The California North Coast Chapter of The Wildlife Society
Spring 2005 Volume 9, Number 1
Presidents Report Joel Thompson
Spring is in the air and the field season is upon us. This is the time of year that we all get buried under heavy workloads. On the bright side, it is the field season that most of us love, so the workload is tolerable and often welcomed. It is during the field season that people often stumble upon great ideas for workshops (big or small) that might be of great interest to our local membership. It is also a season where individuals can rise to the top and do great things for wildlife. If you find yourself impressed with a student, coworker or conservationist and feel their efforts are worthy of recognition, please make a note of it and submit those individuals to our executive board so we may consider them for an award from the chapter. The same goes for those great workshop ideas. As a local chapter of TWS, we often struggle to get people involved. Over the years, there has been a small, core group of individuals that seem to do 90% of the work in keeping our chapter active. Even if you can’t find the time to participate as a committee member or officer, you can help us out with great ideas. Each year we search for new workshops that might serve our membership. Each spring, we present awards at our spring banquet for outstanding students, professionals and conservationists. It takes virtually no time at all to nominate someone for his or her efforts or to submit an idea for a workshop. In addition, if you have a nice story to tell or an exotic wildlife encounter, write up a brief article and submit it to our newsletter editor for inclusion in The Marten. All of the contact information for the executive board and committee chairs can be found on our website. Check it out at http://www.tws-cncc.org. With a membership of 125 local biologists and students, we are among the larger local chapters. We try to stay active by conducting workshops and holding social events to get students and professionals together. We have been recognized by the Western Section of the Wildlife Society as chapter of the year several times in the recent past. Only through new ideas and the involvement of new people, will the California Northcoast Chapter of TWS continue to flourish. Please help your local chapter and get involved in any way you can. Whether it is an idea for a workshop, an award nomination, joining a committee or running for office, every little bit helps. In the meantime, enjoy the field season. I know I will.
Annual Spring Banquet Planned for Saturday April 9, 2005
Spring has sprung and that means it is time for the annual TWS Spring Banquet. If you have attended past banquets, you know that the food is always good and our invited speakers always entertain us with interesting research. This year will be no exception as Emil McCain, Humboldt State University graduate student, will present his research on mountain lions and jaguars in southern Arizona. It promises to be extremely interesting and you will not want to miss it. We will follow tradition of past years and have the Ugly Mug Contest. This is our attempt to conserve on plastic drink ware and we ask that each of you bring your own drinking vessel. The uglier the better! You may even win a prize for bringing forth the “Ugliest Mug”!
So come and mingle with old friends and make new friends on Saturday April 9, 2005 at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge in Arcata. The banquet starts at 6:00PM and dinner will be catered by Chapala Café in Oldtown Eureka. Please participate in our raffle for a chance to win many coveted prizes donated by a number of generous local merchants.
For more information, please see our web flyer at http://www.tws.cncc.orf/pages/banquet_2005.htp.
Western Section Student Wildlife Conclave huge success! Dominic Bachman Western Section Student Affairs Committee
On March 12-15th 2005 Humboldt State University Wildlife department hosted the 40th Annual Western Section Student Wildlife Conclave. This was the 8th time HSU has hosted the event since its inception in 1965 and this is the first time we have had the chance to show off the new wildlife building. All of the other universities were impressed with the building and all of the specimen cases. We really set the bar for future conclaves with our great coastal climate and diverse fieldtrips all within only a few minutes drive.
Nine universities were involved in the event and 7 states were represented including Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho, New Mexico, and three Universities from Texas. The student conclave is comprised of several competitions including the quizbowl, art, and student presentations. We also had several spectacular field trips including an offshore pelagic tour out in HSU’s research vessel the Coral Sea. Other field trips included small mammal trapping, a 100 species birding trip (they got 117!), a forensic cougar necropsy, and a herpetology trip in the community forest. One of the most popular events was searching out spotted owls on local private timber. Nearly everyone attended this trip and was able to see an owl being “moused.”
As always one of the main highlights of the conclave was the student quizbowl, a jeopardy style wildlife trivia competition. Since Humboldt State was hosting the event, were not able to compete; however, the event was run entirely by HSU students. I personally have been a student of the hosting college one time before and have attended eight student conclaves. It is my opinion that this was by far the smoothest one I have ever seen with the largest diversity of questions. Some of the other schools were actually complaining that we had too many specimen bonus questions (this was perhaps due to our huge wildlife museum?). I was a little disappointed that the Utah State University team missed our “live specimen” of Cannabis sativa! In the double elimination tournament it came down to the very last game, with last year’s Western Section champions, University of Idaho, easily beating out New Mexico State.
