The 2012 LTER All Scientists Meeting (ASM) is rapidly approaching. On the agenda are four full days of gorgeous sunsets and sunrises, with lots of time for working group meetings – seven sessions in total – plenty of ad-hoc meetings, and fun.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Unique Role of the LTER Network in the Anthropocene: Collaborative Science Across Scales.” Assisted by the Schneider Group, the All Scientists Meeting will once again utilize the breathtaking vistas, fresh mountain air, and ample space of the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado.


Scientists from around the world will join their U.S. counterparts as well as a few of the locals in over 75 working group meetings, five evening mixers, and six plenary sessions — with plenty of free time to brainstorm and interact with it all.

Early workshops for graduate students, information managers, and education specialists begin Sunday, September 9.  Meetings of LTER committees and site scientists are sprinkled throughout the ASM, and another one featuring lead PIs is also being organized.

There are some exciting Working Groups proposed for this year’s meeting:

  • Foundation species in North American Forests, organized by Aaron Ellison;
  • Urban Sustainability, organized by Dan Childers
  • Frontiers in Ecosystem Science, organized by Peter Groffman
  • Drupal Ecological Information Managemnt System, organized by Inigo San Gil

Once again, Loretta Thompson and the Heritage Band will present an evening of Scottish Music and ceilidh dancing.

Free time on Wednesday afternoon will allow ASM participants to visit the Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), which houses the YMCA of the Rockies.

A photo contest will be conducted after the meeting, so remember your cameras. Additional details will be provided during the ASM. A final Summary Session will wrap up the All Scientists Meeting on Thursday, September 13.

The full schedule is available at


On Sunday, September 9 the first annual Site Science Lightning Round Table will take place. Sites are encouraged to participate in the 2 slides in 2 minutes per site round table session.

Also a first will be the inaugural NSF Townhall Meeting featuring Saran Twombly and other NSF representatives.

Plenary speakers will include:

  • Erle Ellis, from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who will present the themed plenary on Monday morning;
  • John Wingfield of the National Science Foundation will conduct the second morning plenary on Monday;
  • Robert Kates of the Institute on Science and Technology for Sustainability will present session talk entitled “Intersection of Long-Term Research and Sustainability Science” on Tuesday morning;
  • Michael P. Nelson from Oregon State and the new Lead Principal Investigator at Andrews LTER and Elizabeth Borer from Oregon State will present the morning plenaries on Wednesday; and
  • Luis Amaral from Northwestern will present the final plenary session on Thursday morning.

On the menu

Feedback from ASM participants has resulted in some minor changes in this year’s food menu. ASM participants will have exclusive access to the Aspen Dining Hall for all meals for the duration of the meeting. Work is progressing with the YMCA on a revised menu.

Getting to Estes Park from Denver International Airport

For most participants, the day of arrival will be Sunday, September 9. The drive from Denver International Airport to Estes Park will take three to four hours. The official date of departure will be Friday, September 14. Participants who will be arriving by plane are therefore advised to plan their flights accordingly (those driving to the meeting have more flexibility).

Upon touching down in Denver, ASM participants should take the short train ride to the terminal and retrieve their luggage from the Level 5 (also known as the Jeppesen Terminal) carousel. Participants should then head to the Estes Park Shuttle booth, also located on Level 5, to confirm their pre-scheduled reservation for the ride to Estes Park.

Estes Park is a very popular vacation destination in Colorado and ASM participants are sure to see plenty of other people enjoying the ride up.

The YMCA of the Rockies is an 860-acre vacation and conference center. Located at just over 8,000 feet in elevation, participants are advised to drink plenty of water to avoid altitude sickness. The weather in Estes Park in early September can vary with the average low around 35°F and high near 72°F. In short it may be warm or it could be snowing, so participants should come prepared for any weather.