2018 TWS elections: Candidates and proposed bylaws changes

©David Lewis

The ballot for The Wildlife Society’s 2018 elections include both proposed bylaws amendments and nominees for the positions of Vice President, Canadian Section Representative, Southeastern Section Representative, and Southwest Section Representative to Council.

Three amendments have been approved by Council for consideration. Members will be asked to vote on three amendments to the Society’s bylaws when they receive their ballots. They include:

  • The removal of proxy voting by Council members, per the advise of TWS legal counsel
  • Amendment to the number of Council members that constitutes a quorum
  • Changes to the Council nominations process to provide additional time for the nominating committee to identify and select candidates

Additional nominees for the four Council positions listed above may be submitted by any voting member in good standing, if supported in writing by 5 percent of the voting membership. The deadline for additional nominations is May 21.

Electronic ballots will be sent June 5 to all members with an email address. Members without an email address will receive a paper ballot in the mail. Voting will close July 5, and newly elected Council members will be installed at the 25th Annual Conference, Oct. 7-11, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. Mailed paper ballots must be postmarked on or before July 5.

The proposed bylaws amendments and candidate statements are provided below.

Proposed Bylaws Amendments

ARTICLE VII. MEETINGS

Section 2. COUNCIL MEETINGS

Clause B — PROXIES — In the event a member of the Council is unable to attend a meeting, that member may appoint a qualified Voting Member of the Society as an alternate, provided that the President has been notified in writing.  

ATTENDANCE — A member of the Council, who is unable to attend a meeting in person, may participate so long as all participating parties can communicate in real time with other participants. Participation by proxy is not allowed. 

Clause C — QUORUM — Five Nine members of the Council shall constitute a meeting quorum.

ARTICLE VI. COUNCIL ELECTIONS AND OTHER BALLOTING

Section 1. NOMINATION OF OFFICERS — The President shall appoint a Nominating Committee consisting of one (1) Voting Member per Section. Before mid-December March 1 of each year the Nominating Committee shall submit to the Executive Director the names of two Voting Members in good standing as nominees for Vice-President. Committee selections shall be published promptly in the Society’s official publication of record. Within 30 days of the date of mailing of posting said issue on the TWS website, additional nominee(s) may be submitted to the Executive Director by any Voting Member in good standing, if supported in writing by 5 percent of the Voting Membership.

Section 2. NOMINATION OF SECTION REPRESENTATIVES — Each year b Before mid-December March 1 of each year the Nominating Committee shall submit to the Executive Director the names of two Voting Members in good standing as nominees for Section Representative for those Sections where representatives’ terms shall terminate that year the following year. Nominations shall be provided by the respective Section Executive Board/Committee, or, in absence thereof, by the Society Nominating Committee. No nominee for Vice President shall be nominated for Section Representative in the same election. Nominations shall be published promptly in the Society’s official publication of record. Within 30 days of the date of mailing of posting said issue on the TWS website, additional nominee(s) may be submitted to the Executive Director by any Voting Member in good standing, if supported in writing by 5 percent of the Voting Membership within the Section represented.

Vice President Nominees

Carol Chambers

For many of us, a love of wildlife took us outside at an early age and gave us unforgettable moments observing animals. Turning this passion and enthusiasm into a career as a wildlife professional has given me great joy and satisfaction. I love what I do, I constantly learn, get in the field and work with students starting their careers in wildlife.

At the same time that I found my career path in college, I also connected with The Wildlife Society. An adviser suggested I attend a TWS meeting. Not long after, I gave my first presentation at a state chapter conference in 1992. Since then, my involvement extended to working with TWS in capacities that ranged from Student Chapter Adviser to Southwest Section Newsletter Editor, Committee Chair for annual meetings, Symposia Organizer, Women of Wildlife (WOW) supporter and more. As a two-term TWS council member, I represented the Southwest Section, traveling among states and getting to know people and their interests in the chapters that I represented along with the section’s business, challenges and ways to address questions and concerns from our membership.

My long-term involvement in TWS gives me an understanding of the people, issues, agencies, and organizations involved in wildlife management and conservation and the daily administration of TWS at all levels. It gives me a strong interest in seeing TWS remain robust and increase recognition of members as Leaders in Wildlife Science, Management and Conservation, as our motto reads.

