2021 TWS ballot results

Credit: Deborah Lee Soltes

The results from the 2021 TWS ballot are in.

Members have approved new bylaws for the Society. This new document improves upon the previous bylaws in several ways, including rearranging the framework, correcting its content and making minor language changes. Some of these changes include moving some procedural information to a separate Procedures manual overseen by Council, adding information on diversity in the wildlife profession to the “Principles” section of the document, and clarifying the use of the term “section” that had previously caused confusion. These bylaws took effect immediately following validation of votes.

TWS members have elected Bob Lanka as the next vice president of the Society. Evelyn Merrill was elected to a second term as the Canadian Representative to Council. Kathy Granillo was elected as the Southwest Representative and Lisa Muller will be the Southeastern Representative. These candidates will be installed for their three-year term at the conclusion of the next regular Council meeting, expected this fall.

TWS extends its thanks to all of the candidates who ran for office, including Art Rodgers, William (Bill) Dowie, Jim Ramakka and Susan Rupp.

Meet your new Council members!

Bob Lanka

Vice President

My journey as a wildlife professional would not have been possible, may not have ever been considered, if my high school biology teacher hadn’t taken me aside and told me she believed I had real potential in the biological sciences. Simple words, just a single sentence really, but the impact that sentence had on my life is impossible to calculate. I have been fortunate to always have those that encouraged me to stretch beyond what I could do, to push on in good times and bad, to try to be better than I was.

TWS has been part of my life since 1986. To me, TWS is our Medical Association, our Bar Association, it is the professional society for those of us who are students of or who work on behalf of wildlife and people. With the encouragement of others, I have held Chapter, Section and TWS leadership positions. There really is no higher honor than being asked to serve. If elected Vice President, I hope to work with you to increase the capacity of our Wildlife Policy program, to make TWS the go to organization for bringing science to wildlife related policy decisions, and to enhance our services to members whose only outlet to bring science to local policy decisions is through a professional society like TWS.

One of the best benefits of being a member of TWS is that you get to meet many different people. People, each one different from the next, but united in their passion for wildlife and wild places are what makes TWS special. I hope you never miss an opportunity to say a kind word, to make one who in some way is different than you feel welcome. You never know, you might just change their life. Thanks for all you do.

Evelyn Merrill

Canadian Representative

First, I give kudos to the Canadian Section Board of Directors for an efficient job in establishing their Incorporation, TWS Affiliation, and Charitable Status, and facilitating Canadian Chapters’ options for TWS Affiliation in the last few years. We still have our work cut out to establish a well-integrated Canadian TWS where Section and Chapters have a framework to support each other.  Second, with our house in order, we need to continue to strengthen Canadian perspectives in TWS. Not only do we have distinct ecosystems, but our cultural and political systems afford unique challenges and solutions. Since coming to Canada 21 years ago, I remain in awe of the vast but fragile Canadian wildlife resources, the cultural diversity, and the impassioned and close-knit wildlife professionals who work to conserve them. Canada’s long wildlife legacy and our experience can benefit our neighbors, but the importance of TWS Affiliation in backing our efforts is not to be underestimated. Third, as our world continues to globalize, conserving the earth’s biota will depend on making wildlife relevant and foraging international collaborations.  Strong international teamwork within TWS is key in meeting the future challenges. TWS has been a part of my life for the past 40 years; I have seen the opportunities The Society has offered to young and seasoned professionals alike. It is growing in terms of diversity and inclusion. I hope to help promote the synergism that Canadians bring to tackling past and emerging professional and wildlife issues head-on.

Kathy Granillo

Southwest Representative

I have lived and worked in the Southwest for over 30 years, and the wild lands and wildlife of this area are near and dear to my heart. The world of wildlife management and research is comprised of a relatively small, close-knit group of very dedicated people. Through my many years of working across the Southwest, and through my involvement in TWS, I have gotten to know many of these people well.  They care deeply about wildlife resources.  They work long hours. They do good things for wildlife. They need someone who knows the issues in the southwest to speak up at the national level; to be their voice to TWS leadership. They also need to hear back from leadership.  I believe I can do this and do it well.

I would focus on better communication between scientists and managers. I have a long-time interest in improving communication between these two groups and I believe that TWS has a large role to play in this endeavor.

A top issue for me is involving youth and minorities in conservation and science. We need more young people, from diverse backgrounds, to engage in conservation and to pursue careers in wildlife research and management.

Another issue that I care deeply about is rapidly accelerating climate change. Anyone who lives in the southwest has seen and felt the changes – hotter and drier, with more intense weather events.  I would keep this issue in the limelight while working with national, section and the state chapters. 

Lisa Muller

Southeastern Representative

I have been involved with teaching and research in wildlife for many years. I strongly believe it is important to give back to the profession and encourage current and future wildlife biologists to continue the great work of TWS. I am passionate about including diverse voices as I know wildlife conservation issues faced tomorrow will require many different ways of thinking. I know it is important to participate and for everyone to make their voices heard. I want to promote communication and collaboration in the profession. I also encourage wildlife professionals to engage the public and explain the science and thought that goes into management decisions.

Solutions to conservation issues and progress in natural resource management will come from an informed and passionate membership. I believe TWS provides many opportunities for professional growth and I will continue to advocate for education, training, and mentorship. I have been very fortunate to have had great guides, colleagues, and friends at all levels of TWS. I would like to be a part of the tradition and promote involvement.  I welcome interactions, ideas, and suggestions from all members. If elected, I will do my best to serve the Southeastern Section with all my energy.


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