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Meet the Candidates: TWS 2015 Elections
The Wildlife Society announces candidates for positions on TWS Council. Electronic ballots will be sent in May to all members with an email address. If you do not have an email address, you will receive a mail ballot. Newly elected members of TWS Council will be installed at the 22nd Annual Conference, October 17-21, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Candidate statements are provided below. You can also view all candidates’ bios by clicking here.
Vice President Nominees
Selma N. Glasscock
My involvement with TWS at the state, section and national levels has given me a clear perspective of what memberships can accomplish. I’ve served on executive boards at the state and section levels, and assisted in development of successful recruitment and professional development programs such as TWS’s national Women of Wildlife network and the Texas Wildlife Conservation Camp and Early Career Professional programs. These programs provide countless opportunities for member engagement, professional development, and inclusion – needs outlined in TWS’s 2015-2019 Strategic Plan and The Future of the Wildlife Profession report.
Achieving The Wildlife Society’s mission requires a firm dedication to providing sound science and fiscal responsibility, engaging membership in societal affairs, building collaborative partnerships with like-minded organizations, providing quality professional development programs, and recruiting diversity into our ranks. Fundamentally, the future of our wildlife resources is dependent on a well-trained, diverse workforce of wildlife professionals. The reports referenced above outline gaps in recruitment and professional development that need addressing. It should not be the sole responsibilities of universities to provide recruitment nor the broad compendium of lifetime skills necessary for resource professionals. We must rely on our professional societies to close these gaps. If elected, I will use my experience to enrich TWS’s existing programs and activities and diminish existing gaps.
I am honored to be nominated for the office of vice president, and I look forward to the opportunity to promote The Wildlife Society as the premier organization in providing “Excellence in Wildlife Stewardship through Science and Education”.
John E. McDonald
My vision for The Wildlife Society is for its members to be recognized by the public and policy makers as the preeminent authorities on wildlife science and management. A corollary to that vision is that membership in The Wildlife Society is highly valued and sought after by everyone engaged in the wildlife profession.
My first connections to the profession were as a teenage hunter and trapper in rural Pennsylvania, but I’ve been a member of TWS since I was a freshman in college. My advisor told me that joining the society was a step I could take to immediately start on the path toward being a professional; that was good advice. Since then, I have witnessed many changes in our Society. Some have involved the diversity of the issues with which we engage; another has been the welcome increase in the diversity of people engaged in the profession. During my career I’ve worked for a state wildlife agency, a federal agency, and a couple of universities and have firsthand experience with many of the issues confronting our members across the spectrum of career paths. As an officer at the Chapter, Section, and National levels, as well as having been a student chapter advisor and created a student field course through the Northeast Section, I am proud to have perhaps been a mentor to some new professionals and I have certainly been inspired by new and seasoned professionals alike.
I believe TWS needs to be more visible to the public on the wildlife and natural resource issues that society values. Our members, at all levels, are the knowledge leaders on so many questions of concern to society, dealing with both basic and applied conservation science, and yet very rarely is their affiliation with the professional society, or even the wildlife profession itself, acknowledged when they are quoted or cited in the media. Similarly, the excellent research published in our journals, which is used to make decisions on managing everything from local natural areas to endangered species, gets too little visibility for the on the ground impact it has. That visibility needs to be driven from the top with the President, Executive Director, and other senior staff and officers vigorously promoting the work that our members do on behalf of wildlife and conservation in general. This is not advocacy, but simply fulfilling the core of our Society’s vision and mission statements. I am well aware that the leadership of our Society entails a lot of hard work and believe I have the experience and knowledge to be an effective leader on your behalf.
Canadian Section Representative Nominees
Arthur R. Rodgers
For over 75 years, The Wildlife Society has been the preeminent organization for wildlife professionals across North America, and Canadians have long participated and contributed to TWS affairs. Lately, we have had an exceptional opportunity to influence both TWS decisions and policy as two prominent Canadians, Wini Kessler and Rick Baydack, have moved through the office of TWS President. Working with them and other members of TWS Executive and Council through some difficult times has given me a deep understanding of the operations of the organization, the exceptional commitment and passion of those involved, what we need to do to continue to grow and serve our members, and greater insight into where and how Canadians can contribute.
