The Wildlife Society adds to its trophy case

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The Missouri Western chapter of The Wildlife Society has been honored as Student Chapter of the Year for the North Central Section once again.

This award is becoming a bi-annual tradition for the organization. Western has been awarded this distinction in six of the last 10 years: 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014.

An organization is ineligible to win the award in consecutive years. However, thanks to an error in 2010, Western was honored in both 2009 and 2010.

“Its really important for me because it’s the years before that have won it too, and as long as I’m keeping people involved and we are constantly volunteering then we’ll continue to be getting awards,” President Carly Compton said.

The Wildlife Society also won International Chapter of the Year in 2011 and 2013. A chapter can only win the International Chapter of the Year once every two years. Since 2010, they have won every organizational award that they have been able to apply for.

Dr. Cary Chevalier, professor of biology and organization adviser, believes that the chapter’s success relies on how the students view the organization.

“I ponder often, the almost stunning consistent success of the student chapter. You look at it and we did a good job and okay, we did another good job. This is not an easy competition,” Chevalier said. “I finally think I’ve figured it out, I think the reason that we experience the consistent success that we do is that the student chapter is not viewed by me or by extension, the students, as just an an organization… It’s rather sort of more comparable to a capstone course.”

Western is the only student chapter in Missouri to ever win the International Chapter of the Year.

Chevalier has also been awarded the 2013 International Student Chapter Adviser of the Year. According to Chevalier, Western is the only university to ever win the International Chapter of the Year and have their adviser win that honor in the same year.

“The student chapter of The Wildlife Society is a professional development organization, it’s not a broad discipline social student group,” Chevalier said. “So if a student is majoring in something where they want to apply that to wildlife or conservation then the student chapter might be of use to them. But if they’re simply looking for an outdoor organization, if they want to go hiking or birding or camping, then this is not the organization for them. This is a professional development organization predominantly for wildlife conservation majors, but there are students who double major in journalism or computer science who want to take that skill set and work in the world or for organizations that ultimately do wildlife conservation.”

The society takes great pride in their service reputation and record. Since being with The Wildlife Society in the Fall of 2012, Executive Board Assistant Calvin Wakefield says he already put in over 1,000 service hours himself. He says last spring was his favorite service experience.

“Last spring, the CVC came up and they were collecting ticks and blood samples to study the Heartland virus that was discovered last year and I got to help out with trapping mesopredators like raccoons and opossums,” Wakefield said.

The Wildlife Society continues to be very active with their eyes on more awards in the future, but also more valuable experiences for members. The next award for The Wildlife Society to try to obtain is the 2015 International Chapter of the Year.

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