Tennessee student chapters gain diverse field experience

Percy Warner Park in Nashville, Tennesssee. ©HD_Vision

The following student chapter news was included in the September 2018 newsletter of the Southeastern Section of The Wildlife Society. Photos of student chapter activities are also included in the newsletter.

Cleveland State Community College Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Cleveland State Community College Student Chapter of TWS has been busy as always! In addition to earning another suite of volunteer hours with federal and state natural resource agencies, several of the student chapter’s members were awarded paid internships: one student with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) assisting Region 3 biologists with non-game species, and three students with the U.S. Forest Service on the Cherokee National Forest assisting the freshwater snorkeling program and serving as wildlife interns. The Student Chapter also had a good showing at TWS’ Southeastern Section Student Conclave, placing seventh out of 20 schools. Additionally, students have been engaged with undergraduate research including maintaining bear hair snares across the southeastern region for the Appalachian Bear Rescue. They also started a five-year study assessing aquatic organism passage following culvert restoration and improved habitat for a species of concern, the Tennessee dace (Chrosomus tennesseensis). Currently the student chapter is assisting TWRA biologists with abomasal parasite counts on wildlife management areas. Their most recent endeavor was completing the first official Student Wildlands Adventure Program (SWAP). Last summer, students traveled to the deserts of New Mexico to experience natural resources management in the region firsthand. This August they “swapped” with Cleveland State students, serving as hosts to 20 students from New Mexico who were able to experience the lush green spaces of southeastern Tennessee. The impact of experiencing freshwater ecosystems and resource management in Tennessee was incredible and left a mark on everyone involved. The student chapter looks forward to next summer when they’ll take another group of students out West.

Tennessee Tech University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Tennessee Tech Student Chapter of TWS had a banner year during the 2017-18 academic term. The student chapter boasted 51 members and a highly-energized slate of officers. Activities for the year included assisting the TWRA with bear hair snare sampling and deer check stations, bird banding at Whig Meadows, staffing a kids booth at Seven Islands State Birding Park, assisting the National Wild Turkey Federation with Wheeling Sportsman hunts, tree planting at a local dog park, Earth Day kids’ activities, senior formals for Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 graduates and a fine showing at TWS’ Southeastern Section Student Conclave in Louisiana. Fundraisers included football tailgating, a chili cook-off, and the annual Beast Feast wild game dinner in April. With a new, enthusiastic set of officers, the student chapter is looking forward to even bigger and better things in the coming year!

University of Tennessee – Martin Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The University of Tennessee at Martin Student Chapter of TWS attended SEAFWA, the Tennessee Chapter of TWS annual meeting, and TWS’ Southeastern Section Student Conclave in 2017-2018. The chapter maintained contracts this year with TWRA for assistance at deer hunter check stations, with the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for conducting annual waterfowl counts at a river restoration site in Madison County and with Quail Forever for carrying out several tree and shrub plantings on Conservation Reserve Program sites. A $1,000 grant was awarded from TWRA for a quarter-mile stream cleanup effort and the student chapter signed on as a supporter of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. Speakers at student chapter meetings included Dr. Allan Houston from Ames Plantation, Barron Crawford, Manager of Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Complex and others.

University of Tennessee Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The 2018 spring semester was highly productive for the University of Tennessee – Knoxville Student Chapter of TWS. The student chapter held joint wildlife and fisheries meetings every other Thursday evening, as usual. In February, they hosted the annual wild game dinner, a potluck-style feast accompanied by silent and live auctions, live music, and community fellowship. This event helps provide the funds needed to send students to conferences and events, such as the 2018 TWS Southeastern Section Student Conclave at LSU, where the student chapter earned third place overall. They were also able to send some students to the Tennessee Chapter of TWS annual meeting at Fall Creek Falls State Park. At the same time, many students were busy gaining field experience in projects such as quail covey counts, turkey check stations, weed wrangling, bat mist netting, American wood duck box observations, sturgeon sampling, trail construction at Seven Islands State Birding Park and numerous others. Groups of both graduate and undergraduate students worked together on the Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program (TAMP) and the student chapter held a free Tennessee Hunter Education course that was open to the public. To wrap up the busy school year, the student chapter hosted the annual crawfish boil and “herp hunt” at Kyker Bottoms Refuge. Members look forward to what the 2018-2019 school year has in store.


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