North Central Section happenings – Part 3

This article originally appears in the North Central Section of The Wildlife Society’s Fall 2018 newsletter. The newsletter includes updates from the Central Michigan University, Michigan State University, Northland College, and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point student chapters of The Wildlife Society. Photos of student chapter activities are included in the newsletter.

Central Michigan University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Submitted by Aaron Parsons, Student Chapter President

The Central Michigan Student Chapter has grown significantly, with over twice last year’s membership. Meetings have been full of activities, ranging from teaching about the recovery of wild turkeys in Michigan and facts about owls, to modern trapping and how conservation is important to maintaining a healthy balance in nature. Members learned about a variety of traps, how they function and what types of animals could be captured with them. The student chapter talked about the importance of CITES (Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species) tags and how this act protects from poaching by making sure game is legally harvested. Members have crafted in meetings, such as sewing fur together by hand and making ornaments out of natural items like pinecones and acorns. The student chapter really likes to play quiz games on Kahoot about wildlife and other related questions.

Members volunteer at the Wildlife Recovery Association, which specializes in birds of prey rehabilitation and education. Participants are supervised by experts and shown how to properly hold birds of prey and perform cleanup of the areas. In the spring there are plans to hold an educational bird of prey show at the university, along with cleanup at the site where the birds are housed. Joe and Barb, who run the association, are full of knowledge and love to pass it on to the next generation. Every time students visit they return to school with a wealth of information to pass on. A former student chapter member is now a graduate student and works with them on her master’s thesis. 

The student chapter holds an annual camping trip, also called the wolf howling trip. This year, participants traveled to the Upper Peninsula of Northern Michigan, deep in the Hiawatha National Forest. They camped for two nights and explored many exciting places. On Saturday students visited Big Spring (Kitch-iti-kipi), Michigan’s largest spring, and visited Pictured Rocks shoreline and five waterfalls. Members showed a lot of interest in trapping, so 11 students visited the Kawkawlin flooding area where Aaron Parsons, Student Chapter President, had done beaver and muskrat trapping. Students enjoyed exploring where the beavers had cut down trees and dragged them to the swamp to store for winter food. Some of the huts could be approached to see how they were constructed. Traps had been set the night before, and one beaver and two muskrats were harvested. 

Michigan State University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Submitted by Audrey Boike, Student Chapter Secretary

The Michigan State University Student Chapter had a busy fall semester. One of the first activities was a camera-trapping workshop, where students learned the functioning and use of remote camera traps in the field, followed by hands-on experience of properly setting up a camera. Another exciting meeting was an invasive crayfish workshop, where students learned about the impact of invasive crayfish on Michigan’s native species in the Red Cedar River. Students got into the river, learned how to properly catch and handle crayfish, and learned identification of native versus invasive crayfish. The student chapter also held a BioBlitz competition in a woodlot on campus, where teams of students and faculty recorded all species observed in the area. They hope to continue this event to obtain multiyear data on species in this area of campus. Several other workshops took place, including navigation training and a USAjobs seminar.

The student chapter has also gone on several trips to local research and management organizations. Members visited Burke Lake Banding Station, a local bird banding station where students learned about bird biology, behavior, migration and disease research and how to properly collect data on passerines. They also visited an arctic grayling research facility, where students learned about reintroduction of native grayling into Michigan’s streams. Lastly, the student chapter visited the Wolf Lake DNR Fish Hatchery where participants toured the facility, learned about its operations, infectious aquatic animal diseases and hatchery health audits.

The student chapter also held their biannual Red Cedar River Clean Up, an event where members works together with other student organizations and the public to pull trash out of the river that runs through campus. This year, they pulled out 31 bikes, a microwave and an air conditioning unit.

Northland College Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Submitted by Abby Keller, Student Chapter President

The Northland College Student Chapter has been busy providing students with experiences and knowledge within the field of wildlife research and conservation. The chapter had several guest lecturers, such as former student chapter member Jordyn O’Gara of the Timber Wolf Alliance, who gave a wonderful presentation about the status and methods of wildlife management of the gray wolf. Students were also encouraged to attend Northland College’s Wolf Awareness Week, where speakers from all over the globe came to present in the Sigurd Olson Environmental Institute — from the American Southwest’s Mexican gray wolf biologist John Oakleaf to a wolf biologist all the way from Hustai National Park in Mongolia. 

The student chapter also prepared students for careers in wildlife by providing them with various workshops relating to the field. NPS and USFS staff have come to discuss building a federal resume/curriculum vitae, as well as how to navigate While the student chapter believes it is important to provide this information to its members, Northland College is a strong supporter of providing hands-on experiences as well. Demonstrating trail camera setup, radio telemetry and field basics are just a few ways student chapter members have been introduced to techniques relating to wildlife management.

University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

Submitted by McKenna Hammons, Student Chapter President

What a way to kick off the school year with the release of a new student chapter logo! Throughout the course of a year, the student chapter’s Vice President Benjamin Tjepkes worked with a graphic designer to make an official logo for the chapter.

Three members, Alyssa Johnson, Nate Weisenbeck, and Cole Suckow, attended the Wisconsin Chapter of TWS fall technical training session. Along with many other Wisconsin Chapter members, they were ecstatic to learn about the Wisconsin elk herd. Their favorite part was bugling for the elk and seeing them.

The student chapter projects have been off to a great start this year with members participating in flying squirrel trapping, small mammal trapping, and saw-whet owl banding, plus a new project this year for captive wildlife. This project is focused on visiting wildlife rehabilitation centers and zoos and volunteering. In September members volunteered a day at the Dane County Humane Society-Four Lakes Wildlife Center, helping to build raptor perches and winterize enclosures. The student chapter’s Adopt-a-Wildlife-Area partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has already contributed over 130 volunteer hours improving habitat on the Buena Vista Wildlife Area this semester!

Members had many opportunities to learn about birds this semester. The wild bird project visited Hawk Ridge in Duluth, Minnesota in the middle of October to see raptors and attend an owl presentation and goshawk tour. The student chapter partnered with the Wisconsin Center for Wildlife to get members an exclusive tour of the “Birds in Art” exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum. Finally, the student hosted a Bird Camp for members in early December. This two-day event taught members all about the different types of birds and even included birding in the field.

Twelve student chapter members attended the Annual Conference in Cleveland, Ohio. The ruffed grouse project, led by Benjamin Tjepkes, Brandon Rochefort, Joe Quehl, Rachel Martin and Jeff Williams, presented a poster on the spatial position and orientation of drumming logs. The lagomorph project, represented by Sabrina Clayes and Hannah Schley, presented a poster on comparing parasite diversity and abundance in rural and urban eastern cottontail rabbits in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Sean Mason and Leah Bell represented the waterfowl project with a poster on the ecology of box-nesting waterfowl in central Wisconsin. Students had fun competing in the Quiz Bowl and networking!

Header Image: ©Shane Gorski