Purdue hosts TWS North Central Student Conclave

By Rebekah Lumkes, Purdue University TWS Student Chapter Past President

©Zach Truelock

From bird watching to quiz bowl, the student chapter of TWS at Purdue University had a lot to offer at the North Central Section TWS Student Conclave held March 24-26, 2017 at Camp Tecumseh, Brookston, IN.

Ninety-two aspiring wildlifers from nine student chapters across seven states of the Midwest attended the event — specifically geared toward students. Participants had the opportunity to network with the various speakers as well as peers from other student chapters.

The conclave provided many opportunities for students to hear from wildlife professionals. Allen Pursell, Director of Forest Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Indiana, gave the opening Plenary Session talk entitled “A Window on the Natural Features of Indiana.” On Saturday, students could sign up for presentations from Columbian Park Zoo, IN DNR, USDA APHIS Wildlife Services, Purdue University staff and graduate students, Wildcat Creek Wildlife Center, and TWS. For the closing session on Sunday, Gary Potts, immediate past president of TWS, gave a presentation on “Is Student Membership in The Wildlife Society Beneficial?”

Other conclave activities included bird banding and watching, herping, chapter poster and photo contests, and the wildlife Olympics where student’s skills were tested at a variety of stations. Saturday evening was action packed with the student quiz bowl which was very competitive and exciting for attendees! Bonfire socials culminated both Friday and Saturday evenings and allowed for much networking with students and presenters.

“This event couldn’t have been as successful as it was without the help of the 15 dedicated Purdue University student chapter and conclave planning committee members, wildlife professionals and several sponsors including TWS,” said Rebekah Lumkes, current president of Purdue University’s TWS student chapter and this year’s conclave planning chair. The student chapter enjoyed hosting the event, Lumkes says, and hopes other students will benefit from skills they gained at the conclave.