The Wildlife Society is committed to the identification and removal of barriers to recruitment, effective mentoring, retention of a diverse workforce, and to communicating with a diverse array of stakeholders. Through ongoing diversity initiatives, TWS has been working with partner organizations and TWS members to develop recommendations for increasing recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups in the wildlife profession. Society members and staff have developed a number of resources and publications to further engage on diversity and inclusion. Staff and members are dedicated to strengthening and supporting diversity efforts within the Society and throughout the wildlife profession. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is emphasized in The Wildlife Society’s guiding documents, including the strategic plan and standing position statement on workforce diversity within the wildlife profession.
If you have any suggestions for how TWS can strengthen our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, please let us know here.
TWS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Vision
In June 2021, The Wildlife Society Council approved a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Vision document to help shape and guide TWS operations. Goals identified in this document were developed through collaborative engagement with diverse TWS stakeholders and relate to the Society’s five-year Strategic Plan. This document provides a foundation for developing future action-based initiatives within the planning framework already established for TWS decision-making.
If you have a tactic or enhancement you would like TWS to consider regarding DEI or would like to contribute to one of our ongoing DEI initiatives, please complete this short survey. Help inform, adjust, improve, and advance our DEI goals.
For more information on TWS’ strategic planning framework, including a detailed sequence of the Annual Operations Plan Process, please see our Strategic Plan.
Access a printer friendly version of the DEI Vision document here.
Get Involved: TWS Communities and Working Groups
The Early Career Professionals Working Group is striving to build a network of people that can communicate about strategies for success in our field. This working group is focused on increasing early career wildlife professional membership and participation in the Society, representing early career professional members of TWS, encouraging peer-to-peer interaction and information flow concerning early career wildlife professionals within and among all levels of TWS, and advocating and providing for professional development opportunities that are relevant and vital to early career wildlife professionals. The working group offers a Professional Development Grant and Certification Scholarship. Click here to learn more.
The Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness Working Group (formerly the Ethnic and Gender Diversity Working Group) promotes the involvement of minorities and women in the wildlife and natural resource professions, especially in areas such as student recruitment, conservation education, and professional development. To expose a broader range of students to natural resource career opportunities, the working group focuses on young students before they have formulated their career paths. Click here to learn more.
The International Wildlife Management Working Group provides a forum for TWS members to network with wildlife professionals from around the world on a wide range of issues pertaining to wildlife management and habitat conservation. The working group provides an opportunity to exchange information with colleagues worldwide and to seek technical assistance from other countries when local expertise is not available. The working group reaches out to wildlife professionals in all areas of the world to offer the collective expertise of The Wildlife Society in an international context. Click here to learn more.
The Native Peoples’ Wildlife Management Working Group promotes improved relationships between state/provincial/federal wildlife managers and tribal wildlife managers through improved communications. The working group provides a forum for tribal and agency wildlife professionals to discuss wildlife management on reservations and aboriginal lands and to share viewpoints on proposed policies affecting wildlife management on those lands. The working group works to enhance wildlife management on and off reservations through joint activities. Click here to learn more.
The goals of Out in the Field are to increase visibility of LGBTQ+ Wildlifers in TWS, build a community of LGBTQ+ Wildlifers, and identify ways to support LGBTQ+ Wildlifers, including students, in the wildlife profession. Out in the Field is a long-term initiative, which was organized by a grassroots group of TWS members. The inaugural event was held in September 2019 at the annual conference as the starting point for conversations among TWS members on achieving the initiative’s goals and building a supportive community for LGBTQ+ members. Click here to learn more.
The Student Development Working Group promotes increased student awareness of TWS membership benefits, works to expand knowledge and technical capabilities of student members, and helps prepare student members for professional wildlife careers. The working group facilitates networking between students and experienced TWS members by hosting meetings, workshops, poster sessions, a mentoring program, and a student chapter leaders’ breakfast. The working group also selects the recipient of The Wildlife Society’s Student Chapter Advisor of the Year Award. Click here to learn more.
TWS Council Diversity Subcommittee
The Diversity Subcommittee is composed of TWS Council members, staff, and members. The subcommittee is appointed annually by the TWS president with stated charges focused on improving and supporting Society diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Subcommittee activities include providing recommendations on Council action, facilitating liaison with TWS working groups, developing strategies for effective coordination among programs and for internal and external outreach, and reviewing TWS bylaws, documents, and correspondence from members and organizational units to report on any revisions. For more information, please contact Jamila Blake.
TWS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Network
The Wildlife Society has identified a clear need for more consistent and effective communication and collaboration throughout TWS to work toward DEI goals. The TWS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Network was established in November 2021 in recognition of the many TWS student chapters, chapters, sections, working groups, communities, and committees developing and driving DEI efforts. Through monthly calls and dedicated communication channels, the network facilitates opportunities to collaborate, support, and learn from each other. For more information, please contact Jamila Blake.