My views for TWS are threefold: to support science-based wildlife management, encourage diversity, and increase communication and networking. The first echoes the mission of TWS, to promote our use of sound, science-based management and conservation to sustain wildlife and habitat. I want our science recognized among policy makers and used on the ground. The second encourages us to greater diversity in our profession through support of underrepresented groups and WOW in our organization. The backing that TWS and TWS members provide to students at our annual, section and state conferences makes us stand out among professional organizations and gives us a very strong, positive reputation among the next generation. This benefits both diversity and networking, a third part of my views. Maintaining and building support for our students and early career professionals will grow membership and networks, strengthening future membership and their contributions so important in our profession. In addition, communicating our passion about our jobs, wildlife and the issues challenging many animal species can extend beyond our own circle to policymakers and the public. From my experience and knowledge of our membership and our priorities, I am prepared to be an effective leader of TWS.

Gordon Batcheller

The wildlife profession best represents my interests, skill set and passions, and TWS best addresses the full spectrum of the profession. Our responsibility is to ensure that citizens care enough about wildlife to take measures to secure populations and habitats in perpetuity. I am inspired by our pioneering conservationists who took steps over 100 years ago to conserve wildlife. They had one thing in common — a fundamental passion for all things wild and natural. I want TWS to be at the forefront in advocating for wildlife conservation at all levels (local, state, national, international) by championing the value of science through well-designed and timely research, and via science-based management; ensuring that people from all walks of life experience the happiness that comes from enjoying wildlife; ensuring that highly trained professionals are recruited into the workforce while meeting the highest standards for academic and professional excellence; fighting to keep wildlife as a public trust resource; being a strong voice for the legitimate, democratic and lawful use of wildlife; upholding our traditions regarding the use of wildlife while recognizing that modern reforms are needed to meet contemporary management needs; and ensuring that the interests of wildlife professionals are appropriately voiced and heard at all levels. The Wildlife Society is a strong organization because we are dedicated professionals who work hard and care for what we do. The task of your national officers is to help you conserve and manage wildlife through the work of the chapters, sections and working groups. I am grateful for the thousands of dedicated wildlife biologists who are the heart and soul of TWS. It would be an honor to assume a national leadership post at TWS to help advance our collective vision for the future of wildlife and to strengthen our profession.

Canadian Section Representative Nominees

Evelyn Merrill

First, we need to continue to strengthen Canadian perspectives in TWS to promote the true value of wildlife in North America both now and into future. Second, Canadian issues need to be adequately represented and addressed. Not only do we have distinct ecosystems, but our cultural and political systems afford unique challenges and solutions. Third, Canada’s long wildlife legacy and our experience can benefit our neighbors. For example, we have continued to manage some wildlife populations that our southern neighbors only recently restored. On the other hand, the importance of TWS backing in promoting local wildlife resources from a North American perspective when quagmired in local politics is not to be underestimated. Fourth, as our world continues to globalize, conserving the earth’s biota will depend on international collaboration. Strong international teamwork within TWS will put the Society at the forefront in meeting future challenges. Since coming to Canada 18 years ago, I remain in awe of the vast but fragile Canadian wildlife resources, the cultural diversity, and the impassioned and close-knit wildlife professionals who work to conserve them. The Wildlife Society has been a part of my life for the past 40 years and I have seen the opportunities the Society has offered to young and seasoned professionals alike. Given my background at the various Chapter and Section levels in Canada, I hope to help promote the Section’s role as a full partner in TWS that will provide a North American synergism to tackling past and emerging wildlife issues head-on. 

Malcolm Lau

I am interested in becoming the Canadian Section Representative on TWS Council because I believe in fostering a strong partnership between Canadian and American wildlife goals. Wildlife stewardship has no borders and collaboration with America has given us many great successes, like the return of wild turkey into Ontario. Though I am new to the wildlife sector, I have seen that not only does America produce excellent research on wildlife management, it also has many opportunities for development of Canadian’s interested in wildlife stewardship. In my vision of The Wildlife Society, there are strong lines of communication between the Canadian Section and The Wildlife Society that provides ample opportunities for Canadian members to develop themselves through information and employment within America. By serving as the Canadian section representative on TWS Council, I will have the chance to contribute to this vision by developing relationships with the members of The Wildlife Society Council and fostering collaborations between sections. Additionally, as a member of The Wildlife Society Council, I will be able to disseminate a firsthand account on topics of interest and how they affect The Wildlife Society in general. I would like to become more involved in wildlife stewardship, and as the Canadian Section Representative on TWS Council, I feel I will be able to not only develop my own skills as I start my career but help other members of TWS develop themselves as well.

