Canadian Section of the Wildlife Society Newsletter
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November 2015
Vol. 8 Issue No. 5
Dear CS Members,
It seems as though there was a formatting error in today's newsletter and the newsletter was too large to view on a screen without scrolling left and right. We have found the problem and resolved it. Please enjoy this revised copy of the November 2015. Our apologies for any inconvenience. 

Regards, The Newsletter Committee. 


To foster excellence in wildlife stewardship through science and education among wildlife professionals in Canada

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At the Conference....

More than 200 people attended the Canadian Section / Manitoba Chapter reception at the annual TWS conference in Winnipeg this year. The evening was a huge success! Thanks to our sponsor, Lotek Wireless!!!
Pictures from Winnipeg #TWS2015
President's Message
Mark Boyce
Canadian Section President
Department of Biological Sciences, 
University of Alberta
The much-anticipated Winnipeg-2015 Annual Conference of TWS is now history.  And what an event it was!  The conference attracted 1,564 wildlife biologists and students to a well-planned event in downtown Winnipeg.  We owe a debt of gratitude to conference organizers Merlin Shoesmith and Don Sexton, and 48 others who served on the Arrangements and Program committees.  Our very own Rick Baydack from the University of Manitoba finished a busy year as President of TWS during the meeting.  This is only the second time that the annual conference has been held in Canada, and the first time that such an event was the culmination of a TWS President’s tenure.  Canada was well represented at the meeting and one of the most popular social events was the Canadian Members and Friends Reception, attended by over 200 wildlifers--literally standing-room only.  Thanks to Lotek for sponsoring the event and for hosting a draw for a radiocollar.
And we had students!!  This TWS meeting had terrific attendance and participation by students including many from Canada.  They were excited, keen, and obviously passionate about their future careers in wildlife.  The Professional/Student Mixer was well attended and offered a great opportunity for students to meet professionals from whom they could learn about career and graduate student opportunities.  As is often the case, the Quiz Bowl went to a team from Humboldt State University.  Yet, our great team from Lakehead placed third.  These events are always fun and the questions always remind us how little we know.
Bob Warren gave his address as last year’s Aldo Leopold Medal winner, and Jim Nichols was announced to be the new recipient.  This is the highest award given to wildlife professionals.  TWS offers a number of awards for service to the profession and to the Society.  Evie Merrill ( is chair of the Canadian Section Awards Committee and is seeking nominations.  You also can find more details about awards at our TWS website,
I chaired the Program Committee, but I did little of the work.  Art Rogers organized the symposia, panel discussions, and workshops while Brent Patterson handled all of the contributed paper sessions.  The program was almost overwhelming with 8-10 concurrent sessions running during the conference.  We all found it impossible to catch all of the papers that we wanted to hear.  Most entertaining was the Ignite! session with quick 5-minute presentations which were entertaining.  Alberta’s Director of Wildlife, Matt Besko, was the MC for Ignite! keeping us laughing (but I continue to worry about his threat to auction off my hat!).  Naturally much of the excitement at the annual conference is what happens in the halls and around the coffee urn.  Most of us found ourselves engaged in heated conversations about all things wildlife.
Evie Merrill and I participated in the post-conference tour to Churchill during the peak of polar bear viewing season.  We got to ride in Tundra Buggies and helicopters and got a behind-the-scenes tour of the polar bear jail where trouble makers are held until Hudson’s Bay freezes sufficiently that the bears can head out in search of seals.  We had a tragic accident one evening when one of the staff at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre discharged a cracker shell from a 12-gauge shotgun to frighten a female with cubs away from the facility.  The strong wind that evening caused the cracker shell to strike the bear discharging under her belly causing her to bleed to death.  The cubs were tranquilized by Manitoba Government staff the next morning and two days later were transferred to the Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg.
We are in the throes of organizing our next AGM for the Canadian Section which will be in the Maritimes, in beautiful St. John’s, Newfoundland in association with the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution meetings, July 7-11, 2016.  Note those dates on your calendar.  Details will follow as we finalize our arrangements with the Memorial University of Newfoundland.  This is the first time that we have met in Newfoundland, and we hope that we can recruit additional members from the Maritime Provinces to be members of the CSTWS.

Canadian Section Representative's Report

Art Rodgers
Canadian Section Representative to TWS Council
Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forestry