With the support of the parent Society, the Canadian Section continues to flourish, as do our Provincial and Student Chapters. However, there is still considerable room to grow and expand both gender and cultural diversity across the organization and this is an area where Canadians, living in one of the most diverse countries in the world, have much to offer. To do this, we need to ensure the continued participation of Canadians in all aspects of TWS affairs and that Canadians are recognized for their outstanding contributions to the wildlife profession at all levels. We need to tell our story to the world. It has been an honour to serve as your representative to TWS Council and if re-elected I will do my best to ensure our Canadian “voice” continues to be heard.
Southeastern Section Representative Nominees
During the past two decades, I have witnessed many changes in The Wildlife Society. Student involvement in TWS has increased tremendously; approximately half of attendees at the 2014 Conference were students! The motivation and intelligence of these students suggest that the continued and fervent efforts to conserve our wildlife resources are assured. As your section representative, I will work diligently to maintain and enhance student involvement in TWS activities.
The Wildlife Society has continued to adapt, fulfilling its mission of representing and serving those who lead the charge conserving wildlife and their habitat. This is accomplished by understanding needs of students, managers, scientists, and policy makers. Because I believe that meeting the challenges faced by our membership is crucial for both conserving and restoring our natural resources, I will be attentive to needs of wildlife professionals and will strive to ensure TWS effectively meets those needs.
As TWS continues its role as a leader in wildlife conservation, my greatest concern is ensuring TWS is viewed as an essential resource for all student and professional wildlife biologists. Understanding that the strength of TWS emanates from its membership and that many Chapter members are not members of TWS, if elected, I will encourage membership at all levels of TWS by listening to our membership, working to address concerns and opportunities, and promoting open lines of communication between subunits and TWS. Finally, if elected, I will be honored to serve The Wildlife Society by representing Section membership to the best of my abilities.
Emily Jo “EJ” Williams
I believe in The Wildlife Society as the professional forum, voice, and foundation necessary to ensure that wildlife conservation is valued and relevant. I believe that we should be bold in our approaches to conservation challenges based on our commitment to sound science, unwavering ethical standards, and the highest professional credentials. I support the North American Model as a foundational aspect of our profession that should be challenged to evolve and advance as necessary to move us into the future of conservation.
I will work to ensure that the full spectrum of diversity of professionals is engaged in TWS and that all voices have a place in our work and decisions. Involvement in TWS has been critical to my professional growth, success, and fulfillment, and I am honored by the opportunity to serve our professional society and members.
Southwest Section Representative Nominees
I have lived and worked in the Southwest for about 25 years, and the wild lands and wildlife of this area are near and dear to my heart. The world of wildlife management and research is comprised of a relatively small, close-knit group of very dedicated people. Through my many years of working across the Southwest, and through my involvement in TWS, I have gotten to know many of these people well. They care deeply about wildlife resources. They work long hours. They do good things for wildlife. They need someone who knows the issues in the southwest to speak up at the national level; to be their voice to TWS leadership. They also need to hear back from leadership. I believe I can do this and do it well.
I would focus on better communication between scientists and managers. I have a long-time interest in improving communication between these two groups and I believe that TWS has a large role to play in this endeavor.
Another top issue for me is involving youth and minorities in conservation and science. We need more young people, from diverse backgrounds, to engage in conservation and to pursue careers in wildlife research and management.
An issue that I care deeply about is rapidly accelerating climate change. Anyone who lives in the southwest has seen and felt the changes – hotter and drier, with more intense weather events. I would keep this issue in the limelight while working with national, section and the state chapters.
Rarely do we appreciate an experience during the present. Appreciation generally occurs many years later, after some time has passed, and we can evaluate life retrospectively. Such was my experience regarding professional service. I have been involved with the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society and our parent society since a student, nearly 20 years ago, and this involvement has continued through my professional career. I have served as Committee Chair of numerous state and national committees and as President and officer for the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society. The primary impetus for my initial involvement arose as service to my profession. I never realized, however, that in addition to serving our profession there was an added value to professional involvement—leading by example.
As professors or mentors of young professionals, we often encourage their involvement in our profession. We preach on the value and benefits of professional involvement. Being an effective mentor, however, is more than educating. It also is leading by example. Today, I remain active not only for professional service but also to hopefully inspire the young professionals in my sphere of influence to do the same. The growth and prosperity of our profession requires the involvement of all, from the incipient to the seasoned. I value the opportunity to represent our society as the Southwest Section Representative and hope others are inspired to join our effort.