In early March, many members of The Wildlife Society met in conjunction with the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Spokane, WA. This is a long-standing partnership that we are pleased to maintain. This joint gathering with the Wildlife Management Institute, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, National Military Fish and Wildlife Association, and many other natural resource professionals is a fantastic forum to maintain our presence in wildlife policy and applications of science to management of wildlife resources. A fitting contribution to the program was TWS’s key role in organizing a Workshop on Bridging Science and Management: Maintaining Relevancy Through Organization Transformation and Professional Development.
Also important to member interests is that TWS Council met on 6-7 March 2017 in conjunction with the North American Conference. During those two days, Council considered contents and recommendations in nearly 40 reports from administrative, award, and oversight committees that engage in the day-to-day business of the Society. Much of that discussion led to Council actions to move our interests forward. Immediately preceding the Council Meeting, the Search Committee conducted interviews of candidates for the TWS Executive Director, a position that will be vacated when Ken Williams retires in summer 2017.
Significance of all these activities in early March warranted devotion of this Podium to updates on achievements during those several days, which include:
- Approved the FY2018 Operating Budget (begins 1 July 2017) with $2,785,562 in projected revenue, $2,691,794 in estimated expenses, and a projected $93,769 operating surplus for replenishing the Permanent Reserve Fund
- Adopted Policy Priorities for use during the 115th Congress to focus actions on (1) incorporating wildlife science into decision making, (2) enabling wildlife professionals by providing sufficient funding for management, conservation, and research, and (3) assisting wildlife professionals by bringing science to on-the-ground conservation
- Approved an option for temporary use of reserve funds to ensure that annual conference experiences are not diminished by planning uncertainty a few months before the conference when event commitments must be made but all conference fund-raising is not complete
- Acknowledged that the online TWS Member Directory was recently activated for member use
- Approved a Group Achievement Award recipient and 10 individuals to become TWS Fellows (all will be announced at the Annual Conference in September)
- Approved additional mathematics courses for use in meeting Certification requirements and clarified that remedial math does not meet Certification requirements
- Approved an option for Associate Wildlife Biologists to apply for a three-year extension to meet professional experience requirements as long as they can demonstrate continued dedication to the wildlife profession and intention to advance to CWB status
- Approved further consolidation of position statements to enhance flexibility and responsiveness in use of TWS policy position documents
- Approved five recommendations of the Awards Subcommittee to enhance award nominations and recognition of recipients
- Approved Cal DuBrock (NE Section) to fill the Certification Review Board position that will be vacant in September 2017
- Reviewed current status of the “Canada Initiative” started in October 2017 to enhance strategic services for TWS members in Canada
- Approved further preparation of Guidelines for Professional Conduct (initiated by Ethnic and Gender Diversity Working Group) to be finalized by Council by 15 May for implementation at the 2017 Annual Conference
- Approved an author survey among TWS members and others to evaluate planning needs for TWS journals
- Extended the contract for two years for Dr. Paul Krausman, Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Wildlife Management
- Affirmed ongoing work by the Working Group Communication Ad Hoc Committee to improve interactions with and among TWS Working Groups and Council
- Reviewed work of the Organization Integration Ad Hoc Committee regarding options for chapter members that aren’t TWS members to be embraced within a distinct TWS affiliation
- Approved a name change to Conservation Education and Outreach Working Group
- Confirmed that a letter was transmitted recently to Universidad Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile to begin collaborative planning of an International Wildlife Management Congress there in 2019
- Interviewed five finalists from among 31 applicants for the Executive Director recruitment; announcement of a final selection is expected in April
I think you will agree that TWS Council and membership have been active on your behalf. Further, this work attests to how your Section Representatives, Council Officers, and TWS staff have been engaged with continued implementation of the Strategic Plan for the Society.
Given our continued success, it is fitting that I dedicate this Podium to the memory of Jane Jorgensen, a stalwart TWS employee of 30 years who we learned passed away suddenly as we were gathered for the Council Meeting. Jane was the force behind keeping our financial accounts in order for decades; her work touched many within the organization. I knew and relied on Jane for most of her time with TWS; she will be missed.