Southeastern Section Representative Nominees 

Lara Pacifici

I first presented at TWS in Burlington, Vermont, as a master’s student. Never before and never since have I been as nervous as I was for that presentation. I knew the audience before me was the community I wanted to work with and contribute to for my entire career. I knew the people in the room with me were doing important work to change the world for the better and I wanted to be accepted as one of them. I call up that feeling when I think about current students and new professionals in TWS. The challenges faced by today’s wildlife professional are more highly faceted than ever, which presents significant hurdles but also exciting opportunities. I want TWS to be a place where professionals from all corners of the conservation field feel they belong, where they can learn and grow professionally, and where they can collaborate on issues of wildlife conservation that will have real impact on policy and management.

I want to work to make the inroads to TWS easy to find for new wildlife students and professionals from the broad array of backgrounds, positions and agencies instrumental to current wildlife conservation. I’d also like to help connect new members with working groups and committees so that they can identify more closely with the organization and make valuable contributions. With a diverse membership who feel connected and invested in the organization, we can make greater positive progress with collaborators like state agencies, federal agencies and private organizations.

Mike Conner

It is an exciting time to be a member of The Wildlife Society. Our membership is growing, we are on sound financial footing, TWS staffs are making great strides in all aspects of TWS affairs, student involvement is phenomenal, attendance at annual meetings is excellent and member benefits continue to grow. If re-elected, I will be honored to serve our membership to the best of my ability and I commit to recognize past successes and build upon our current strengths to ensure our Society remains valuable to all members.

It is my desire that TWS be viewed as an essential professional resource for all student and practicing wildlife biologists. Understanding that the strength of TWS emanates from its membership and that many chapter members are not members of TWS, I will encourage membership at all levels of TWS by listening to our membership, working to address concerns, and promoting open lines of communication between subunits and TWS.

During nearly three decades as a member and more recently as your Section Representative to council, I have witnessed many changes in The Wildlife Society. Among the most positive of these changes has been student involvement in TWS. If re-elected, I pledge to maintain and enhance student involvement in TWS activities and I will encourage members in our section to promote The Wildlife Society as a means of ensuring that our Society continues to represent and serve those who lead the charge in conserving wildlife and their habitat.                                                                                                                   

Southwest Section Representative Nominees

Whitney Gann

The Wildlife Society has strongly represented my professional and personal interests with respect to the availability of mentorship opportunities. Since I first became involved in the Texas Chapter of TWS I have thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of service to the profession. I was part of the first team of young professionals to graduate from the TCTWS James G. Teer Conservation Leadership Institute and have been fortunate enough to serve as chair and co-chair of numerous committees at the state level.  Now, I am looking forward to serving as the director of the Texas Chapter’s Wildlife Conservation Camp during the summer of 2018, a youth camp I have volunteered with since I was a student. I also currently serve TWS at the national level as both newsletter editor and secretary of the TWS Rangeland and Wildlife Working Group, and as a member of TWS’s Wildlife Professional Editorial Advisory Board.

Many of my mentors have served in executive positions with the Texas Chapter and Southwest Section, as have many of my current professional colleagues. Mentorship provided by these individuals has fostered my desire for more involvement in the society and an interest in ‘paying it forward.’  My involvement in TWS has also fostered a strong appreciation of the society’s history and I look forward to the opportunity to serve in greater leadership capacity — like the mentors who have so strongly influenced my professional path.  I am excited about the opportunity to represent our society as the Southwest Section representative and hope to dramatically increase engagement from our student and state chapters. 

James Ramakka

The area encompassed by the Southwest Section of The Wildlife Society contains a complex suite of issues facing wildlife managers. While public land is often a factor influencing wildlife programs in Arizona and New Mexico, private land is a primary consideration in wildlife management in Texas. Some issues including effects of drought, invasive species and the proposed border wall are concerns in all three states as well as Mexico. Other issues may be unique to a state or region. Based on my experiences attending 23 of the 24 TWS annual conferences and three of the five International Wildlife Management congresses, wildlifers generally share the same passion and devotion to our profession and the resources we manage, no matter where we work. I’ve seen how participation at all levels of The Wildlife Society can lead to the development of professional relationships that facilitate the common goal of scientific management, even across political boundaries.

I’ve observed the vital role TWS staff play in advocating for wildlife and agency budgets before Congressional committees, and council’s responsibilities in overseeing the functioning of TWS. Council meetings are a primary venue to discuss issues of concern to the membership. I’m also aware of the work and time commitment expected of Council. Past SW Section Representatives have been very effective on Council in conveying Southwest Section concerns and in advocating initiatives such as the WOW program and outreach efforts to encourage Native American students. If elected, I would do my best to carry on their legacy.