The results from the 2017 TWS Council elections are in. The Society has elected Gary White, a former Central Mountains and Plains Section representative and the 51st recipient of TWS’s Aldo Leopold Award and Medal for Distinguished Service to Wildlife Conservation, as the next vice president of TWS. White is also a TWS Fellow and Certified Wildlife Biologist. White’s election puts him in position to be installed as the president of TWS at the Society’s 2019 conference in Reno, Nevada.
Bob Lanka will return as the Central Mountains and Plains Section representative, a position he has held since 2014. Lanka, a TWS Jim McDonough Award recipient, is also a TWS Fellow and Certified Wildlife Biologist. Paul Johansen, chief of the Wildlife Resources Section for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources and a Certified Wildlife Biologist, will return as the Northeast Section representative.
TWS extends its thanks to all of the candidates who ran for office, including Shane Mahoney, Adam Ahlers, and Duane Diefenbach. The election winners will begin their term during the Members Meeting at the 24th Annual Conference this September in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Meet your new Council members there!
For more about the three elected members, read their statements below.
Representing the Central Mountain and Plains Section on Council was a time-consuming task that with my emancipation from Colorado State University as a full-time faculty member in June, 2007, I welcomed for 2 3-year terms. Prior to my retirement, my schedule did not allow me to attend the numerous chapter meetings around the section, nor the 2 Council meetings each year. I attended 35 of the possible 42 state chapter meetings in the CMPS during my 6 years on Council. Chapter and Section meetings have given me the chance to hear what the membership is thinking about TWS. Thus, I am well aware of the huge time commitment if elected to the Vice-President of TWS, but am prepared to once again allocate this time.
I have been a stalwart supporter of bringing TWS into the electronic age, and will continue to support and push for these changes. I continually encourage Chapters to maintain and update their web sites (I have been webmaster for 4 TWS sites, and currently the Biometrics Working Group web site). Distribution of scientific knowledge is one of the primary functions of our professional society, and the electronic library is no longer a futuristic dream. I promoted the re-establishment of the Wildlife Society Bulletin as an electronic journal, which Council approved in 2010.
I also fully back the following topics:
- Women and minorities in the wildlife profession – TWS needs the diversity
- Conservation Affairs Network – TWS should be the provider of scientific information in the wildlife arena
- Additional funding for wildlife management through to re-energizing the CARA initiative, although unlikely in the current political climate.
Most importantly, one of the primary sources of monetary support for TWS has traditionally been our peer-reviewed journals and published books. With the continued increase in open-access journals and electronic books, this source of revenue is going to degenerate. I believe I understand better than most TWS members how critical this situation will become, and would actively promote solutions.
In conclusion, I have been active in TWS since my graduate student days, and have attended numerous TWS Council meetings as an observer through the years. Many of my graduate school mentors served as President of TWS, as have many of my professional colleagues. I have an appreciation of the last 40 years of history of TWS, and hence have a sense of what has worked, what has not worked, and I will bring this knowledge to bear on the future decisions facing TWS. My views typically fall in the middle of the range of views within this Society – from the more traditional attitudes of the SE Section to the futuristic views of the Western Section.
Central Mountains and Plains Section Representative
I have had the distinct honor of serving as Central Mountains and Plains Section Representative to The Wildlife Society Council since October 2014. Since then, with the incredibly generous support of my employer the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, I have been able to attend State Chapter meetings in all the states within our Section at least once. The opportunity to meet and get to know members from State and Student Chapters across our Section has been one of the highlights of my professional career. To each of you, but particularly to those of you who have chosen to step up and volunteer to serve our professional society, The Wildlife Society, in leadership and support roles I say THANK YOU.
It has been a privilege to serve our professional society at the Wyoming State Chapter and Central Mountains and Plains Section levels and now as a member of TWS Council. I must admit I have enjoyed the work of Council and getting to know the incredible people that serve on Council as well as TWS Staff. My work on Council has benefited greatly from your willingness to share your ideas and views with me. If reelected, I want to continue to work with you to ensure that each of your membership dollars is spent efficiently and wisely, to enhance the relationship between the Society and Section, State and Student Chapters, to increase the relevance of the Society to the many State Chapter members who are not members of the Society, to enhance TWS publications so that they better meet the needs of research scientists and managers, to help focus policy work and to continue Society efforts to encourage student and early career professionals to become life-long members of our Society and leaders in our profession. Thank you for your consideration.
Northeast Section Representative
It has been my greatest professional honor to serve as your Northeast Section Representative to The Wildlife Society. With strong support from The Wildlife Society, the Northeast Section has demonstrated a continued commitment to address the professional needs of dedicated wildlife managers, educators, researchers and administrators throughout the region. Working together, we can continue to meet the challenges and opportunities that face our natural resources and the users of these valuable resources.
In today’s changing society, it is imperative that the wildlife profession be prepared to address a wide range of issues and concerns (e.g., limited operating budgets, growing anti-management sentiment among various segments of the public, threats undermining the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, climate change impacts, accelerated habitat degradation, impending retirements that will result in the loss of institutional knowledge, etc.). The Wildlife Society is well positioned to assist the wildlife profession, as we attempt to address many of these challenges. By adopting an effective and business-like approach to management, The Wildlife Society continues to improve its scientific and technical publications, networking and information dissemination capabilities, wildlife policy activities and other programs designed to support its membership in all areas of wildlife conservation, research and management. I fully endorse these initiatives, recognize their importance to our profession and pledge to explore additional means for improving organizational effectiveness and program delivery to our membership.
I am proud to be a member of The Wildlife Society, the Northeast Section and the West Virginia Chapter. Council strives to demonstrate excellent leadership skills and commitment to the resources we all value. Should I be reelected to this office, I will attempt to continue this fine tradition and serve to the best of my ability.