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Minnesota Chapter named 2020 TWS Chapter of the Year
The Minnesota Chapter of The Wildlife Society is the 2020 Chapter of the Year.
The chapter “is a respected leader in natural resource issues and is asked to have a seat at the table in numerous forums,” wrote Past President Tony Hewitt, who nominated the chapter.
With 151 regular members, the chapter has established itself as an advocate for wildlife conservation in the state, engaging with other conservation organizations to build collaboration. It hosts a science-focused annual conference and has been increasingly focused on diversity and inclusion. It actively engages in wildlife policy with position statements and technical review documents.
This work has included habitat committees commenting on management activities and plans, such as the state timber harvest analysis, plans to increase timber harvest on wildlife management areas and in support of the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act. The chapter has also applied or become involved on a number of state natural resource committees, including the Tile Drainage Work Group, the DNR Wolf Plan Advisory Committee and the Minnesota Conservation Federation.
“When the issue requires a more long-term, hand-on approach, we have secured grant funding and created traveling displays and activities that generate discussion and further advocacy,” Hewitt wrote. That included its Non-Toxic Work Group presenting at outdoor events to promote nontoxic shot. A 2019 appearance at the Outdoor News Deer and Turkey Show and a demo at the Fergus Falls Gun Club were filmed for a segment for PBS’ “Prairie Sportsman.”
Last year it developed a program to give students hands-on experience in habitat restoration work with various agencies and organizations.
It has recently begun forming a Diversity and Inclusion Committee to encompass its Women in Wildlife group, aid in implementing Out in the Field initiative activities and other activities to promote diversity and inclusion in the wildlife profession. It is also seeking to create a subcommittee on mental health in the conservation profession. It worked with The National Alliance on Mental Illness to develop a mental health workshop for wildlife professionals at its annual meeting.
“We believe that this is crucial in recruiting but more importantly, the retention of all our conservation professionals,” Hewitt wrote.