Board Meeting Minutes

Board Minutes – Winter 2020
By Daly Edmunds (out-going Secretary) and Courtney Larson (in-coming Secretary)

Since our last newsletter, the Board and members met virtually on November 18 and on January 6.  The Board also interacts through email communications.  Board meetings are open to the membership, so participation is always welcome! For future call participation info, please contact the new Treasurer for WY-TWS.

Below is a list of some of the topics discussed and decisions made on these Board member calls and via online communications.

The November 18 Board Meeting occurred in conjunction with the Annual Joint Conference with Central Mountains and Plains Section of TWS. The annual conference, which occurred virtually and featured invited speakers, had 277 registrants.  For the WY-TWS Board Meeting, which took place mid-way through the conference, a total of 42 members participated.

The January 6 board meeting involved welcoming new board members and a discussion of roles and responsibilities, among other topics.

Outgoing Board Member Recognition:

  • The number of outgoing board members varies from year to year, with terms ending at the annual meeting.
  • Board is continuing discussions on how to meaningfully recognize Board Members for their service, establishing a consistent process to be used going forward.

Student Chapter:

  • University of Wyoming Student Chapter usually receives $1,000/year in support from WY-TWS, usually used for their spring trip.
  • Board voted that for 2021, WY-TWS would provide $1,000 to UW Student Chapter for transcribing 10 COWCH interviews. (learn more about “Celebrating our Wildlife Conservation Heritage” project here)

TWS Headquarters Policy Priorities 2021-2022:

  • TWS reached out to all state chapters for input on what should TWS policy priorities for the 2021-2022 term. Specifically, “We request your input in this process. We want to know what your unit believes to be the one or two most important federal policy topics for TWS to engage in the next two years. Appropriate TWS policy priorities will directly affect wildlife professionals and their work, have decision making processes based at the federal level, and revolve around issues in which TWS can fill a unique role.”
  • WY-TWS Board submitted the following two recommendations:
  • We recommend that TWS work to bolster bipartisan, national legislation that revises current energy production. Specific legislation could include (1) modernizing current oil and gas development policies (e.g., include orphaned wells in an economic stimulus package), (2) promoting science-based renewable energy development, (3) strengthening mitigation policies (e.g., reinstate pre-2016 compensatory mitigation), and (4) improving communication surrounding climate change.
  • We recommend that TWS support legislation that works to strengthen several pieces of national legislation that protect wildlife across the country, but were weakened during the past administration. Specifically, we recommend that TWS focus their attention on the weakening of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations, Endangered Species Act, and Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Goals for 2021:

  • Establish a webinar series featuring Wyoming-focused topics including wildlife management, research, science communication, and legislative affairs.
  • Improve connections and communication between committee chairs and board members and making it easier for members to get involved
  • Recruit a new Chair for the Nominations and Awards Committee

Memorial Bear Fund:

  • The Memorial Bear Fund honors the memory of biologists Kirk Inberg and Kevin Roy and pilot Ray Austin, who were lost while conducting a grizzly bear flight in northwest Wyoming in 1991, as well as pilot Fred Reed who was lost in a plane crash in 1995. The fund grants an annual award to support research, habitat protection, education, and other projects for all species of bears.
  • While the fund is managed by the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation, the WY-TWS science committee reviews the proposals.
  • The board engaged in discussions about how to support the ongoing sustainability of the fund.

2021 conference

  • There is still a large amount of uncertainty about whether an in-person conference in November will be feasible. At this time the board is keeping options open for either an in-person conference or a virtual conference.

Daly Edmunds is the Director of Policy and Outreach for Audubon Rockies, covering both Wyoming and Colorado. Prior to joining Audubon, she worked for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the National Wildlife Federation/Wyoming Wildlife Federation.