Last August I had the opportunity to participate at the 13th EOU conference held in Lund, Sweden. It marked my inaugural experience at a big conference during my PhD and it was truly gratifying to share my first findings through poster sessions and to talk to so many interested persons.

Conferences such as this one can be somewhat overwhelming for baby scientists like us but I think that EOU is full of supporting people that help to be more confident and relieve stress. I had the opportunity to present my latest results on uncovering urban impacts, temporal trends, and climate change associations with the colouration of forest and urban great tits. This was a fantastic way to share my research to a diverse audience, with as many searchers and students as possible and I found a huge relief in their interest in my work. Interestingly, everyone had different feedback or interrogations on details and future directions of my work, making every interaction unique on its own (except for the whole explaining of the poster, which turned out to be redundant at some point). Some of these insights will for sure help me during my PhD.

Having 5 symposia occurring simultaneously was incredible, as there was always something interesting to follow. It even made it sometimes difficult to choose between two of them as there were numerous topics that looked captivating at the same time. The plenary talks were all about interesting topics, some of which I might not have been to if it was symposia. They allowed us to discover captivating research and themes, as well as to cultivate curiosity for diverse fields of study.

Figure 1 A full conference room before the welcoming session from the organisers © Lisa Sandmeyer.

As everyone is well aware of and PIs keep telling us, conferences are indeed the best place to meet researchers from around Europe, solicit feedback, have new ideas and even sometimes establish collaborations! At this conference, urban ecology was more represented than I could ever expect with plenary talk, symposiums, oral sessions and even a round table discussion. It is providing even more opportunities to meet and chat with a lot of people with the same interest.

Let’s not forget that conferences offer more than just talks and networking, it is also a beautiful way to discover other cultures and places. Lund is a nice middle-size city, with hostels, pubs and restaurants within small walking distance from the conference venue. The mid-conference excursions were particularly enjoyable. I went to Falsterbo peninsula and it was so impressive to see this multitude of birds and raptors but also to learn with passionate people that are always keen to share their knowledge. For this and for the organisation in general, a big thanks to the organising committee, who gave us coffee breaks all day long, various meals and refreshments, along with a lovely closing night party. The random seating arrangement at the evening event was a brilliant iidea to allow us to meet and talk with even more people.

Figure 2 Falsterbo © Lisa Sandmeyer.

I am immensely grateful to BOU for supporting early career scientists such as myself to attend conferences as EOU. It is such an important and easy access conference for young researchers to attend. I am eager to assist the next one to reiter the experience, perhaps with a chance to deliver a presentation.