University of Wyoming Chapter heads to Olympic National Park

The following student chapter news was included in the Spring 2018 newsletter of the Central Mountains and Plains Section of The Wildlife Society. Photos of student chapter activities are also included in the newsletter.

The 2017-2018 school year has been an eventful one. In addition to bi-monthly meetings the student chapter engaged in numerous other activities.

For bi-monthly meetings the student chapter usually invites external speakers. These include biologists, wildlife managers, and game wardens from a variety of agencies (Wyoming Game and Fish Department, US Forest Service, West Inc.). Faculty, post-docs and graduate students from the University of Wyoming also present their research.

The student chapter also held a resume and job application workshop. Numerous graduate students from the Department of Zoology and Physiology worked with members in teams to select the best applicant for various jobs. While the applicants were fictitious, their resumes and cover letters were based on real applications. By assessing the credentials of these applicants to various job ads, members learned how to construct their applications. This activity was followed by review of student resumes by the graduate students. A frequent visitor to bimonthly meetings this semester is Nagini, a 10-year-old, 6-foot boa who was adopted by the Ben-David lab this past winter. Nagini adds some excitement to our otherwise regular meetings.

Last fall, several members attended TWS’s Annual Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There, they had the unique chance to learn about current research from around the country and also present some of their own. Former student chapter President, Brittany Wagler, also presented her research at the annual meeting of the Wyoming Chapter of The Wildlife Society in Jackson.

For the student chapter’s annual fundraiser, Beast Feast, students teamed up with UW’s American Fisheries Society (AFS) student subunit for the second year managed to double our previous year’s attendance. Over 200 members of the community attended this year! The event included games, live music, raffle and silent and live auctions. The student chapter raised over $1,200.

Again, the student chapter picked up trash along the two-mile stretch of Highway 287 south of Laramie. This is part of their service to the community and has been one of the longest activities of the student chapter (it started in 1999).

They also had a successful turnout for the biannual river otter survey on the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain National Park, which was their 17th year conducting the survey.

This year students also teamed up with the AFS subunit to clean up the fish raceways at the Red Buttes Environmental Laboratory, which belongs to the Department of Zoology and Physiology.

The student chapter again participated in chipmunk trapping in spring and fall, which they’ve done annually since 2006. This is an excellent opportunity to get experience handling small mammals. They also participated in deer captures. Other opportunities included helping graduate students with spotted skunk, raccoon, sagebrush songbirds, and Wyoming gophers.

The student chapter recently attended their annual spring break trip. Students travelled to Olympic National Park and the San Juan Islands in Washington. As one could expect, the trip was a blast. Attendees had the opportunity to see unique ecosystems and the challenges facing these ecosystems firsthand. The highlights were a visit to Apes Cave in Mount St. Helens, observing two different pods of orcas, watching sea lions, and walking through the Hoh Rainforest. This trip also was historic in that it was the inaugural attempt at the new model of “Nomadic” Conclave. This year, the student chapter was joined by the University of Idaho Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society, and also met on the way with members of the Utah State University Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Members plan on extending the trip to include more schools in future years.

Looking ahead, student chapter members staying in Laramie for the summer will help with chipmunk trapping at the end of May and help Merav Ben-David host Native American high school students from the Wind River Reservation for the Summer Institute.

To follow the chapter on social media, visit UW Student Chapter of TWS on Facebook or @uwyo_wildlifesociety on Instagram.

Header Image: ©Esther Lee