Here’s what’s happening in the North Central Section: Part 2

Below is a summary of recent student chapter activities within the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society, which was included in the section’s Spring 2021 newsletter. The newsletter includes updates from the Ball State University, Central Michigan University and Minnesota State University Moorhead Student Chapters of The Wildlife Society. Photos highlighting student chapter activities are also included in the Section’s Spring 2021 newsletter.

Student Chapter Reports:

Ball State University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

This semester, the Ball State University Student Chapter of TWS has continued to engage their members while sticking to a virtual setting. Their annual Pet Night, which kicks off the semester, even went virtual this year. It wasn’t quite the same without as many furry, scaly and feathered friends running, slithering, or flying around their classroom. But seeing pets pop their heads into the screen on Zoom to say hello was exciting. Early in the semester, the student chapter focused on emphasizing professional development for their members. They held both of their annual professional development events — CV Night and Internship Night — virtually during February. During these events, members learned about wildlife internships and where to find them, as well as what a CV is and how to make theirs stand out. In March, the chapter held its 2021-2022 officer elections. The student chapter had members run for each position, and they used the remaining few weeks of the semester to train each new officer on their new roles. During the last few weeks of the semester, they hosted a socially distanced nature hike with their local land conservancy. They also hosted guest speaker Joanna Scott from Carmel-Clay Parks & Recreation, who discussed her journey as a wildlife professional in natural resources management with the student chapter. As the chapter reflects on the year, they are content with what they have been able to accomplish in such unprecedented times. But, the student chapter is more than excited to return to interacting with their members in person in the fall!

Central Michigan University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Central Michigan University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society is a strong advocate for the conservation and preservation of the outdoors and wildlife. The student chapter provides many volunteer opportunities for its members, including invasive species removal sessions with the Chippewa Watershed Conservancy (CWC). Volunteering with the CWC has allowed members to learn basic techniques for removing autumn olive and offered valuable hands-on field experience on managing invasive species. The student chapter has also made trips to the Association to Rescue Kritters (A.R.K.) in St. Helen, a wildlife rehabilitation facility that’s mission is to release injured animals back into the wild. Volunteering at the A.R.K. has been an educational experience for their members and has provided many opportunities to learn about Michigan’s native wildlife. The student chapter plans to continue volunteering with the CWC and the A.R.K. in the upcoming fall semester, as well as visit the Wildlife Recovery Association (WRA), which focuses on rehabilitating birds of prey and providing educational outreach programs. Through these various activities, the student chapter has inspired many members to become more vocal and passionate about wildlife issues and encouraged them to take action to better protect and preserve Michigan’s wildlife

Minnesota State University Moorhead Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

During the 2020-2021 academic year, the Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) Student Chapter of TWS’ activities were somewhat limited due to COVID-19, as was the case with many other TWS student chapters, but many of their projects were successful. In April 2021, their members presented posters at the MSUM Student Academic Conference on the following topics: painted turtle ecology, the effects of excess nutrients on prairie plant species, the progress of a new prairie restoration, and a monarch butterfly die-off that occurred in the Fargo-Moorhead area due to aerial spraying for mosquitoes. These presentations allowed their members to share their research in a formal setting and prepared them for future endeavors. In April through May 2021, the student chapter members participated in an ongoing research project by performing Canadian goose population counts and egg addling at the American Crystal Sugar factory in Moorhead, Minn. In May 2020, a pollinator garden was planted on their campus. The student chapter members grew native prairie plants from seed in their greenhouse throughout the school year which were then transferred and planted in the garden in May. This project will help local populations of pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds.

Header Image: A Dark-eyed Junco perched on a branch. Credit: Alex Ranaldi