Widlifers say farewell to Albuquerque

By Dana Kobiolinsky

After a week filled with networking, educational opportunities and meetings, wildlifers were ready to dance it out and enjoy the company of old and new friends at the 2017 Annual Conference closing event.

Some attendees took the opportunity to enjoy the deejay, dance with their friends and shake it out with past and present members of council. Others relaxed with a drink in hand as they reflected on their favorite part of a fun-filled week.

“My favorite part was getting to see a friend I hadn’t seen in two years,” said Whitney Gann, at the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State.

Others took the opportunity to apply what they learned to their own areas of study. “I’ll go home with ideas for my own research,” said Jen Korn, with Johnson Engineering, Inc.

Some students said sessions at the conference will help them after they graduate. “I don’t know what I want to do after I graduate and go to grad school, so I really liked that session,” said Brady Jochim, a student at North Dakota University. “I think the Peace Corps would be a good option between undergrad and grad school, so I really liked that session.

Other students like Tanner Anderson from North Dakota State University took advantage of the resume workshop.

The theme of the conference was an important part of the conference to some attendees. “I came with the Native American Working Group,” said Matten Hessami with the University of Montana. “I liked the tribal element of the conference that focused on cultural crossroads.”

To get a fresh perspective, some attendees attended sessions they previously knew nothing about and had nothing to do with their research. Marlee Fuller-Morris with Mississippi State University attended some mammal talks although, she said, she’s a “bird person.”

“The last talk I went to summarized that climate change is going to change everything we’ve done,” she said. “Everyone should be thinking about climate change all the time.”

President John McDonald said he enjoyed Albuquerque and is already looking forward to next year. “It’s been great,” he said. “It was great going to networking events and seeing people I haven’t seen in years.”

McDonald is already thinking about his theme for next year’s TWS Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio, on conservation success stories.

“We have issues with delisting of species because that’s going to reduce protection in states,” he said. “How do we deal with conservation conundrums?”

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.

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