Annual conference

Each year, we hold a conference at a different location within the Rocky Mountain Region. It’s an opportunity to meet new members, make new contacts, share experiences, enjoy local events and activities, learn from a variety of seminars and experts, and get new ideas and inspiration.
Each conference offers field trips and presentations unique to its locale, but there are some things we repeat. And some of those require your participation. Click here for a checklist of what you should be bringing to the conference.
For the latest schedule, click here.

Conference 2017 is dedicated to the memory of Tom Ulrich and a celebration of his life.

Don’t miss it: April 23-26, 2017 in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

huge ancient cottonwood

“Big Tree” at San Pedro House © Barb Laine

We’ve scheduled RMOWP’s 44th annual conference in a place and time to catch the height of the bird migrations north from their winter homes in Mexico. Sierra Vista (see is located in the southeast corner of Arizona with the San Pedro River Riparian area just a few miles east. The river is along the migration route and consequently a prime birding area.

Headquarters will be the Sierra Suites, where we’ve reserved a block of rooms ($59 for a standard king room) and booked a conference room for workshops, meetings, and several meals. Check out for a look at the facility. To receive the RMOWP group rate, call the motel at 520-459-4221. Do not book online.

For information on campgrounds in the area, see page 4 of the Jan-Feb newsletter.

Plans include:

  • Acorn woodpeckers

    Acorn Woodpeckers © Linda Martin

    Pre- and Post- conference Bird Photography Field Trips with member Linda Martin

  • Ramsey Canyon Preserve, a Nature Conservancy property, tour
  • Early morning bird walk along the San Pedro River
  • River walk followed by a brunch at the San Pedro House pavilion
  • Docent-led tour of Fairbank ghost town and cemetery
  • Workshop by local writer/teacher Beth Orozco “Bringing the Stories of the Natural World to Life”
  • Bird photography workshop with member Fred Lord
  • “Create a Photo Essay” workshop by member Virginia Staat
  • “Birds & Beasts of Tanzania” presentation by member Ron Belak

Other area hotspots conference attendees might want to visit on their own:

  • Fort Huachuca, the army base on the western edge of town with several very nice museums. Learn about the early history of the area, the Buffalo Soldiers, drones, and military intelligence dating back to the Revolutionary War.
  • Tombstone AZ

    On the streets of Tombstone © Barb Laine

    Tombstone, the “town that wouldn’t die” – lots of photo ops of tall, dark strangers dressed in 1880s garb; stagecoaches rambling down the street, daily re-enactment of the shoot-out at the OK Corral, plus a mine tour.

  • Kartchner Caverns State Park, one of the most spectacular living caverns in America.
  • Bisbee, a picturesque town in a steep valley, with many shops and galleries.

Plus the usual:

  • First night opening reception
  • Presentation of contest submissions
  • Members’ Showcase
  • Auction
  • Photo critique with Jack Olson
  • Anne Sullivan Writers’ Forum with Kenita Gibbins
  • Awards Banquet
  • Board of directors’ meeting
Fairbank ghost town

Fairbank ghost town © Barb Laine

What to Pack: Days should be warm but not hot, and evenings comfortably cool in April. Most of the areas we’ll be visiting and exploring will be below 5,000-feet elevation. As always in the southwest, it’s wise to be prepared for a wide range of temperatures and weather, and think layers that can be easily shed and replaced.

Getting there: Sierra Vista is south of I-10, about 1 1/2 hours east of Tucson International Airport.

Check back for updates, and read your newsletters – conference is just around the wintry corner.