TWS Conference: What to Expect

TWS Annual Conference 2015 Winnipeg

What can you expect at this year’s Annual Conference? A truly amazing and unique experience.

The TWS Annual Conference returns to Canada for the first time in a decade, and we’ve been working hard to create an event that members will be talking about for years to come.

Unite with old and new colleagues and friends this October 17-21 to explore Winnipeg, Manitoba and to attend insightful educational presentations, interactive and collaborative meetings and workshops, major networking events, unique field trips, and much more!

Stay in downtown Winnipeg, “the cultural cradle of Canada,” for convenient, on-foot accessibility to the RBC Convention Centre, as well as city museums, historical sites, professional sporting arenas, and urban wildlife activities. To enhance your networking opportunities and save you money, we’ve arranged for a block of hotel rooms at two of the city’s top hotels. But rooms are limited, so book early.

If you’re interested in participating in one of our many workshops, you’ll get started on Saturday, October 16, diving right into the topic of your choice. Otherwise, pick up your registration badge first thing Sunday morning and join us for the 2015 TWS Annual Conference kickoff with our first plenary session, Why Do Wildlife Matter? Immediately following this invigorating session, continue the plenary topic discussion over lunch and get the wheels turning, or perhaps attend one of the Brown Bag Film Festivals offered during the conference, for a lunch-and-learn video session. Either way, transmit this already mentally stimulating morning into the afternoon lineup of symposia, panel discussions, and contributed papers presentations covering a broad range of topics, including renewable energy, wetlands, avian influenzas and much more.

If you’re one of our many talented professional or amateur wildlife photographers, don’t forget to bring your top photos and register for the photo contest. All attendees can vote for their favorite photo beginning Monday morning.

This year, your “Complete Access” registration badge will give you entry to all three of our major networking events with no tickets required. So save some energy for Sunday evening’s A Night at the Museum Networking Event at the Manitoba Museum for an opportunity to network like never before. Take a stroll through the largest heritage museum in Winnipeg while connecting with student and professional wildlifers, stopping at several beverage and food stations along the way. En route you’ll encounter and board a full-size replica of the Nonsuch, the ship that sailed into Hudson Bay in 1668 in search of furs and is credited with establishing the foundation for commerce in Western Canada. Engage with colleagues through the Boreal Forest, Grasslands and Arctic/Sub-Arctic exhibit areas, while learning about the people and wildlife of Manitoba. And take in the sights and sounds of downtown Winnipeg as it stood in 1920. This opening night event will provide you with a historic backdrop of the area and the wildlife that you’ll be hearing more about during the rest of the conference. You don’t want to miss it!

The next three days of the conference offer a variety of options and opportunities for you to pick and choose from, tailoring your conference experience to meet your objectives and satisfaction. Symposia, panel discussions and contributed papers presentations will continue to run morning and afternoon, covering a broad range of topics including conservation dilemmas, wildlife disease, aquatic animals, managed forests and more, with the exception of Tuesday morning, which is reserved for our second plenary session on The Boreal Forest. The TWS Members Activity Center will open Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon as the central hub of activity for members to engage with exhibitors, enjoy a refreshment break, view poster sessions, and meet with other attendees or catch up on emails at one of our networking tables. Students are encouraged to bring their resumes to the Resume Review Table in the TWS Members Activity Center to receive in-person feedback on their resume from a wildlife professional. Field trip busses will be shuttling people to and from FortWhyte Alive, Oak Hammock Marsh and the International Polar Bear Research and Conservation Centre morning and afternoon for an on-site interactive experience with bison, birds, polar bears and more. (Make sure you register for one or more of these trips ahead of time, as space is limited and sign-up is unavailable during the conference.)

After a day packed full of content, that is sure to enhance your professional development, receptions, networking and educational events will keep your evenings full with plenty of opportunities to mingle and collaborate with colleagues, students and friends. Events you won’t want to miss include Monday evening’s annual Student-Professional Networking Event, Tuesday evening’s competitive Quiz Bowl, and Wednesday evening’s Manitoba Social Networking Event with traditional, local light food and snacks, drinks, music, dancing, and a fundraising raffle with unique prizes! It’s the perfect way to wind down after four days of absorbing new information and expanding your professional contacts.

In addition to this robust and dynamic schedule there is more to do and explore in and around the city of Winnipeg! We’ll be putting together additional tourism and informational guides on activities, sites, restaurants and pubs to expand your experience into the local culture. Keep an eye out for features on our website and in the eWildlifer to learn more.

This may already sound like a fulfilling week, but there’s more! The Manitoba Chapter of The Wildlife Society has worked with Manitoba Conservation and the Churchill Northern Studies Centre to organize the experience of a lifetime that cannot be duplicated anywhere else. Conference attendees can take advantage of a discounted, multi-day trip to Churchill, Manitoba, offered before and after the conference, with the unique opportunity to tour the northern tundra and observe wild polar bears up close! By adding just a few days to your conference experience, you’ll save thousands by making the trek to Churchill through this organized trip while already in Manitoba.

So start making your plans today for this unique and memorable experience at our Annual Conference. Registration is open, hotel rooms are booking fast, and airfare options will be more plentiful if you get started now.

We will be counting down the days until we see you in Winnipeg!