A busy time for habitat working group

From webinars to symposia, HRCWG efforts focus on habitat restoration and conservation

As immediate past chair of the Habitat Restoration and Conservation Working Group, I am excited to share our accomplishments over the past couple of years.

Our mission and purpose is to provide a professional forum to exchange scientific information that advances wildlife habitat restoration and conservation. The group draws upon lessons from wildlife ecology, conservation science and restoration ecology to promote effective strategies through webinars, symposia, workshops, technical sessions and position statements. The HRCWG also provides input on TWS policy statements and offers educational opportunities.  

We recently reorganized the working group to ignite renewed interest among TWS members and refocus activities to better reflect our mission. This effort resulted in an active 2022. We commented on position statements focusing on climate change, lead ammunition and fishing tackle and livestock grazing. Recognizing that early career professionals and persons not presenting were ineligible for grants or scholarships to attend the annual TWS conference, we offered three scholarships of our own.

Throughout the year, we developed two initiatives for the 2022 TWS Annual Conference. The first was a workshop on the RAD (Resist-Accept-Direct) decision-making framework, which introduced the concept as an exciting next step to conserve and restore wildlife populations and habitats.

To bring internationally focused, large-scale restoration efforts to the attention of TWS members, we also hosted a panel discussion on the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, urging a greater connection between professional societies, biologists and practitioners in the wildlife and restoration fields. We are also asking TWS Council to make TWS a supporting partner of the UN effort.

Building on these successes, we are updating the working group’s charter to address position transitions on the executive board and recently sent out a corresponding election ballot. 

Following our 2022 initiative, the HRCWG provided two financial awards for members to attend the 2023 conference. The board also developed a member incentive award to reward working group members for their active engagement.

During the Annual Conference, the working group presented the symposium, “Evolving Approaches to Habitat and Ecosystem Restoration: A Wildlife Perspective,” highlighting a wide range of wildlife restoration activities occurring across the country, with topics ranging from Tribal efforts to reintroduce California condors to evaluations of collaborative restoration efforts using emerging technologies. The communication committee was also busy throughout the year. Members fully revamped the working group’s social media presence and webpage and developed an ongoing restoration webinar series.

Thanks to everyone who participated in making 2022 and 2023 so successful. I encourage all TWS members to become active members of a working group. Participation can expand your professional network and enhance your credibility as a professional. The HRCWG is already planning for 2024, so stay tuned for more opportunities.

Header Image: Yurok Wildlife Department Director Tiana Williams-Claussen releases a condor during a training in Big Sur. Credit: Photo courtesy of Chris West/Yurok Wildlife Department