Minnesota student chapters provide exciting new opportunities

These updates originally appear in the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society’s Fall 2019 newsletter. Photos highlighting the student chapter’s activities are also included in the section’s newsletter.

Bemidji State University Student Chapter of TWS

Hands-on experience and involvement in new programs resulted in another busy fall for the Bemidji State Student Chapter. Student chapter co-advisor Dr. Brian Hiller returned from his sabbatical in Australia, and he and Dr. Elizabeth Rave have been joined by new faculty member and co-adviser Dr. Jacob Haus. The student chapter was awarded a nearly $15,000 R3 grant (Recruit, Retain, & Reactivate) to purchase equipment and conduct training/classes in Introductory Waterfowl Hunting and another in Introductory Archery Deer Hunting. Participants can reserve bows and arrows for use in the school forest where the chapter placed tree stands. In addition to the grant, the chapter has been very actively gaining hands-on experience by traveling to Thief Lake WMA to learn waterfowl banding and they recently completed their eighth year of deer spotlight surveys for the City of Bemidji. The data collected are used as part of the archery season goal-setting process by the City Deer Committee.

The student chapter welcomed guest speaker Tony Hewitt, current president of the Minnesota Chapter of TWS, and gained hands-on experience sampling bobcat (Lynx rufus) carcasses with the MNDNR. The chapter also became a member of the Delta Waterfowl “Hunting University” program which encourages wildlife students to learn the basics of waterfowl hunting, gain experience using firearms, and eventually participate in a mentored hunting trip.

University of Minnesota Student Chapter of TWS

The University of Minnesota Student Chapter organized several professional development events for students during the fall semester, including passerine banding at Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory, saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus) banding at Weaver Dunes Field Station and hawk banding with bander Frank Taylor. During the first few weeks of classes, the student chapter organized a graduate student panel to help undergraduate students connect with research projects. They also set up private tours at Como Zoo and the Bell Museum’s Bird Collection. Members recently started assisting with graduate research on urban canids that has given students experience constructing equipment, checking traps and collaring red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) and coyotes (Canis latrans). Additionally, they partnered with other university clubs to arrange field outings for National Public Lands Day and for prairie seed collection. The student chapter is excited to continue investing in early career members through networking, collaborations and skill-building events.

University of Minnesota Crookston Student Chapter of TWS

The University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) Student Chapter members set up a booth at the annual UMC Involvement Expo to recruit students from across campus. They displayed skulls, furs and antlers to entice curious students to visit and learn about student chapter activities. In September, student members experienced the thrill of capturing and banding ducks at Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge. The student chapter also partnered with the UMC Natural Resources Club and took a trip to White Butte, the highest point in North Dakota. Students camped at Sully Creek State Park and explored the area visiting places like Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Burning Coal Vein Campground and Makoshika State Park in Montana. Students also participated in bud-capping white pine seedlings at Itasca State Park on National Public Lands Day. In November, they helped the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources at chronic wasting disease check stations and volunteered at Rydell National Wildlife Refuge to support a deer hunt for the disabled and a Christmas tree cut in December.

Header Image: Red fox (Vulpes vulpes). ©Stan Lupo