Members discuss range of issues at annual meeting

Digging into the TWS archives, Southeastern Section Representative Mike Conner discovered that back in 1938, membership dues were $5. That may not sound like much now, but adjusted for inflation, that comes to $85.60 — a hair over today’s $83 dues.

“We have not even kept up with inflation,” said TWS President John McDonald, as he opened the membership meeting, noting the society’s sound finances.

“Not only did we have a great year,” TWS CEO Ed Thompson told members, “but your society is on very stable financial ground and we want to thank all of you for your participation in that.”

Because over 1,000 members — or 10 percent of the organization — would have to be present to have a quorum, no business requiring a motion could be included. But members discussed a variety of issues, including changing the quorum requirements for future meetings. One suggestion was allowing proxies to vote on behalf of members who couldn’t attend.

Samara Trusso, secretary of the Pennsylvania Chapter, suggested allowing allegations of ethical violations by certified wildlife biologists to be made confidentially to TWS.

“Clearly if you’re in a position where somebody is your boss, or your boss’ boss, and you think they were not behaving ethically, they can step on your neck,” she said.

Other issues involved how decisions involving use of the Council-controlled Permanent Reserve fund are made, university recruitment strategies, the future of the TWS policy internship program, annual conference scheduling and policy priorities.

“We’re seeing major cuts in federal programs that affect wildlife,” said member and past-president Tom Franklin. “We’re seeing proposals to reduce the size of federal lands and even partly sell off federal lands. We’re seeing attacks on clean air and clean water — a whole range of issues that affect our everyday work on things we care about.”

“In this political environment, we are trying to recognize what are capabilities are as a relatively small, specialized organization and pick our battles where we can,” McDonald said, “where we have expertise and where we can actually lead something.”

Council also recognized Duke Energy as a Leading Sponsor and handed out the following awards:

Chapter of the Year: California Central Coast Chapter

Student Chapter of the Year: Texas A&M University – Kingsville Chapter

Student Chapter Advisor of the Year: Carol Bocetti