As the early bird deadline for the ESA Annual Meeting in Fort Lauderdale approaches (Thursday!), you might want to know about some parent accommodations that will be available there:
- Lactation rooms at the conference center for nursing and pumping mothers. Private, quiet, and clean rooms for moms to nurse their babies or to pump breast milk. These rooms will be appropriately furnished for both nursing and pumping and supplied with power outlets, tables, chairs, cleaning wipes, and paper towels, and refrigeration for storing pumped milk. Room locations have not yet been announced, but we will let you know as soon as they’re available. Mothers are, of course, free to nurse their babies anywhere, but we understand that some women prefer privacy and some babies refuse to nurse unless they are in a quiet environment.
- Free access to the convention center for childcare providers. If you are bringing a spouse, other family member, or a hired care provider with you to the conference, they can get free passes that will allow them to get past security guards at the convention center doors. We know that this has been a problem in the past for coordinating the care of babies and young children. This pass can be requested at the registration desk at ESA. While free, it only allows the childcare provider access to the convention center itself, and not any of the official conference program, including ignite, oral, and special sessions, symposia, workshops, or poster sessions.
- On-site childcare. For children aged 6 months through 8 years old, there is childcare in the convention center from 7:30am to 6:00pm Monday through Thursday and from 7:30 to 1:00pm on Friday. Cost is approximately $50 for a half day and $100 for a full day. (See details http://esa.org/ftlauderdale/registration/child-care-offerings/ .) Protip: The KiddieCorp staff are very nice, as well as professional. If you bring your baby and just need a quiet dark place to sit for a while, they will graciously let you and your baby sit in the infant room, even if the child is not registered for childcare. Also, they have a bottle warmer, in case you are in need of bottle-warming.
Please pass this information around to your early career friends and colleagues. Most of this information is not yet available on the main Meeting webpage and we need your help to let ecologist parents know about these amenities!
Bio: Dr. Margaret Kosmala is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, where she studies the effects of climate change on Earth’s plant life using automated cameras, citizen science, statistical models, and machine learning. Her kids are six and two years old.