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Professional Development Program
The application period for the 2020 Native Student Professional Development Program is OPEN through July 15, 2020. Learn how to apply here.
Native Student Professional Development Program – Final Report 2019
Native Student Professional Development Program – Final Report 2018
Native Student Professional Development Program – Final Report 2017
Native Student Professional Development Program – Final Report 2016
Native Student Professional Development Program – Final Report 2015
Native Student Professional Development Program – Final Report 2014
Native Student Professional Development Program
Summary of Objectives and Accomplishments:
As a scientific organization for professionals who manage and conserve wildlife and habitats, The Wildlife Society (TWS) is increasingly concerned about the lack of ethnic and cultural diversity within the profession. Diversity is essential if the profession is to grow and meet the nation’s conservation challenges. To help address this concern, the Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group of TWS established a professional-development program for Native students studying various aspects of natural resource management.
The indigenous community has enormous potential to enrich diversity within the wildlife profession. Native lands often consist of important wildlife habitat, and indigenous students are showing a growing interest in pursuing careers in wildlife management and conservation. Furthermore, Native American and other indigenous cultures rely heavily on wildlife resources as a source of income, basis for their culture, and subsistence living.
TWS has an active Native Peoples’ Wildlife Management Working Group (hereafter, Working Group or NPWMWG) composed of wildlife professionals and students, tribal and non-tribal, who recognize native people’s cultural, spiritual, and ecological connections to the land. TWS and the Working Group have been exploring ways to promote the early development of indigenous wildlife professionals.
TWS believes one of the most-effective ways to support indigenous wildlife students is to give them an opportunity to attend and participate in TWS’s Annual Conference – the largest gathering of wildlife professionals in North America. TWS, with support from multiple federal agencies and tribal organizations, implemented a competitive Native Student Professional Development (NSPD) Program. Individuals selected for this program receive grants to help cover registration fees, lodging, meals and transportation to attend and participate in the annual conference. Program participants also receive a one-year membership in TWS and become members of the TWS Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group. As TWS members they receive the quarterly member magazine The Wildlife Professional, the monthly electronic newsletter The Wildlifer, discounts on TWS peer-reviewed publications such as The Journal of Wildlife Management and Wildlife Society Bulletin, and access to the TWS website, blog, career center, mentoring program, and other online resources.
Candidates must be members of a Native American, First Nations, or indigenous tribe, and currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program in a relevant academic discipline such as wildlife biology or ecology. Applicants must display a record of academic excellence and a strong interest in pursuing a career in wildlife management or conservation.
Qualified applicants are evaluated by a panel consisting of the Chair of the Native Peoples’ Wildlife Management Working Group, two other working-group members, a TWS staff member, the Professional Development Program Coordinator, and at least one representative from other program partners, including the Native American Fish and Wildlife Society.
We would like to extend a special thank you to Dr. Elizabeth Flaherty, and Dr. Patrick Zollner of Purdue University, Heather Stricker and the Forest County Potawatomi Community, as well as The Wildlife Society.
For more information:
Name: Ty Werdel
Affiliation: Program Coordinator, Native Student Professional Development Program