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 2019 newsletter. The newsletter includes updates from the Western Illinois University, Michigan State University, Ohio State University, and University of Rio Grande Student Chapters of The Wildlife Society. Photos highlighting Student Chapter activities are also included in the Section’s Spring 2019 newsletter. 

Western Illinois University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Western Illinois University Student Chapter of TWS joined with the WIU American Fisheries Society Student Subunit this year to create more opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. Western Illinois University does not offer fisheries or wildlife Bachelor of Science degrees, so membership has been challenging over the past several years on the TWS side. While not large, the combined club is very active with outreach, professional development, and providing field experiences for students at WIU. Student chapter members have had the opportunity to go out with graduate students and experience tracking paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) on the Mississippi River, banding lesser scaup (Aythya affinis) on the Mississippi River, processing bobcats (Lynx rufus), commercial fishing for Asian carp (Cyprinus carpio), electrofishing, and sorting larval fish and macroinvertebrates. Several student chapter members have completed their Firefighter Type 2 trainings and have participated in controlled burns in the local area. The student chapter assisted the Illinois Department of Natural Resources with musky spawning, electrofishing several lakes, FYKE net surveys, tagging lake sturgeon, and spotlight surveys. They recently provided a graduate student panel for biology undergraduates at WIU as well as a C.V./resume workshop for those interested in the fisheries and wildlife fields. The student chapter had a guest speaker in November and has helped with many outreach events: Sun Foundation at the Peoria riverfront, several events at Argyle Lake State Park (Kids Talk, Conservation Day, Lake Exploration Day), WIU Biology Day, and the YMCA Outdoor Show. The student chapter has been represented at multiple conferences over the past year: the 2018 Illinois Chapter of TWS Annual Meeting, 2018 American Society of Mammalogists Annual Meeting, 2018 AFS Annual Conference, 2018 TWS Annual Conference, 2019 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, 2019 Illinois Chapter of AFS Annual Conference, and the WIU Graduate Student Conference. The student chapter remains active and has several more exciting activities planned including an Asian carp cookout.

Michigan State University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Michigan State University Student Chapter of TWS conducted many workshops on topics from the use of camera traps to land navigation and even the USA Jobs website. Outreach events included science nights at Beagle Elementary School and Marble Elementary School, as well as Darwin Day at the MSU Museum and a lake assessment alongside a local lake association. The student chapter hosted their annual campus-wide Red Cedar River Clean-Up this past fall, removing 31 bikes, an air conditioner unit, and a bench from the river. Also, on April 14th, they conducted their Spring Clean-Up at a MSU natural area alongside other student organizations and the community. The student chapter sent eight students to the 2019 Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference and nine students to the Joint Conference of the Michigan Chapter of TWS and AFS. They were able to keep all of their students’ individual costs below $85 for each trip with their fundraising and support from other organizations, including a very successful raffle hosted with the Lake Superior State University Student Chapter of TWS at the Michigan Chapter of TWS annual meeting. The student chapter also had a few meetings just for fun, including owl calling at a local state game area, ice fishing during free fishing weekend, camping at the Manistee National Forest, a BioBlitz at a bird sanctuary, a trip to the wildlife ward of the university’s veterinary medical venter, and bird box building at a new MSU ecological research center. In fact, the student chapter is now building bird boxes to sell for fundraising and will be posting more information on their Facebook page. The student chapter would like to thank everyone who has helped this past academic year. They look forward to continuing to further conservation and the development of the next generation of fisheries and wildlife professionals!

Ohio State University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Ohio State University Student Chapter of TWS had a great semester. Their members attended a boating license certification class, a chainsaw use certification class, and CPR training. At some of their meetings, they provided a resume building workshop, hosted an ODNR wildlife officer to talk about his career pathway, and a had a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee present on hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis). The student chapter gained many new members and added to their revenue stream through a bake sale fundraiser. They collaborated with the Forestry Forum, another Ohio State student organization, by camping in Monticello, Kentucky and hiking in Daniel Boone National Forest. Members had the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the Columbus Zoo Aquarium and even got to pet a koala! The student chapter had an aquatics day at the Ohio State wetlands facility where they went seine netting for darters and hogsuckers and learned about the different stations for their upcoming Passport to Fishing Event.

University of Rio Grande Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The University of Rio Grande Student Chapter of TWS put on two successful fall fundraising events. They worked the sorghum syrup booth at the 48th annual Bob Evans Farm Festival. Using a labor-intensive method, sorghum cane was crushed to produce the juice using a mill that was literally driven by horsepower (as in one horse). They then boiled the juice down — about a two-hour process — to make the sorghum syrup (seven gallons of juice produce one gallon of syrup). Their other fundraiser was selling wildlife calendars for the fourth year in a row. More than 70 photos submitted by faculty and student chapter members were voted on by student chapter members for inclusion in the calendar. Funds raised were, in part, used to pay for registrations and gas stipends for members to attend the Ohio Wildlife Management Conference and the Ohio Natural History Conference. Many student chapter members participated in a September salamander survey on newly acquired university property. The student chapter also hosted the Ohio Chapter of TWS student workshop that concluded with a check of southern flying squirrel (Glaucomys volans) boxes at the Rio site in September. Spring invasive shrub clearing is underway at a local farm, where last year, 50 bluebird boxes were installed and monitored. The student chapter plans to take field trips to visit The Wilds and observe spring emergence of timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) outfitted with radio transmitters.

Header Image: Spotted salamander (Ambystoma maculatum) ©Peter Paplanus