Letter to Congress Tackles Conference Participation

By Colleen Hartel

2013 TWS National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2013 TWS National Conference in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

As part of the policy priorities of TWS, Government Affairs has been working to change policies that may limit federal employee participation professional societies.

TWS, along with 125 other organizations, which included other professional societies like TWS, universities, and trade organizations, signed onto a letter to science and appropriations committees in both the House and the Senate expressing concern for how current federal conference and travel policies weaken scientific and innovative processes.

“Conferences provide valuable opportunities for professional development, collaboration, and dissemination of new and relevant peer-reviewed science,” says Laura Bies, TWS Director of Government Affairs.

“As part of our mission to empower and enable wildlife professionals, we are committed to removing roadblocks that limit federal employee participation in conferences to further facilitate the incorporation of scientifically-defensible information in policy and management decisions,” Bies continued.

The letter, which was led by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, highlights how increasing oversight on conference travel approval have resulted in more administrative burden and higher costs associated with travel while reductions in conference participation threaten the quality of research from federal facilities.

The letter invites the committees to work with the signing organizations on developing solutions that ensure transparency in federal spending without impeding scientific progress.

Colleen Hartel is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.

Read more of Colleen's articles.