The Virginia Chapter of The Wildlife Society held their annual meeting Feb. 23–24, where members discussed the role TWS plays in facilitating networking, mentorship and professional development. TWS Government Affairs & Partnerships staff attended to support collaboration within chapters, between state chapters and regional sections, and between chapters, sections and headquarters.
“Part of The Wildlife Society’s strategic plan is to increase communications that advance science-based wildlife conservation between our organizational units,” said Caroline Murphy, TWS Government Affairs Associate. “Following through on this strategic theme will create a more connected Society, which will bring about a stronger Society overall.”
In a presentation during the plenary session, Murphy updated the chapter on TWS headquarters’ activities, as well as TWS’ wildlife biologist certification program. Professionals in attendance spoke on the importance of certification for wildlife as a vocation, but questions were raised regarding the requirements. There are two tiers of certification: Associate Wildlife Biologist® (AWB®) and Certified Wildlife Biologist® (CWB®). An AWB has completed educational requirements of 81 semester hours in six categories. A CWB must fulfill those same requirements and hold at least five years of professional experience.
If you are certified, it is recognized by The Wildlife Society that you meet a standardized set of educational, professional and ethical standards. This rigorous standard ensures that certification provides immediate accountability to professionals.
The Wildlife Society is working on improvements to the certification process in order to simplify application formats, make applications available for online submission, cut down on wait time, and increase the relevance of certification in all areas of the wildlife profession.
“Membership benefits are built to serve you,” Murphy said in her presentation to the Virginia Chapter. “This is your Society, and I look forward to hearing your feedback and suggestions.”
|Dani Dagan is a policy intern at The Wildlife Society as part of the Government Affairs & Partnership program.|