By Dr. James Cathey
The Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society held its annual meeting in Austin this past week and began a year-long celebration, noting the initial gathering 29 scientists and wildlife managers, who met and discussed forming the Chapter, 50 years ago. Founding members like Jim Teer, Jack Ward Thomas, Ted Clark, Caleb Glazner, Dan Lay, Bill Kiel and others were instrumental in the Chapter’s creation through The Wildlife Society and this first group of 29 grew to over 700 people, who attended the most recent meeting. Many of our faculty lead or participated on committees, and our students have a strong track record of presenting research findings.
Our students and colleagues earned several honors. The Texas A&M Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society Quiz Bowl Team won the annual competition for the second year in a row, beating stiff competition from around the state. At least 25 of our undergraduates attended the meeting, as encouraged by Dr. Tom Lacher, their advisor. The Student Chapter’s President, Takona Tipton, also won the top undergraduate from Texas A&M University, as well as the Outstanding Wildlife Student Scholarship. Students from the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management won the Plant ID Contest and had top 3 performing individuals.
Ken Cearley, Extension’s Programs Specialist in Amarillo, TX was honored as the Educator of the Year and Dr. Dale Rollins received accolades for the Outstanding Achievement award. The Outstanding Technical Publication award was earned by Extension Associate, Blake Alldredge, who led co-authors Larry Redmon (SCSI), Megan Clayton (ESSM) and Jim Cathey in the development of “Native grassland monitoring and management”. Blake, Mark and Kristen Tyson, and Dan Gaskins in Extension also received notoriety for the top 3 educational videos.
Dr. Selma Glasscock, provided leadership for developing the Jim Teer Conservation Leadership Institute and introduced its first cohort of 21, early career wildlife professionals, who will hone skills to work through political, social and economic aspects of natural resource management. Denise Harmel-Garza, Nova Silvy, Roel Lopez, and Jim Cathey aided the development of the institute and will serve as instructors throughout the year.
The chapter appreciated and noted the fine work of Dr. Doug Slack, who served as the Chapter’s Executive Director for the past 3 years and will have to work hard to fill this important role. There is room for additional involvement by WFSC faculty and students. You can learn more about those opportunities, the Jim Teer Conservation Leadership Institute and the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society by visiting http://tctws.org.