For over 18 years the Missouri Western Wildlife Society has attended the Missouri Natural Resource Conference.
This year’s conference was held earlier this month at the Lake of the Ozarks.
The conference was held Feb. 4-6, and served as a place where different chapters,and industry professionals could share their research. The conference had a multitude of events for students to attend including a job fair, plenary sessions, student presentations and an award show.
There was also a state chapter meeting held at the conference. In this meeting, the students got to see what the other chapters had been working on and be recognized for events attended throughout the year. They got to learn about the different experiments conducted not only around the state but all over the country as well.
At the state chapter meeting, Missouri Western was recognized for having the largest chapter attending with 24 students. Six of these students had the honor of presenting posters they had created covering different studies conducted or what they learned on internships.
Among the students attending was Jason Kusilek who presented a poster on research he and six other students had conducted on the campus goose population. Kusilek said that a lot of time goes into the research and execution leading into the posters.
“We located the nests using GPS and spiked the eggs, that way it doesn't hatch and the numbers go down over time,” Kusilek said. “Then you put all your findings on a big board and explain it to everyone at the conference in a walk by session”.
James Filley created a poster based on his time interning with conservation agents in Northwest Missouri, where he hopes to one day work. Filley said the conference provides valuable opportunities.
“You get to see different opportunities and employers. At the job fair you get to see all different types of things in conservation biology or wildlife and others,” Filley said. “There's so much out there that it was kind of mind boggling.”
The Wildlife Society has attended the conference every year since it was formed in 2002 and is currently led by biology professors Dr. Cary Chevalier and Dr. Mark Mills. Both professors have missed conferences but have ensured students made it every year since the chapters formation. Dr. Chevalier said that the Society can play a major role in getting students a future career.
"It's a good place for students who are interested in natural resources, which predominantly but not exclusively, are majoring in wildlife conservation and management here,” Chevalier said. “One of our students now works for the Conservation Federation of Missouri. And of course we have a lot of alumni that are working for agencies around here."
With the conference behind them for another year the Society now has its sights set on upcoming projects. The chapter does many different types of events ranging from prairie restorations to restoring habitats in an Ozarks underground laboratory. They also recently participated in the Share the Harvest Program, where the Wildlife Society transported donated venison to the Second Harvest Food Bank.
For more information on what the Wildlife Society does and how to join visit https://orgs.missouriwestern.edu/clubs-and-organizations/wildlife-society/.