Students team up to build leadership skills at TWS conclave

Participants at this year’s North Central Section TWS student conclave stand with Gary Potts (extreme right), president of The Wildlife Society and plenary speaker for the event. ©Sarah Johanson

From wolf howling to quiz bowls, the TWS student chapter at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP) had a lot to offer at the recent North Central Section TWS Student Conclave held this past April.

A little over a hundred aspiring wildlifers from 12 chapters across seven states of the Midwest attended the event — specifically geared toward students. Participants had the opportunity to network with TWS president and conclave plenary speaker Gary Potts, North Central Section past president Mark Larson, speakers from various wildlife agencies as well as peers from other student chapters.

The theme of this year’s conclave was “teamwork,” and as part of the event, attendees signed up for a leadership series workshop, exploring ways to engage chapter members and increase membership numbers. The workshop — a collaboration between UWSP’s TWS student chapter and the Wisconsin Center for Wildlife — also taught attendees valuable teambuilding skills, which they could bring back to their chapters.

For instance, as part of a “Wildlife Olympics” activity, students worked as a team to identify species based on camera trap photos and even tested out camera traps. They also identified wildlife tracks in the snow and learned about GPS navigation.

Other conclave activities included photo contests, lessons in telemetry and tie-dying conclave t-shirts.

“This event couldn’t have been as successful as it was without the help of the 17 dedicated UWSP conclave planning committee members, wildlife professionals and several sponsors,” said Lisa Zoromski, current president of UWSP’s TWS student chapter and this year’s conclave planning chair. The university enjoyed hosting the event, Zoromski says, and hopes other students will benefit from skills they gained at the conclave.