TWS wraps up another successful Annual Conference

TWS Annual Conference attendees applaud at the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award presentation. Credit: TWS

The Wildlife Society concluded its Annual Conference on Thursday—its first in-person conference in three years.

Some 2,000 wildlifers from across the country and around the world turned out for the conference.

Spokane, Washington put on a beautiful show for attendees, with bright autumn colors and the year’s first snowfall.

Plenary speakers Carol Evans, chairwoman of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, DR Michel, executive director of the Upper Columbia United Tribes, and Lydia Parker, executive director of the nonprofit organization Hunters of Color, spoke of the deep connections between Native peoples and wildlife.

They received gifts of blankets and traditional medicine from the Native Student Professional Development Program after addressing the conference as outgoing TWS President Gordon Batcheller thanked them for their insights and echoed the importance of salmon restoration for Indigenous cultures and the ecosystem.

“Indigenous knowledge will continue to bolster government efforts, she said. “Tribal leadership is sharing their knowledge with the Fish and Wildlife Service.” – Interior Secretary Deb Haaland

Interior Secretary Debra Haaland appeared by video to talk about Biden administration efforts to collaborate with Tribal governments to address climate change and biodiversity loss.

Mike Phillips, the 2021 recipient of the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award, spoke of the importance of storytelling and political involvement for wildlifers in addressing environmental concerns, including the global extinction crisis.

“I believe that the extinction crisis is one of Earth’s most threatening wounds. The losses are so severe that the certainty of nature is being stripped away, exhausting the lives of millions of creatures, great and small.” – Mike Phillips, 2021 Aldo Leopold Memorial Award recipient

The conference welcomed incoming president Don Yasuda, who urged TWS members to approach the organization with a “What else can I do?” approach.

While the COVID-19 pandemic left many nonprofit organizations struggling, TWS CEO Ed Arnett said, “We’re in a pretty stable and good place.”


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