This year I thought I would go to the EAS meeting instead of Heartland as it is closer. I noticed you have to be a member to attend. Is this just their way of getting some extra money? I don't think Heartland has that restriction. Anyone know what the membership cost?
Here's a link where there is more info: http://www.easternapiculture.org/
I believe the yearly membership is $25 for an individual or family. In addition to the conference, membership also gets you a couple of newsletters during the year. They usually have information about the conference and a couple other topics - EAS stuff or EAS sponsered research related, as I recall.
In the 1990's I attended the conferences pretty regularly, then I stop going due to other distractions in my life, then started back again for the last two conferences (Georgia & Delaware). I was very happy to see that EAS still puts on outstanding conferences. The speakers and workshops are top notch, there's a good variety of vendors, and the beekeepers and academic types are friendly and approachable.
If there is going to be an EAS conference that is convenient for you, I would certainly recommend that you save your pennies and take advantage of the opportunity. Often the conferences are held a ways from home (for all of us). You should try to attend when it's close by. I attended a couple of their short courses back in the '90s - they were both outstanding. I only attended the conference these last two years, so I don't have any experience with how the short courses are now.
My understanding is that EAS is going to hold the conference in North Carolina in the next couple of years (2010?). I can hardly wait for it to be so close to home and to have such a great opportunity for NC beekeepers to experience. It's not cheap - but it is worth the admission. My wife and I had to save up the cash to attend the last couple years (read: not independently wealthy). We felt like we got our moneys worth!
I'm sure it is worth the money. Most of the time EAS has conferences too far for me to attend. The Heartland conferences are great and it is something I really look forward to. Even though I am whining about the money, I will attend.
I look forward to trying the Heartland conference one day. I talked to a couple who attended last year and they really enjoyed themselves. They remarked on how warm and friendly everyone was. We'll give that one a try when it drifts closer to the East. :)