Florida student chapter is full steam ahead

The University of Florida Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society has experienced a sea of change during the 2018/2019 school year, under the leadership of its new president, Joanna Ennis, and its officers (Vice Presidents Anna Swigris and Adrian Dougherty, Secretary Xenabeth Lazaro, Treasurer Annalyse Williams, Education Outreach Officers Izzy Garcia and Marina Tsongranis, Historian Katherine Schultz, and Conclave Coordinator Sarah Teman). The student chapter already had several meaningful projects underway when Joanna and the new board of officers took the reins, such as: U.S. Geological Survey manatee health checks, alligator handling certification, various tabling events, guest speakers, numerous outreach events at middle schools, Florida Chapter of TWS meetings, resume workshops, Kids in the Woods volunteering, mentor/mentee mixers and the Beast Feast (an annual game dinner that typically brings in 300 people).

UF’s student chapter’s new leadership has worked very hard to offer new experiences and has hugely increased participation. New 2018 improvements were: a deer aging and Boone & Crockett scoring workshop, a hunter safety course, a firearm skills day, a shooting sports field day, women-mentored deer hunts, a holiday toys and goods drive for Hurricane Michael victims, UF’s first ever field trip to Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and securing full funding from the UF Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Department for six students to attend The Wildlife Society’s Annual Conference in Cleveland.

Members are very excited about the newly instituted events coming up in spring, including an in-depth radio telemetry field day, chainsaw certification and fire certifications (S-130 and S-190), another Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy field trip, an electrofishing and seining workshop and tabling at the Flatwoods Fire Festival. They’re very excited for the $2,000 Florida Fish & Wildlife Foundation grant. The grant will go to promote “Gators, Gals, and Guns,” an event that exposes 30 women with no firearms experience to the shooting sports. The participants of “Gators, Gals, and Guns” will compete in skeet, trap, and archery competitions.

Great things are happening at the University of Florida’s student chapter of TWS. If you live in the area, consider joining them for Beast Feast on February 23. You may also follow the student chapter on Facebook.

Sarah Teman, Christine Krebs, Adrian Dougherty and Joanna Ennis were selected to participate in the annual U.S. Geological Survey manatee health checks. The student chapter participates in these surveys every semester, which offer an incredible opportunity for students to learn hands-on marine mammal capture work. Courtesy of Joanna Ennis.

Joanna Ennis teaches members about firearm handling and operation before the live fire demonstration for the firearms skills day hunter safety class. Courtesy of Joanna Ennis.

The University of Florida Student Chapter had its first trip to a TWS Annual Conference. Xenabeth Lazaro, Isabella Plummer, Carly Fankhauser, Joanna Ennis, Katherine Shultz and Carly Randazzo were fully funded by the Eric Hellgren, the Wildlife Ecology and Conservation department head and a TWS member. ©UF Student Chapter of TWS

Header Image: Members of the University of Florida student chapter of TWS share their thoughts on the chapter and organization. ©UF Student Chapter of TWS