Wisconsin students collaborate with local organizations

The following student chapter news was included in the Spring 2018 newsletter of the Wisconsin Chapter of The Wildlife Society. Photos of student chapter activities are also included in the newsletter.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

By Valerie Knurr, Student Chapter Past President

The UW Madison Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society had a busy spring semester. They begin the semester with Conservation Warden Jake Donar, a UW Wildlife Ecology alum, speaking about his job with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. The student chapter had several other events, including a tour of the chronic wasting disease testing station in Black Earth, a Snap-a-thon in partnership with Snapshot Wisconsin where teams competed to classify as many trail cam photos as possible, a trip to the UW Arboretum for Madison Reads Leopold and a hike, and an ice skating social with the Forestry Club. The student chapter also had former WDNR herpetologist and current director of Turtles for Tomorrow, Bob Hay, speak about wood turtle conservation. In April, students had a Crafts for Conservation event in partnership with the Henry Vilas Zoo where members created crafts out of snares from South East Asia that were being used to illegally trap saolas. These crafts are sold to make money for saola conservation efforts. The student chapter will also be taking a trip to a maple syrup festival at the Mackenzie Center and participating is Science Expeditions for an outreach event. They plan on attending a naturalist led hike in Owen Conservation Park and cleaning up a highway segment on Earth Day. They’ll also be participating in the DNR citizen science frog and toad survey and the Great Wisconsin Birdathon like they’ve done for many years.

This semester the student chapter has been focusing on getting as many students involved as possible, especially underclassmen. The student chapter did a member survey to see how they can improve. They then followed that up with an officer shadow meeting where members who were thinking about running for an officer position could experience an officer meeting and get a better understanding of the organization’s leadership. The student chapter is also working to increase the number of events offered so more students can participate and members have more options. They hope these efforts will have a lasting impact on the organization and keep members invested for years to come.

University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society

By Katherine Rexroad, Student Chapter Past President

The members of the UWSP Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society started 2018 with a bang! Over 50 Pointers, both faculty and students, attended the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference this year in Milwaukee. The student chapter had five poster presentations with multiple student authors and multiple students took home awards. Student chapter member Emily Masterson won best undergraduate presentation and UWSP graduate student Kali Rush won the best graduate presentation. Alumni Rachel Konkle received the Aldo Leopold Award from the Wisconsin Chapter of The Wildlife Society and graduate student Jordan Meyer received the Janice Lee Fenske Award. The student chapter would also like to congratulate TWS members Dr. Scott Hygnstrom and Dr. Shawn Crimmins for being elected to serve on the Wisconsin Chapter executive board.

Along with professional conferences, participating in the Adopt a Wildlife Area project with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources keeps student chapter members busy. During the month of February, 30 Pointers became chainsaw certified through the program. This also included multiple work days in the project area to allow members to practice their new skills.

The UWSP Student Chapter organizes over a dozen student-led research projects on an annual basis, a unique characteristic that sets them apart from any other student chapter of The Wildlife Society. Project permits are under faculty or other wildlife professionals and the data gathered is frequently presented or published. Some of the research projects that took volunteers into the field this semester included the woodpecker project, ruffed grouse project, lagomorph project, waterfowl project, and whitetail deer project. Students involved in the saw whet owl project presented data from the fall season at both the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference and the Izaak Walton League local chapter meeting. Unrelated to research, McKenna Hammons, previous student chapter Treasurer, initiated the showing of the Aldo Leopold film “Green Fire” in early March.

The UWSP Student Chapter has numerous goals for the future and a dedicated group of student members to pursue them!

Header Image: UWSP Student Chapter members Josh Kivett and Nora Hargett participate in chainsaw certification. ©Benjamin Tjepkes