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Merlin Shoesmith, Don Sexton, Rick Baydack, Erin McCance, Dennis Brannen and the many, many other members of the Arrangements Committee for the TWS 22nd Annual Conference in Winnipeg for making it one of the most successful meetings of all time! The Conference Program was overloaded with two plenaries, the IGNITE! Session, 10 concurrent sessions that included 21 Symposia and 36 Contributed Paper and Poster sessions, 23 Working Group Meetings, 9 pre-conference Workshops and 4 local field trips (all of which were totally sold out), and much, much more. As if that weren’t enough, more than 1,554 people attended the conference; exceeding last year’s turnout, and included more than 300 Canadians (those lemurs are going to have a tough time doing better than that in Raleigh next year!). All of this bodes well for the wildlife profession in Canada and makes me very proud to be your representative on TWS Council. Thank you.
I also want to thank Mark Boyce, Dee Patriquin, Darren Sleep, Dennis Brannen, Meagan Hainstock, C-Jae Breiter, Stephen Petersen and all of those folks who helped organize the Canadian Section/Manitoba Chapter Reception. There was an overwhelming turnout of more than 200 people, continuing our Canadian tradition of making this one of the most well-attended receptions at the annual conference. And once again, thanks to Lotek Wireless Inc., especially Oana Bantus and Mario Henriques, for their continued sponsorship and support of our reception at the annual conference – we really couldn’t afford it without their help – thanks!
It was very gratifying to see Canadians honoured with TWS Awards during the conference. Tom Nudds was the recipient of the TWS Special Recognition Service Award and Lu Carbyn received a TWS Distinguished Service Award. Both have had outstanding careers and advanced our knowledge of wildlife science both nationally and internationally while serving the needs of TWS, and especially students, at all levels of the organization. Congratulations to both of you and thanks for your lifetime contributions to the wildlife profession and TWS.
It was also great to see the participation of Canadian students in the annual Quiz Bowl. Teams from the University of Winnipeg, University of Northern British Columbia and Lakehead University competed against 15 other teams from the U.S. You all did very well and it was especially rewarding to see Lakehead University make it to the final round against perennial favorite Humboldt State – that is an amazing feat, which proves Canadian students can compete against the big American schools – way to go!!
As we move into winter, it’s time to start thinking about nominating someone or some group for TWS Awards. As I have indicated many times, I’m sure we can find Canadian nominees for the Fellows Program, TWS Wildlife Publication Awards, Chapter and Student Chapter of the Year Awards, Student Chapter Advisor of the Year Award, Excellence in Wildlife Education Award and the Group Achievement Award. Nominations for these awards may be submitted to TWS by individual members, Sections, Chapters or Working Groups. And don’t forget the TWS Distinguished Service Award that will be selected by the Canadian Section. If you would like to suggest a nominee for these or other TWS awards, or you would like assistance in preparing a nomination, please contact Awards Chair, Evelyn Merrill (, me, or any member of the Executive as soon as possible for further information. Many of the Awards have a February 15 deadline but some are not due until March 15, so don’t hesitate to get working on your nominations NOW and let’s make sure our Canadian colleagues get the recognition they deserve! See the list of awards and nomination details at
As always, if you have any concerns or ideas about how TWS can better serve your needs, please let me know – my “Inbox” is always open. For now, enjoy the turning of the leaves and the first snows of winter. Cheers.

Art Rodgers


Congratulations to the teams from the University of Winnipeg, University of Northern British Columbia and Lakehead University who competed against 15 other teams from the U.S. in the TWS student Quiz Bowl.  

Lakehead University made it to the final round against perennial favorite Humboldt State and we are so proud – way to go!!
Congratulations to our Canadian Section Student Travel Award winners!  Check out some of their experiences in Winnipeg at the Annual TWS Conference. 
Kristin Denryter
Ph D. Candidate
University of Northern British Columbia

Attending the 2015 TWS conference in Winnipeg was an incredibly positive experience from the plenaries on the first day to the Manitoba social on the last evening.  After giving a talk on one part of my research (food habits of caribou), I was able to engage in discussions with professionals in government and industry regarding the implications of this work.  I also had the opportunity to network with a myriad of professionals from both Canada and abroad and learned about new techniques that will be useful as I progress through the rest of my research.  Additionally, I engaged in a number of thought-provoking discussions with other students and post-doctoral researchers who are all excited about the same types of research questions as me.  Coming from a small university, opportunities like this to discuss ideas are profoundly beneficial.
In addition to being engaged in academic discussions and attending countless interesting talks, I did find time to exhaust myself with friends, both new and old.  With the UNBC quizbowl team I had many adventures at the networking events – including a great time at The Night at the (Manitoba) Museum social.  Several of us also enjoyed exploring Winnipeg and even found a giant Inukshuk sculpture near the Manitoba Legislature during lunch one day.  We also took advantage of an opportunity to obtain fudge from one of the vendors at the conference, but the catch was you had to decide which two species would go extinct out of a list of 12 and it was definitely tougher than you'd think.  All in all, the conference and the city of Winnipeg offered more than I could have anticipated.  I left feeling invigorated and excited about my current (and potential future) research, which is in part thanks to a student travel Canadian Section of TWS that helped make my attendance possible.


Megan Ross
Master's Student
University of Saskatchewan
TWS Saskatchewan Chapter Vice President

As an undergraduate student studying at the University of Manitoba I was able to be a part of the excitement of learning that Winnipeg would host a Conference that would require two years of planning and hard work. At that time, I knew from discussions around my faculty what a tremendous honour this was and how many wildlife professionals would be visiting our City. I just knew that I had to attend despite not know what I might be doing in terms of school or employment when that time came. 


