- Report of the Eighty-Second Annual MeetingFlagstaff, Arizona October 16–19, 2019
October 16-19, 2019, saw a return of Pacific Coast Geographers after twenty years to Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff for the 82nd annual meeting of this distinguished association. With 166 registrants and many walk-ins, the event was well attended for this remote locale.
This year's meeting was organized as a joint effort between NAU's Department of Geography, Planning, and Recreation and the School of Earth and Sustainability. Geographers Denielle Perry, Alan Lew, Dawn Hawley, Erik Schieffer, Amanda Stan, and John Gartin made a formidable planning team to bring together numerous evening events and field trips highlighting the "Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau," this year's meeting theme. Wednesday evening's opening reception featured an Arizona beer and wine selection accompanied by a slide-show with stunning photos of the region. Here, old and new friends and colleagues connected in the grand ballroom of NAU's historic Ashurst Hall, NAU's original building. Opened September 11, 1899, this building held the entirety of what was then known as Northern Arizona Normal School.
Field trips on Thursday included: the tour of Grand Canyon National Park's sublime views; a self-guided Downtown Flagstaff walking tour offering the history of this bustling railroad mountain town; a look at Picture Canyon's pictographs and waterfall, and the trails at Buffalo Park. The San Francisco Peaks Life Zones and Skyride tour took people to the top of Arizona's highest points, while the Drinking in the Flagstaff Landscape tour exposed members to the town's meadery, distillery, and brewery culture. The evening keynote by Harun Mehmedinovic, held at Lowell Observatory, illuminated in his real-time narration of the film Sky Glow the history of Flagstaff as the world's first "dark sky" city and the significance of these dark refuges around the world for nocturnal species and public health. [End Page 171]
Paper presentations and keynotes took place in concurrent sessions Friday and Saturday at the recently renovated du Bois Center on NAU's south campus. The DuB, as it's commonly called, is named after philanthropist Alan Van Fleet du Bois, who established a generous forestry scholarship. In total, ninety-one papers and twenty-five posters were presented by attendees from states across the APCG region (Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) as well as Alabama, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia. The Executive Council and Business meeting were both lively and productive, further details on those operations can be found in reports elsewhere in this newsletter.
Just days before facing federal court for a retrial, geographer Scott Warren delivered Friday's riveting keynote, doggedly presenting both sides of a compelling case. He at once described how the Arizona borderlands became a multi-ethnic landscape riddled with racism while simultaneously recounting harrowing details of his experiences on trial as a humanitarian aide worker with the organization "No More Deaths." The room packed wall to wall was indicative of APCG membership's support for this man's exoneration for his simple work in helping people on the move. Movement in the landscape is, after all, a fundamental theme for geographers.
Following Friday's sessions, the annual "BBQ" was held at the Museum of Northern Arizona, where access was granted to attendees to view exquisite artifacts from the many Indigenous tribes of the Colorado Plateau, as well as iconic Southwest paintings and sculptures. Saturday evening's APCG banquet was preceded by a closing social in the ambiance of the 1899 Bar and Grill outdoor firepit. At the banquet, outgoing president Brian Pompeii delivered his address, "The Social Production of the Great California Drought." Many awards were made for outstanding papers and posters at this evening event before the meeting came to a close. And with that close, another annual meeting bringing together long-time colleagues and friends with up-and-coming scholar students and junior faculty was deemed a [End Page 172] success. As in previous years, attendees found being in the company of fellow geographers restorative. [End Page 173]