Mariah Simmons, TWS Wildlife Programs Coordinator, attended the Western Section’s Annual Meeting from January 26-30, 2015 in Santa Rosa, CA. Simmons was able to meet with many of the Section’s members, officers, and students, learning more about projects being conducted throughout the region.
“It was great to meet our members and to witness all of their hard work first-hand,” she said. “The Western Section organizes a very large conference and I applaud them for all of the time and effort that goes into planning and executing such an event. It was really exciting to experience.”
More than 700 professionals and students attended the 2015 Annual Meeting. Attendees had the option to register for two day-long symposiums on hot topics in the region, including “Owl vs. Owl: The Conundrum of Managing Barred and Spotted Owls in the Pacific Northwest” and “Marijuana Cultivation and Its Impacts on Wildlife, Habitats, and the Wildlife Profession.”
Students had excellent opportunities to learn and network through resume and technical writing workshops and during poster sessions. Even with the large number of attendees, there were small meetings that provided opportunities for one-on-one discussion, such as a Conservation Affairs Committee meeting and a breakfast roundtable on climate change research.
From professional presentations to business meetings to evening receptions, the atmosphere was both energizing and positive. Members of all ages were able to meet new people, see longtime friends, and come together for the common cause of advancing wildlife conservation and management.
Simmons met with the Executive Board of the Western Section, attended each of the Section’s Chapter meetings, and was able to talk with members one-on-one during various receptions and banquets.
“When I meet with so many active and engaged individuals, I’m reminded of why I chose a career in the wildlife field,” said Simmons. “Wildlife professionals are such a friendly group of people with so many interesting stories and experience to share. In this field you really are part of a tight-knit community.”
TWS Staff plan to travel to other chapter and section meetings in the coming months, as well as to student conclaves, to improve communication, collaboration and connectivity.