustion, APA officers tend to run on minimal sleep.
The conference kick-off started early Wednesday morning with the president's message to the House of Delegates (HOD). The annual HOD meeting is very important, for it is here that the leaders of the American Federation of Aviculture come together, make rules and regulations, have a meeting of the minds and get things done. Traditionally the HOD votes annually on rules and regulations, and sets the stage for the coming year with new ideas to be discussed, which culminate in new initiatives, rules, and regulations to be finalized at the following HOD meeting (to be held in Chicago of 2015).
President, Nancy Speed's message to the HOD, to be carried on to the entire AFA membership:
APA President, Nancy Speed, introduced the board and the chairs to the HOD and then delivered an inspiring and motivating message to us all. She went over the program of the convention and praised the HOD for serving as the management of the APA. Nancy reminded the
attendees of the 2014 convention theme, Protecting the Future of Aviculture, and why it is so important that we stay focused on the future. Nancy motivated the members of the HOD with the importance of their individual roles with regard to aviculture and with regard to their leadership responsibilities to their assigned areas of the nation. She went on to explain how the House of Delegates is the driving force and key organization in the United States working on behalf of aviculture (the keeping of birds). Nancy concluded that only through the hard work of the Board of Directors, Committee Chairs, and House of Delegates in the areas of education, conservation, disaster relief and legislative awareness would APA continue to survive, which is crucial if we want to continue having birds in our lives. The future is bleak, and we must find a way to stand united for the sake of aviculture.