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TWS Council Report
By Bob Lanka, Central Mountains and Plains Section Representative
Unfortunately, I must begin this column by passing on some incredibly sad news. Jane Ellen Jorgensen, a 30-year TWS staff veteran, died March 7th from cancer. I had the good fortune of knowing Jane. She was an exemplary human being, full of kindness and life and a love of The Wildlife Society. Her loss will be deeply felt by our TWS family. For more, see the TWS web page at: https://wildlife.org/tws-mourns-loss-of-long-tenured-employee-jane-jorgensen/
Council met March 5 & 6 in Spokane, WA at the 82nd North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference (https://wildlifemanagement.institute/conference). While there, Council discussed several issues with an update on the TWS 2016-2017 budget and consideration of and ultimately passing the TWS 2017-2018 budget topping the list.
For the 2016-17 budget, projected income (not including investments) was $2,743,830 and projected expenses were $2,652,744 (this includes a $62,500 Council
approved add on to pay for providing TWS members free electronic access to publications for the last 6 months of the current fiscal year). As of the end of January, we are currently about $21,000 ahead of our projected surplus of about $91,000. All surplus funds go into the TWS Permanent Reserve Fund. This is a Council controlled fund with the goal being to build this fund until it reaches an amount equal to 6 months operating costs or about $1,327,000 for the current fiscal year. As of the March Council meeting this fund was about $850,000 or just under $500,000 short of the goal. Hopefully we will get another 100 grand closer at the end of this fiscal year.
For 2017-2018, Council approved a budget of $2,691,794. This budget includes a full year of free member access to TWS publications (cost $125,000) and full Council approved staff levels for all TWS programs for the full year. These staff levels are the same as in the current fiscal year, we will simply have these folks on for the full year rather than a partial one. Even with the additions, cuts in other places resulted in an approved budget only $39,050 or 1.5% higher than the current budget. Projected revenues should result in a surplus of about $94,000.
You might be asking, why build a budget with a projected surplus. The answer is simple. Revenue is based on projections of conference, publication, membership and donation income. If there is a downturn in any one of these items, developing a budget with a reasonably projected surplus will provide TWS some room to weather the storm and still finish the year at break even or better.
One last budget item, then I promise to move on. TWS revenue comes from 4 basic sources. Publications revenue, including our contract with Wiley, is the largest single source of income at 34.9%. Conference revenue, including donations and sponsorships specifically dedicated to the conference, comes next at 33.9% with membership dues next at 25.1%. These three items total 93.4% of the total annual income of TWS. Unrestricted grants and partnerships as well as Endowment Fund investment revenue used to support two six-month interns in the Government Affairs and Partnership Program along with other miscellaneous income makes up the rest. Our contract with Wiley runs from 2016-2022.
Council approved seven Government Affairs and Partnerships (GAP) Policy Priorities for the 115th U.S. Congress:
- Empower wildlife professionals by incorporating wildlife science into decision making:
- Work to enhance the Lacey Act to prevent the spread of invasive species and wildlife disease
- Work to ensure the Endangered Species Act retains science as the foundation for decision making while advancing meaningful and reasonable modifications that will enhance its effectiveness in conserving at-risk native wildlife and ecosystems
- Enable wildlife professionals by supporting sufficient funding for management, conservation, and research:
- Work to advance the Blue Ribbon Panel on Sustaining America’s Diverse Fish & Wildlife Resources recommendations to fund state efforts to conserve the full array of fish and wildlife species
- Work to advance conservation titles within the farm bill.
- Assist wildlife professionals by bringing science to on-the-ground conservation:
- Work cooperatively with federal and state managers and the public to meet and sustain appropriate wild horse and burro management levels.
- Work to advance the conservation of wild sheep in the USA and Canada by promoting policies that incorporates current science and strategies to minimize the potential of disease transmission from domestic sheep
- Work to support chapter and section efforts through continued enhancements to the Conservation Affairs Network.
GIVE BACK PROGRAM
TWS initiated a Give Back program beginning December 2016. This program allows renewing members of TWS to “sponsor” a person for membership in TWS who is currently not a member by simply providing that person’s e-mail address. TWS then contacts the potential member and offers them a free 6-month trial full benefit membership. They can accept or decline. For those that accept, during the six months TWS will present our Society to the potential member and ask them to consider joining. At the end of January, 349 individuals had accepted the Give Back invite. Time will tell how many will become members. Thanks to those that nominated a colleague.
ODDS AND ENDS
The TWS website averages 49,000 hits a month and our social media audience will be approximately 112,000 by the end of June. The 1,000 is projecting donations at $70-75,000 this fiscal year. In the 2.5 years of The 1,000, members have donated over $200,000 to TWS strategic initiatives. Final attendance numbers for the Raleigh Conference was 1,865, the third highest total ever. Our 24th Annual Conference will be held in Albuquerque, NM September 23-27, 2017. As of February 2017, there were 999 TWS members from our section, 10.9% of the total TWS membership. Ours is the fifth largest section out of eight. Within our section, Colorado has the largest number of TWS members at 322. 2016 was the first full year of publishing 6 issues of The Wildlife Professional (TWP). Sixty four more pages were published in 2016 than 2015. I hope you replied to the TWP readership survey. Of the 675 or so members that took hard copy journals in 2016 about 20% went electronic only in 2017. Wiley’s subsidy for producing hard copy content is going down so getting paper copy journals will go from $60 to $80 in 2018. After that, the subsidy ends and the full cost of about $115/year will be charged. The latest edition of the Techniques Manual is due out in late 2018. Dr. Merav Ben-David of the University of Wyoming replaced Dr. Eric Helgren of the University of Florida as Editor-in-Chief of Wildlife Monographs. GAP staff had over 100 meetings with Congressional staff in January, introducing TWS and our policy positions as well as participating in the approval process for Presidential appointments. Two valuable additions to the Conservation Affairs Network are the Policy Priorities Reference List and the new Policy Library, both of which can be found on the CAN section of the TWS website (Library will launch a little later this year). In 2016, 86 CWB and 93 AWB applications were approved, up substantially from the past five years. With The 1,000 paying membership dues, the Early Career Professional Working Group now has over 900 members. A similar increase was also seen for the Student Development Working Group.
Thanks for all you do. Until next time…
Bob Lanka, CWB®, is 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.