Manitoba Attendees Chime in on 2015 Conference

By Dana Kobilinsky and Joshua Rapp Learn

Downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba. Image Credit: Robert Linsdell, licensed by cc 2.0

Current presidents, past presidents, Aldo Leopold award winners, students and more came together for a boisterous final celebration of the 2015 Conference of The Wildlife Society in Winnipeg last Wednesday night at the Manitoba Social event. Between drinks, snacks and a number of line-dancing displays that included everything from country music to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” staff at The Wildlife Society caught up with attendees to see how they thought this year’s conference went.

“I wanted this theme, ‘We Are The Wildlife Society’ to get people thinking about working together on common causes. This really follows my theme for next year of expanding partnerships, and that means using the examples of our current partnerships to share it with others and expand partnerships, so we can learn from one another about our projects and missions. In the wildlife profession, we face daunting challenges and we are so few in number that we have to work to get the job done. And as the human population increases and we have more problems to deal with, our partnerships will be the key to our success.” — Gary Potts, President of TWS

“Phenomenal conference. It was just a great time. I think we surpassed our expectations in terms of the numbers of attendees: the quality of the presentations, all the networking and associated events were superb. The venues were extremely well done. We were very enthused with the outcome of this conference.” — Rick Baydack, immediate past president

“My favorite part and what I got most out of the conference was the professional networking. It was a really good chance to get out there and meet with future graduate professors and working professionals.” — Michael McMahon, University of Minnesota Crookston

“What I look forward to next year is even more of the same, and plenaries that lift [attendees] out of their seats and that tell them that they are the best things in the world to happen to wildlife, and that they are the ones who are going to make sure that wildlife is going to be kept for generations to come.” — Shane Mahoney, Canadian Conservationist

“One of the nicest things about The Wildlife Society [conference] is it’s the one time of the year when everyone gets energized at the same time about the same thing… The Woman of Wildlife panel that was done and the ethnic and gender diversity symposium had energy in both rooms, on different days. The youth, the mid-career, the retired, were all in the room together getting energized together.” — Misty Sumner, panel speaker Women of Wildlife at Work

“Great conference, great venue, excellent program. It was unbelievable. It was even harder than normal to figure out which paper to try to go see because there were that many great papers. Great job.” — Bob Warren, past Aldo Leopold Memorial Award recipient

“The conference has been a great networking event for me. I’ve really enjoyed meeting people internationally in this event from Canada to Japan, talking about how we can address biodiversity issues related to bioenergy.” — Susan Rupp, owner and manager of Enviroscapes Ecological Consulting

“My favorite quote from the conference is, ‘Other people say you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.’ You know what I say? You can always add salt to the oats.” — Jennifer Malpass, Ohio State University

“This has been an awesome experience coming here and seeing this many students involved in The Wildlife Society makes me go home and rededicate myself to what I do for wildlife.” — Bob Lanka Central Mountain and Plains Section representative

“I spent my career as an explorer and a soldier, searching for a new land. I ended up in Manitoba. Now I’m deciding how I get these people to come to Raleigh, where I’d never actually been before they beheaded me. But it’s all good because the Wildlife staff is making this happen for us.” — Sir Walter Raleigh (English spy, explorer and courtier who dressed up and attended this conference nearly 400 years after his death and had a striking resemblance to TWS development manager Chuck Shively)

“I’m here because wildlife is important to me in every aspect of my life and I hope that one day I can maybe contribute and fix some of these horrible problems in the world.” — Samantha Stone, student, University of Manitoba

“I’m graduating tomorrow and this conference was an excellent opportunity to network with everyone that cares about wildlife and it was an awesome time to engage with important wildlife topics that are happening right now. I’m very appreciative to be here — it was great.” — Samantha Cortes, University of Manitoba

“This wildlife conference was very great. We had fun in Winnipeg. This is the second time TWS has had in Canada. Let’s have more fun in Canada again.” — Tsuyoshi Yoshida, Rakuno Gakuen University

“Thank you everybody for coming to Winnipeg. I would like to say, in nature, leave only footprints and take only photos.”— Savina Mastrolonardo, University of Manitoba

“It was a great learning experience, I got to meet up with a lot of people —people I haven’t seen in a couple years. I’ll definitely be coming back in the future.” — Jennifer Rodgers, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry

“I just wanted to say it’s been an excellent conference here in Winnipeg and I just hope to improve the show next year in Raleigh, North Carolina.” — Kelly Douglass, North Carolina Chapter president of TWS

Hear Canadian conservationist Shane Mahoney’s reflection on The Wildlife Society’s 22nd annual conference in Winnipeg, Manitoba below:

Joshua LearnJoshua Rapp Learn is a science writer at The Wildlife Society.

Read more of Joshua's articles.

Dana KobilinskyDana Kobilinsky is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at dkobilinsky@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article. You can follow her on Twitter at @DanaKobi.

Read more of Dana's articles here.