One of my favorite parts of this conclave was the really diverse amount of posters and presentations. I cannot ever recall going to a conclave that had student presentations going all day long! We also had some really great evening socials and a truly inspiring keynote address from Dr. Rocky Gutierrez of the University of Minnesota during our awards banquet. I also wanted to say I am really proud of everyone that put a lot of effort into making this a success, especially our advisor Dr. David Kitchen and our conclave chairman Sporty Pair.
Report from the Western Section Gary Falxa Western Section Representative
As you may know, the Western Section (CA, NV, HI and Pacific Islands) had some hard financial times in 2004. Thankfully, this appears to be over, after austerity measures by the section, and a successful annual section meeting this January. The section has a healthy balance of operating cash in the bank. For the chapter, this means that the section expects to start repaying the $5,000 loan from our chapter, by the end of 2005. For those interested in more details, read on below, otherwise, here are some other highlights:
The Section has a full palette of professional development workshops planned for the next few years. Upcoming events include (details at http://www.tws-west.org/):
Wetlands and Wildlife Conference, April 7-8, Santa Rosa
Western Pond Turtle Workshop, April 16-17, Rohnert Park
Tracking and Nature Awareness Workshop, April 26-27, Sacramento
Look for a bat workshop, in conjunction with North American Symposium on Bat Research in Sacramento, October 2005
Not TWS, but the Cooper Ornithological Society annual meeting will be at HSU, June 14-19
Best wishes for 2005! I hope to see you at the Spring Banquet!
More than you ever wanted to know….?
Here is a short history of the section’s financial woes and recovery. This is distilled from several meetings of the section’s executive board, about how the section dealt with the immediate financial problems, and worked to ensure its long-term financial health:
The board appointed Mike Chapel as acting Treasurer, and will pursue bylaw changes to make the treasurer position permanent. This is needed, for when the section laid off all paid staff last spring to reduce costs, we lost our exec director, who had functioned as treasurer.
Mike reviewed past section financial records, to understand how the section ended up in financial straits. In most of the past 10+ years, the section lost money, but a few years were very profitable. Buoyed by good years in 2001-02, the section undertook an ambitious professional development program (workshops, symposia), that required paid staff to maintain. It turns out that 2001-02 was an anomaly, and in 2002-03, income dropped, and staff costs exceeded the section’s income from workshops and other sources.
Consequently, the section dropped into debt in early 2004. Laying off paid staff, and generous loans from several chapters (including $5,000 from CNCC), allowed the section to pay off debts and obtain needed operating cash.
The section board concluded it is too risky to rely on revenue from workshops and other professional development to cover large fixed costs, notably paid staff. The section will stay small, working within the budget of known income (dues and annual meetings), and will rely on volunteers, and small, short-term contracts for assistance on specific projects. We will continue to offer diverse professional development opportunities, in lower-risk ways. This may include partnering with others who would help put on workshops and assume some risk in exchange for profit sharing. This worked recently for the Burrowing Owl and California Tiger Salamander workshops. We may not make as much money this way, but the section can continue to provide workshops while minimizing financial risk.
A Note from the Editor Wendy Mellberg
I have been involved with the North Coast Chapter of the Wildlife Society since 2000 when, as a Humboldt State University undergrad, I served as the Student Representative. In the two years following, I served as the chapter Treasurer, and now I am editing our on-line newsletter, The Marten. The NCCTWS has been an invaluable resource for me and I have been afforded a number of opportunities as a member of the chapter, including travel and research scholarships. I have also made some very good friends. Whether you have been a chapter member for many years or have just joined the ranks, you know that our chapter is one of the most active chapters in the west. We consistently offer quality workshops and learning opportunities, and our social mixers are always lots of fun.
I would like to urge all members to become involved to whatever extent possible. Run for office, teach or assist with a workshop, attend a board meeting and share your ideas, or submit an article to The Marten. Any help that you can offer would be appreciated more that you know. So the next time you find yourself wondering how you can become more involved in the community, I hope you will think about the NCCTWS and contact any one of the board members listed on the website.
Membership Report Joel Thompson Membership Committee Chair
At the close of 2004, chapter membership was at 126, with roughly 60% professionals and 40% students. As of this issue of The Marten, there are 72 members current in 2005. This is a good number for this time of the year. Because membership renewals come in throughout the year, it looks like chapter membership will remain strong in 2005. Remember, annual membership is only $5, with a 5-year membership costing only $20. Attend one mixer or the spring banquet and you will have gotten more than your money’s worth. Membership also entitles you to discounts on workshops and if you are a student, the ability to apply for travel grants and scholarships. Where else can you get so much for so little? Join or renew your membership today. Applications can be downloaded from the website at http://www.tws-cncc.org.