The Women of Wildlife Community was created to promote and support women in the wildlife profession and to provide mentoring opportunities and advice. The steering committee – composed of volunteers housed within the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Awareness Working Group and staff develops symposia and programming, and hosts networking events for local, national, and international meetings. Click here to learn more.
Progress Through Collaboration
The Wildlife Society became a partner organization of the Diversity Joint Venture for Conservation Careers (DJV) in 2017. The DJV – a partnership of federal and state agencies, universities, non-governmental organizations, foundations and professional societies that work together to increase the number of women and people of color in the conservation workforce – works to introduce students and potential employees to the conservation field, provide resources relevant to internships and jobs in the conservation workforce, advise employers about recruitment and hiring practices and support opportunities for career growth and development.
The Native American Research Assistantship Program – developed collaboratively by the U.S. Forest Service, a Premier Partner of TWS, and The Wildlife Society – facilitates opportunities for Native American students to be mentored by USFS Research & Development (R&D) scientists and promotes student advancement and training for careers in natural resource and conservation-related fields. Assistantship participants aid and learn about the USFS’ ecological, science-based approach to decision-making and balancing multiple use management of national forests and grasslands. Assistantships are available for Native American students interested in wildlife and forest resource research and management.
The Wildlife Society is a member organization of the Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM. The Societies Consortium on Sexual Harassment in STEMM is a unique collective act of leadership and accountability to advance excellence in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medical fields (STEMM). The mission and role of the consortium is to set standards of excellence in STEMM fields, requiring high quality research, teaching and practice and high standards of professional and ethical conduct. That is only possible in a community that includes all talent and is actively intolerant of sexual and intersecting bases of harassment. Through a collective effort and investment, the consortium model can develop high-quality resources that benefit from multiple perspectives and national expertise, in a time and cost-efficient manner.
Professional Development and Member Recognition
The Wildlife Society and Native Peoples’ Wildlife Management Working Group of TWS, with support from multiple federal agencies and tribal organizations, implemented a competitive Native Student Professional Development (NSPD) Program to promote the early development of indigenous wildlife professionals. Individuals selected for this program receive grants to help cover registration fees, lodging, meals and transportation to attend and participate in the annual conference. Program participants also receive a one-year membership in TWS and become members of the TWS Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group.
The Diversity Award recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding efforts in promoting diversity in the natural resource-related professions, especially wildlife conservation and education. The award recognizes and honors promotion of and support for diversity in the workforce, academic enrollment, or organizational membership. Recipients are recognized annually during The Wildlife Society’s Annual Conference.
Wildlife Vocalizations are short personal perspectives from people in the field of wildlife sciences. Each featured wildlifer will answer one question that reflects on the past and looks toward the future, providing a voice that shows we are not alone. These stories will be woven together through the common theme of passion, ingenuity, tenacity and perseverance. Wildlife Vocalizations articles are published on wildlife.org and are also available through the eWildifer. Read the latest Wildlife Vocalizations.
The Leadership Institute is an annual course established in 2006 to provide leadership training to a diverse group of 10-15 early-career professionals. Throughout the 6-month program, participants will engage with mentors, work collaboratively to understand a wide array of leadership styles and perspectives, develop stronger written and verbal communication skills and learn how to better navigate the conservation field. The Leadership Institute activities and mentoring relationships will help to prepare participants for leadership positions, both in their workplace and in TWS.
The Wildlife Society is the only organization to provide the peer-reviewed wildlife biologist certification process that bestows the title of Associate Wildlife Biologist® and Certified Wildlife Biologist®. Certification constitutes recognition by TWS that, to its best knowledge, a member meets the minimum educational, experience, and ethical standards adopted by the Society for professional wildlife biologists. The Wildlife Society is proud to be able to support the development and advancement of all wildlife professionals throughout their careers, and the Professional Certification Program is just one of the ways the Society recognizes its members.
Annotated Bibliography: Diversity and Women in Wildlife (developed by the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Awareness Working Group of TWS)
Guidelines for Professional Behavior (developed by the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Awareness Working Group of TWS)
Institutional Biases And Barriers To Women In The Science And Technical Fields: What The Research Tells Us (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 8, Issue 3)
Why diversity matters; broadening our reach will sustain natural resources (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 5, Issue 2)
Lessons learned from life experiences (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 5, Issue 2)
Crossing the cultural divide (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 5, Issue 2)
A sense of belonging; John Robinson helps all feel at home in nature (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 5, Issue 2)
A person of vision; one woman’s quest to engage people with nature (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 5, Issue 2)
I Am One of You: A Gay Wildlife Biologist’s Perspective on Our Profession (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 13, Issue 2)
Out in the Field: A New LGBTQ+ initiative takes shape within The Wildlife Society (The Wildlife Professional, Volume 14, Issue 2)
For more information on The Wildlife Society’s diversity initiatives, please contact:
Jamila Blake, AWB®
Professional Development Manager