The SPNHC conference FAQ is a useful document for anyone who is attending the conference or is considering doing so.


General Sessions

Which sessions do I go to?
The schedule format for the general session varies from year to year.  Sometimes sessions are grouped by common themes but not always.  Abstracts for the talks and poster sessions are available online.  You are free to go to as many general session talks as time permits.

Do I have to stay in one conference room the entire time?
No.  You are able to move freely between rooms.  Each talk is on a strict time schedule, so it is best to plan your moments in advance.

Poster Sessions

In line with our sustainability goals, all posters will be online only and presenters have the opportunity to include video to present their poster.  Delegates can view posters on the app and via the virtual platform.


Tea, coffee and lunch will be provided for delegates on each of the conference days.  Please note catering during fieldtrips is at your own cost.

Committee Meetings

 Who should attend committee meetings?
Everyone.  SPNHC encourages everyone to participate in the committee meetings.  It’s a great way to get involved in SPNHC.  Committee meetings are listed in the programme.  There is no need to register for the committee meeting – just show up!

Council Meeting

Can I go to the Council Meeting?
The Council Meeting is for SPNHC Executives, Members-at-Large, and Committee Chairs.  It is a time for those members to discuss the business of running SPNHC.  You will hear highlights of this meeting at the annual business meeting.

Annual Business Meeting

Can I go to the Annual Business Meeting?
Yes.  The Annual Business Meeting is the best way to know the future plans for SPNHC.  You will also get a sneak peek of next year’s conference!


Are the workshops for those just starting or do they require previous knowledge?
Workshops are for everybody!  Many of the skills taught during workshops are harder to find in other settings, so attending may be helpful for your career needs.  That said, there is a cost to attend most workshops, so finances are to be taken into consideration.  If you are unsure whether the workshop is good for you or if it is worth the extra cost, make sure to contact the Organisers to request more information.

Collection Tours

What are the Collection Tours? Who can attend?
Collection Tours let you see and learn how other institutions house their collections and often include the presence of scientists/students talking about their research.  During these tours, you may also expect to see wonderful specimens that are scientifically or historically important, or that are simply too cool.  Anyone is invited to these tours and there is no charge.  Don’t find it surprising if you come out with a novel idea for research, tips to take care of your collection, or even a fun story to tell.


Conference Social Events

Welcome Reception

What’s the Welcome Reception?
The Welcome Reception is the first social event of the conference where you can connect with colleagues in an informal atmosphere.  The event is free.  Be sure to wear your conference badge.

What should I expect from the Welcome Reception?
The Welcome Reception is very informal and will include light refreshments.  If you are new to the conference it is a great opportunity to meet other newcomers or identify potential mentors.

Emerging Professional Luncheon

Who is considered an emerging professional?  I’ve been in my profession for 3 years.  Am I still an emerging professional?
The Emerging Professionals Committee is geared toward early career individuals and students but does not specifically limit the group to a number of years in the profession.  Anyone can identify as an emerging professional.

What can I expect from the Emerging Professionals luncheon?
The Emerging Professionals luncheon is a great opportunity to meet other students and early career colleagues who not only may work in similar areas to yours, but may also have the same questions and anxieties about joining the natural history profession.  This event will connect you with these colleagues and make you feel more confident as an emerging professional.


What is the Ceilidh? Should I attend?
This is a special event for the 2022 Conference, to give you a taste of local culture.  A Gaelic word for a casual party with music, dancing and entertainment, ceilidh (pronounced “kayley”) is the term commonly used to refer to Scottish country dancing.  Many of the steps, including the do-si-do and swing-your-partner moves are similar to those performed in American square dancing.  It’s more about fun than getting the steps right, but there is always a “caller” with the band, who leads everyone through each dance.  This is not a free event.  The cost covers the rental of the venue, dinner and the band.  Beverages will be available for purchase.

Pub Quiz

What is the Pub Quiz? Should I attend?
One SPNHC tradition is the Pub Quiz.  This consists of a visit to a pub or restaurant in the city where the conference is held for a trivia competition.  Questions range from facts about the city or country of the conference to of course, natural history.  This is not a free event.  The cost covers the rental of the venue and light refreshments.  Beverages will be available for purchase.

Gala Dinner

Should I go to the banquet?
The Gala Dinner is not free.  Similarly to the Pub Quiz, attending the Conference Banquet should be weighed against financial obligations.

What should I expect from the banquet?
The Gala Dinner is usually more formal than other conference events.  Some wear cocktail attire, some dress casually.  There is no dress code so be comfortable!  There will be a seated dinner and usually dancing.  It’s another opportunity to socialize with colleagues in a relaxed atmosphere.

Field Trips

Can anyone go on the Field Trips or are they specific to your discipline?
Field trips are open to everyone for participation and are not discipline specific.  Although there is an associated cost, the field trips introduce conference participants to local sights and scenery, places of significance, and gather people together in a fun and informal environment.  Field trips are typically held in the days either before or after the conference programme, so you may need to plan to travel for a longer period of time if you include this in your conference schedule.


Getting Involved

How do I get involved in SPNHC?
First of all, become a member!  We also suggest you attend the committee meetings at the Conference that interest you the most and talk to the chair(s) to inform them of your will to get involved.  If you are not sure of which areas of SPNHC you would like to help with, you can contact the chair(s) via email after the conference as well.  And if you are still unsure, visit to learn more about the Society and then contact us.

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