Oklahoma student chapters engage with local organizations

This article originally appears in the Oklahoma Chapter of The Wildlife Society’s newsletter (Volume 44). Photos of student chapter activities are also included in the newsletter.

Oklahoma State University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The Oklahoma State University Student Chapter has hit the ground running for the 2018-2019 school year. Member participation has increased significantly this year with around 70 members in attendance at meetings, roughly 40 of which are dues-paying members. The student chapter has 381 students on the email roster and has an active social media presence. Plans for the semester included professional conferences, professor lead field meetings, guest speakers, outside hands-on workshops and other special projects.

The student chapter partnered with the University of Central Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for a research project gathering data on bobcat distribution across the state. For this project members can participate and gain field experience by building and setting hair-snare traps around Oklahoma over Christmas break. Later this year members will also be continuing the tradition of helping the ODWC pull and age deer jaws at various processing plants around the state on the first day of deer rifle season.

During an October meeting the student chapter held a snake handling field demonstration led by Dr. Moen, a herpetology professor at OSU. Attending members learned the safest way to handle and look for snakes with a focus in venomous snake safety. For another meeting they hosted Laurel Poff from the U.S. Forest Service. She presented and held a question-answer session over the best strategies to successfully apply for USFS and other federal jobs. In early October, members had the opportunity to showcase their own presentation skills by presenting to Stillwater High School students about previous internships and future job opportunities in the fields of wildlife and ecology.

In addition to these activities, the student chapter will also be making trips and providing transportation to the Wildlife Expo, the Oklahoma Natural Resources Conference, one of TWS’ student conclaves and several wildlife rehabilitation centers in Oklahoma. They’ll also remain active in OSU homecoming festivities including the window painting competition, Harvest Carnival, the chili cook-off, and the sign competition on the library lawn. On Oct. 26th, the Friday before the homecoming game, students sold turkey legs at Walk-around. This is their main fundraiser for the fall semester. The officers meet weekly and will continue planning events for the remainder of the school year to continue their mission of providing members with valuable experiences, knowledge, and professional development in the field of wildlife management.

University of Central Oklahoma Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

The University of Central Oklahoma Student Chapter is continuing to grow as an organization at UCO. In Fall 2017 they had the opportunity to tour and volunteer with Wildcare and were able to offer many undergraduate research and volunteer opportunities. In addition, they had some of UCO’s own graduate students speak at student chapter meetings about their research experiences. In Spring 2018 they had the opportunity to educate kids about wildlife with Positive Tomorrows, had multiple speakers attend their meetings, and some members attended the OKNRC conference. For the 2018-19 school year the new executive board will focus on student engagement and hope to grow an even stronger presence on campus. The student chapter plans to volunteer at the OKC Zoo for the Stomp and Chomp and will continue to offer members volunteer research opportunities with professors at UCO. They also hope to work with Wildcare again, continue student education, and help out at the 2018 Wildlife Expo.

Header Image: A white-tailed deer fawn in Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. ©Larry Smith