Here’s what’s happening in the North Central Section: Part 3

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 Missouri Western State University, Northland College and Purdue University Student Chapters of The Wildlife Society. Photos highlighting student chapter activities are also included in the section’s Spring 2021 newsletter.

Student Chapter Reports:

Missouri Western State University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Despite the pandemic, The Missouri Western State University Student Chapter of TWS was able to increase their student chapter membership and engagement this past spring. Their executive board made sure the student chapter stayed busy with events and guest speakers, while still keeping all of their members safe and healthy in this dire time. However, they had to adapt to the new situation by making some changes to how they usually operate. The majority of the chapter’s guest speakers were via Zoom, which provided an unintended benefit — more people who previously wouldn’t have been able to travel so far were able to interact with the student chapter. This was also beneficial at the annual conferences they attended, like the Missouri National Resources Conference and the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference. The student chapter made the best out of the hand they were dealt, and they were able to attend both of these events virtually. Even though the student chapter is continuing to work online, the members were still able to gain valuable hands-on experience. For example, the student chapter had workdays with the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) on their campus to assist with mulching trails and restoring the on-campus prairie. They were also fortunate enough to have two deer aging stations for the MDC’s Age of Harvest report. The student chapter members participated in Stream Team workdays with faculty and traveled to Loess Bluffs National Wildlife Refuge to have workdays there as well. On top of that, they received the 2020 North Central Section Student Chapter of the Year Award. This is an amazing accomplishment for the chapter and its wildlife program!

Northland College Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Northland College Student Chapter of TWS has continued to hold biweekly meetings throughout the semester. Chapter leaders started planning weekly birding trips in March as a way to practice identifying the many migrating species that stop to refuel at local lakes and parks. Highlight species have included trumpeter swans, northern shovelers, kinglets, brown creepers and yellow-rumped warblers. The student chapter also demonstrated to its members how to set up and maintain trail cameras, and they provided funding for members to attend the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Chapter of The Wildlife Society. For their annual fundraiser, membership learned how to make and sell plaster casts of animal tracks. Recently, the student chapter began conducting phenology surveys for the Wisconsin Frog and Toad Survey. These surveys have generated quite a bit of excitement among the members, and students will continue to identify frog calls and record weather data throughout the summer. At the end of April, the student chapter members practiced using radio telemetry equipment at the Maxwell Property near Ashland, Wisconsin. Currently, they are working on a creative video project to introduce incoming freshmen to TWS before they arrive on campus this fall. Recently, they elected four new officers for 2021-2022: Destiney Elder-Hall (President), Josh Kolasch (Vice President), Alison Hart (Treasurer), and Will Anderson (Secretary). The chapter has had many delightful moments this year despite the challenges the pandemic has thrown at them, and they are excited to see what the students will accomplish next year!

Purdue University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Purdue University Student Chapter of TWS has had a busy spring semester with nearly 30 activities. Many guest speakers spoke to the student chapter about a variety of topics including research and education in museums, disease ecology, urban wildlife and conservation. One of the highlights was a workshop on field safety and survival led by Merav Ben-David and Liz Flaherty, and co-hosted by the Purdue and University of Wyoming Student Chapters of TWS. The student chapter working groups provided opportunities for members to get into the field and learn hands-on. The chapter’s Birds Working Group hosted banding sessions and bird walks to learn identification. The Mammals Working Group surveyed the condition of flying squirrel boxes at Martell Forest to prepare for an upcoming project monitoring use of the boxes. The Herps Working Group toured the hellbender and ecotoxicology labs, went herping, and set up remote cameras at the Purdue Wildlife Area to monitor spring movements of herps. The Hunting Working Group built and installed six wood duck boxes at the Purdue Wildlife Area with plans to continue monitoring the boxes. They also co-hosted an activity with the Archery Club and hosted a hike for members to learn how to identify edible plants and fungi. The student chapter wrapped up the semester with elections and a social during the week before finals. Be sure to check them out on Facebook (linked above) and Instagram to stay up to date with the Purdue’s chapter.

Header Image: A salamander amongst the leaves. Credit: Marco Verch