TWS to host workshop on role of professional development

The Wildlife Society—working with the American Fisheries Society, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, U.S.G.S. Cooperative Research Units, and the Wildlife Management Institute—is hosting a workshop titled Bridging Science and Management: Maintaining Relevancy through Organization Transformation and Professional Development at the 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Spokane, Washington. All interested parties are encouraged to attend and engage in discussions. 

This workshop will build upon the discussions of the successful 2016 workshop, Barriers and Bridges in Reconnecting Natural Resource Science and Management, which was organized by the same coalition of sponsors. The focus of the 2017 workshop will be on the many social, demographic, and resource changes facing organizations in the years ahead, and prospects for transformation to sustain organization relevancy and effectiveness through workforce training and professional development.

Agency relevancy is a key concern of the Blue Ribbon Panel as it works to provide $1.3 billion to fund the state wildlife action plans. There is a broad recognition that agencies are facing ever-expanding demands for expertise in public communication, team-building, conflict resolution, organization leadership, new and constantly evolving scientific understanding and management approaches, and other issues as they confront social, environmental, and resource changes. At the same time, educators are struggling with how to meet expanding education needs while also retaining core biological and resource curricula, in an era of shifting university priorities and available resources for natural resource education programs. Professional societies and associations are themselves evolving in their focus on these issues, as they attempt to provide support for professional development and continuing education for agency biologists and managers.

The 2017 workshop will focus on these issues, though a series of presentations by federal, state, and non-governmental leaders and follow-up panel discussions and audience engagement. The workshop will lead off with a discussion of the transformations needed to maintain agency relevance, to be followed by presentations on this theme by state directors. There will be time set aside during these presentations for audience participation on issues that are raised. Then state, federal and non-governmental leaders will discuss future challenges and opportunities in designing and resourcing education and development programs to sustain relevancy. Finally, some themes and messages from the presentations and discussions will be explored with the audience.

Expected outcomes of the workshop will be the identification of key impediments and challenges in sustaining relevance in the future, along with potential approaches to meet these challenges through professional training and development and next steps in building the necessary institutional, social, and educational linkages to secure relevancy through science-based decision making.

You can register to attend the 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference and this workshop at


Header Image: ©Peter Pearsall/USFWS