Lethbridge Student Chapter bounces back

By Nala Rogers

For an early hands-on project, the reinstated Lethbridge student chapter is planning to track pheasants through an urban landscape. ©Martyn Fletcher

After a two-year hiatus, The Wildlife Society’s Lethbridge Student Chapter is back on track.

“The students are ready and willing to take up the challenges, and looking forward to reestablishing themselves as an important student chapter in Canada,” said Brad Taylor, who is taking on the role of faculty advisor for the chapter as he begins a new position as an instructor in Lethbridge College’s Environmental Sciences Program.

Alberta’s Lethbridge student chapter has a rich history. Taylor served as student chapter president when he attended the college at the turn of the 21st century, and he vividly remembers helping local wildlife professionals trap bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) with a drop net. He says such experiences inspired him and gave him the practical skills he needed to excel.

The student chapter continued strong until 2013, then hit a snag when the former faculty advisor left the college. In the leadership vacuum, no one realized until too late that they had neglected to hold chapter elections to put a new board in place for the fall term, so the chapter officially dissolved. But students and faculty at Lethbridge maintained their passion for wildlife, and, in 2013, they came together to relaunch the chapter.

Last spring, Taylor met with collaborating faculty members and with the students who will serve as president and vice president of the chapter. He looks forward to helping the students gain hands-on experience, and he is already planning a project in which they will place transmitters on ring-necked pheasants (Phasianus colchicus) and track the birds’ movements through an urban landscape.

“Those field skills are so critical,” he said. “It’s helped me in my career, and I just want to give back and try to help those students do the best that they can and get as much experience as they can.”

There are currently 137 TWS student chapters. Learn more about them as well as ongoing student efforts to study and manage wildlife.

Nala Rogers is a science writer at The Wildlife Society. Contact her at nrogers@wildlife.org with any questions or comments about her article.

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