Policy Toolkit Introduction

The mission of The Wildlife Society is to inspire, empower, and enable wildlife professionals to sustain wildlife populations and habitats through science-based management and conservation.  The Society works toward that mission, in part, by engaging in the policy arena to ensure wildlife-related policies enacted by governmental agencies and legislatures are scientifically-based and further the wildlife profession’s objective of conservation.

The Wildlife Society has long been engaged in the policy arena.  TWS Bylaws were revised in 1957 to permit Council the authority to develop resolutions on wildlife policy concerns.  Staff at TWS has been involved in tracking wildlife legislation at the federal level since 1972.  The membership approved the hiring of the Society’s first Policy Director in 1991.  These actions laid the foundation for what has now become the Government Affairs & Partnership department.

The Government Affairs & Partnership program has a primary objective of ensuring that wildlife professionals and the knowledge they provide, play an active role in the formation of wildlife management and conservation policies, laws, and regulations, thereby ensuring that these are scientifically-based and practical.  Part of the process for achieving this goal is engaging our membership in policy issues – at the national, regional, and local scales.

Policy activities and initiatives pursued by TWS and our members are grounded in wildlife science.  We utilize the vast scientific knowledge and expertise within our membership to write letters, submit comments, and otherwise advocate on behalf of all wildlife professionals and advance the goal of the wildlife profession – the conservation of our wildlife resources.

This policy toolkit is intended to provide our TWS members, and in particular those engaged within the Conservation Affairs Network, with some guidance and knowledge regarding policy advocacy.  With this understanding, our members will be better able to engage in the policy arena and do their part to advance the mission of TWS.

It is our hope to periodically add to and revise the information in this document to make it most useful to our membership.  If you have suggestions for content, or any questions about engaging in policy activities with your TWS Chapter or Section, please contact:

This toolkit will provide you with a basic knowledge of the policy process and advocacy techniques to ensure you are ready to effectively engage and make the voice of wildlife professionals heard.

For more information regarding the Conservation Affairs Network or the TWS Policy Toolkit, contact:

Keith Norris, AWB®

Assistant Director of Government Affairs & Partnerships


(301)897-9770 ext 309

Several sections of this guide were largely adapted from the CHADD Advocacy Manual, with perspectives from TWS Government Affairs & Partnerships staff and multiple other sources.

Suggested additional resources on engaging in policy:

The Non-profit Lobbying Guide, 2nd Edition

Introduction pdf