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TWS Council Report
By Bob Lanka, Central Mountains and Plains Section Representative
TWS Council met March 3-4, 2019 in Denver, Colorado in association with the 84th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference.
Odds and Ends
The Colorado State University Pueblo Student Chapter was approved effective October 18, 2018. Join me in welcoming the newest student chapter in the TWS family. There are now 17 student chapters within our section.
Council passed the FY20 TWS budget of $2.866 million. This budget included funding for staff merit increases and professional development.
Now that the Permanent Reserve Fund (Council controlled “Rainy Day Fund”) has reached its target of 50% of the current fiscal year budget, Council decided to change the fund’s asset allocation from a growth strategy to more of a capital preservation one. So the investment mix is now weighted toward bonds and cash rather than equities.
Council selected Baltimore as the 2021 Annual Conference site. The 2020 Annual Conference will be in Louisville, KY September 27 – October 1. The 2019 joint TWS/AFS Conference will be held in Reno, NV September 29 – October 3. Mark your calendars. FYI, TWS is making every effort to get the Annual Conference within the closing federal fiscal year. Unfortunately, we are at the mercy of facility availability and the calendar.
Council has long struggled to find the proper way forward for all the wonderful COWCH materials gathered over the years by members. This program strives to capture the history of our profession by interviewing those who have helped make that history. Thanks to the efforts of North Central Section Representative John Moriarty, existing and future COWCH videos will be transferred to the Forest History Society Special Collections and Archive (https://foresthistory.org/). Money was made available in the FY20 budget to help the Forest History Society begin cataloging and getting our COWCH interviews in shape so that they can be preserved and shared. If your Chapter has yet to transfer all your COWCH interviews to TWS, please do so so that they can be made part of our collection.
Associate Member Pilot Program
Some of you may have seen the announcement shown below through your state chapter or our Section. TWS launched its Associate Member pilot program, which is designed to reach out to those who are members of the chapter or section but not a member of TWS. A monthly edition of the eWildlifer is provided to all that sign up for this program. The Associate Member program should not be confused with the Give Back program, which is another outreach effort by TWS but one that provides full member benefits for 6 months.
Are you a member of your state chapter but not The Wildlife Society (aka an Associate Member of TWS)? Are you interested in staying up to date on the latest wildlife news and happenings from across North America and beyond? Then The Wildlife Society is excited to offer you free access to a new, monthly edition of the eWildlifer. The eWildlifer is the Society’s regular e-newsletter, which serves as a one-stop shop for all the latest wildlife news, Section and Chapter activities, TWS announcements, and more. Sign up here. The first eWildlifer will be sent on Friday, March 29. Please contact Mariah Simmons, TWS Unit Services Manager, with any questions at MSimmons@wildlife.org. You can opt out at any time.
Considering a Donation to TWS, You Have Choices
As I have stated in previous newsletter columns, most TWS annual income is derived from membership dues, conference income and publishing royalties. So by being a member of TWS you are making a huge contribution to the vigor of our Society as well as its financial health. To all members, TWS sends a heartfelt thank you.
Over the years, many of you have chosen to donate more of your hard-earned income to The Wildlife Society. Recently there has been focused strategic outreach regarding The 1,000 (https://wildlife.org/the-1000/). This fund was launched in 2014 with the goal of generating an ongoing additional annual revenue stream. The key word in the previous sentence is “annual.” If you choose to donate at least $100 to The 1,000 each year or simply when you can, your dollars are used as part of the annual TWS budget to fund strategic initiatives that might otherwise be delayed or unfunded.
TWS has several other ways for you to donate if you choose. See https://wildlife.org/donate/ for more information. One option is The Endowment Fund for Excellence in Wildlife Stewardship. The key word in the previous sentence is “Endowment.” Your donations to this fund cannot be spent. They stay in the fund earning dividends and interest. Earnings on your donations can be used by Council to help promote science-based wildlife conservation through outreach, education and advocacy. The Endowment Fund is a long-term investment in The Wildlife Society.
Both these options as well as others shown on the TWS website are important though both serve very different purposes. Whatever you may decide to do in whatever amount, please know that TWS greatly appreciates your membership and financial support.
My term on Council will end in 2020 at the Annual Meeting in Louisville, KY. I can say without hesitation that serving as your representative to Council has been one of the high points of my wildlife career. I truly appreciate the hospitality shown to me by officers and hundreds of members at our section and chapter meetings. You are all amazing and I am better off for knowing you! The Central Mountains and Plains Section will be searching for individuals willing to run for CMPS Section Representative over the next several months. If you are even a little interested and want to know more about what being Section Representative entails, feel free to contact me. Even if now is not the time, but you are interested in this position for some time in the future and want to know more, I am available to talk to you if you want. I will not lie to you, being Section Representative involves work, time and travel. But it is incredibly rewarding work and in doing it, you will be making a real contribution to our professional society, The Wildlife Society.
Thanks for all you do.
Bob Lanka, CWB®, is now retired but was previously the Statewide Wildlife and Habitat Management Supervisor for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. He is also the Representative to the Council for the Central Mountains and Plains Section of TWS.