North Central Section happenings: Part 1

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.

Southern Illinois University Student Chapter of TWS

The Southern Illinois Student Chapter was busy even before the fall semester began. Over the summer, members helped the IDNR band geese at the Du Quoin State Fairgrounds and Kinkaid Lake. During the semester, guest speakers included Scott Ballard, a herpetologist from IDNR, who also brought in a few rescued reptiles and amphibians, and Cassandra Skaggs, a National Wildlife Refuge specialist from Crab Orchard NWR. Members traveled to Snake Road in LaRue Pine Hills of Southern Illinois to experience the snake migration. Eight members also camped out in Kentucky, visited Mammoth Cave National Park, and toured. Workshops included outdoor photography with grad students John O’Connell and Jess Esposito and invasive species removal at Touch of Nature, a local environmental center.

Western Illinois University Student Chapter of TWS

The Western Illinois University (WIU) Student Chapter started the fall semester by expanding their outreach to undergraduates and presenting to the public on wildlife and wildlife careers at “Event on the Square” in downtown Macomb. The student chapter partnered with the WIU fisheries chapter to host an invasive carp fish fry for the public. Later in the semester, they held a fecal sedimentation workshop for members interested in learning about disease ecology. Additionally, Ben Craddock hosted a plant identification workshop to teach students about how vegetation impacts wildlife habitat. Five new members had the opportunity to learn and practice telemetry while volunteering on a flying squirrel project at the Kibbe Biological Life Sciences research station in Warsaw, Illinois. Several undergraduate members look forward to attending the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in late January.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Student Chapter of TWS

The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Student Chapter held their first introductory meeting of the semester in early September for new members to learn about the organization, meet the executive board, and brainstorm future event ideas. Students took field trips to the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy Annual River Cleanup, a snake survey at Vermillion River Observatory in Danville, Illinois, and a sunset hike around the University of Illinois Arboretum to learn more about the wildlife on campus. General meetings included a presentation from a postdoctoral student from the Illinois Natural History Survey, who taught members about snake ecology and how to get into wildlife research, and a presentation from a Ph.D. student researching interactions between birds and invasive plants. In November, members participated in a bird walk through Busey Woods and learned how to spot and identify birds in addition to using camera traps for a mammal study with the Illinois Natural History Survey. The student chapter hopes to take members to the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference and to continue providing hands-on wildlife research training.

Header Image: Northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis). ©Dennis Church