First TWS student chapter outside North America established in Norway

By Claire Crow

Left to Right: David C. (charter member), Darwin M. (Founder), Aslak G. (charter member), Cecilia M. (charter member), Paige H. (Founder), Emma D. (charter member), and Nadine C. (charter member). Not pictured are: Scott Brainerd (Faculty Advisor), Jon Swenson (TWS Liaison), Line K. (charter member), Erik V. (charter member), and Roy D. (charter member). Credit: Darwin Mayhew

Two U.S. graduate students at Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences have established the first TWS student chapter outside of North America.

With charter documents filed, the INN University chapter will soon be officially registered. The group’s first meeting is scheduled for this month.

The chapter is motivated to provide career support and growth opportunities for its members and build a good reputation with students and early career professionals. Their initial objectives are recruiting members, increasing awareness of The Wildlife Society among students and faculty on campus, and informing students about the activities, support and benefits the chapter can provide them.

“I hope one of the main draws for students will be our speakers and our focus on practical skills, seminars and field trips,” said Hellbaum, one of the students that launched the chapter along with Darwin Mayhew. Their tentative schedule includes speakers lined up for monthly meetings.

Members are interested in sharing their birding, plant identification, camera trapping and other expertise with the rest of the chapter. The group plans to attend the International Union of Game Biologists conference scheduled for Budapest in September, if the COVID-19 situation permits. “We also hope to collaborate with established European student initiatives and citizen science networks,” Hellbaum said.

International collaboration in wildlife management and conservation is important, Hellbaum said, because wildlife, zoonotic diseases and habitat do not heed geopolitical boundaries. Coming to Norway for graduate studies, Hellbaum was surprised to find not only many of the same species, but many of the same conversations about — and conflicts with — wildlife.

Hellbaum’s research will focus on moose that winter in Sweden and summer in Norway. With members from Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway and the U.S., the new student chapter is sure to encourage international networking and exchange.

This is an exciting development in TWS; it is encouraging to know that student chapters may be formed in countries outside of North America.

Parties interested in starting a new student chapter should see the template Petition to Form Student Chapter and model Bylaws document at https://wildlife.org/next-generation/student-chapters/resources/, and contact Mariah Beyers at msimmons@wildlife.org.


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