Fast-forward two years, and I find myself in a neighboring Province at the University of Saskatchewan as a Masters student. As the Conference date approached and I set my plans in place, I could not wait to see what was in store for my first TWS Annual meeting thanks to those dedicated individuals back home. As wellI was excited for other out-of-Province or out-of-Country attendees to see what Manitoba has to offer both in terms of Wildlife and City life!  


On both a personal and professional level, this conference was a huge success for me. I overcame nerves, improved my confidence in public speaking and was able to introduce myself and have meaningful scientific conversations with wildlife professionals with similar research interests from across North America. Upon arriving at the RBC Convention Centre, I was a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size of the program alone! Such a large number and variety of talks offered concurrently was going to make deciding where to go very difficult. That first day, I participated in the Known-Fate Survival Modeling course which, although not directly applicable to my research, was extremely informative and provided several tools for my growing wildlife researcher’s toolkit.  


The following day, after the morning’s plenary on why wildlife matter, I sat in primarily on the Conservation and Management of Birds session where I myself presented my undergraduate research project that looked into spring nutrition of midcontinent lesser snow geese with the introduction of population reduction measures. At first I was a bit nervous but, once I settled in, it was a positive experience overall. That night I enjoyed unique networking event at the Manitoba Museum where I explored displays, spoke with old friends who I had studied with during my undergraduate degree and met professionals and students in the waterfowl community who had listened to my talk.  


had also prepared a poster of my Master’s research for The Student Research In Progress Poster Session. This presented an opportunity to discuss my methods and preliminary results one on one with interested Conference attendees. I was lucky enough to receive some excellent comments and also advice while discussing my future plans for employment and interest in PhD programs. I took the time to read many of my fellow students posters and was impressed with the great diversity in research interests that existed!  


Throughout the week I enjoyed attending talks that were both related and unrelated to my research. I was particularly motivated to attend sessions that highlighted statistical methods and their usefulness to particular data types or sampling designs. I also chatted with students belonging to Chapters in the United States and Canada and gathered a few ideas that the Saskatchewan Chapter (for which I am the Vice President) could implement to increase student involvement and perhaps double as fundraising initiatives for future activity offerings. 


As this was my first exposure to such a large, inclusive and all encompassing wildlife Conference, I found it to be fantastic learning experience. I earned valuable insight, obtained ideas for ensuring the success of future presentations from a variety of good examples set by other students and professionals and made connections that will hopefully lead to lasting academic relationships. A big Thank You to The Canadian Section of The Wildlife Society for their financial support which allowed me to attend! 

Caroline Seip
University of Northern British Columbia
My recent trip to the TWS Conference in Winnipeg was an invaluable experience for learning, networking, and of course having fun! On my first day in Winnipeg I participated in the urban wildlife workshop where I learned about management of urban deer, geese and other wetland species in the city of Winnipeg. All of the speakers at this workshop were extremely captivating and it was great to get outside and see some of the wilderness in and around the city. For the rest of the conference I enjoyed attending many talks, plenaries and networking events where I met several interesting people working in fields of interest to me and had great discussions about research and other opportunities in wildlife. Presenting a poster of my research was a great opportunity where I was able to receive plenty of feedback and discuss ideas with professionals working in my field of research. Perhaps my favourite part of my time in Winnipeg was attending field trips to the International Polar Bear Research Centre and to Oak Hammock Marsh; being from British Columbia it was amazing just to admire to sheer vastness of the prairie ecosystem and all that it has to offer.  Through all of these experiences I had a great time meeting new friends from around North America, but also becoming closer with friends from my own school, as we enjoyed many field trips and events together. One of the most memorable times with my fellow UNBC students was competing in the Quizbowl on Tuesday night, in which we were excited just to be able to compete, and even more excited to win a game (Go Caribou Cliffhangers!).

To everybody who worked so hard to make this conference possible I would like to say thank you from myself and the other UNBC students who attended. We all had such a great time in Winnipeg that we will never forget!
Lakehead University Chapter

The Lakehead University contingent to The Wildlife Society Conference left Thunder Bay at 5:45am for our flight to Winnipeg. When we arrived we found a Tim Hortons and then hustled to our workshops scheduled for 8am. Our approach to the conference was to learn about as many species as possible so as a result we learned about, woodland caribou, greater sage grouse, wild boar, beavers, snowshoe hare, and black bear. We also attended each field trip. We especially enjoyed the trip to the International Polar Bear Research Center where we learned about the realities of bears coming on land in Churchill and the efforts to protect human and animal lives. We enjoyed the student-professional networking event and the night at the Manitoba Museum. The most exciting part of the trip was Quizbowl night. Lakehead entered a team of rookies and we made it through three rounds to get to the finals to play Humboldt. Ultimately, we came in second place out of eighteen teams!

The Lakehead University student chapter also has some interesting events planned for this year. Some of which include planning a speaker series, a winter camp, participating in a Christmas bird count, and community service projects with Girl Guides of Canada and the Lakehead District Public School Board.
Manitoba Chapter

Exhausted, but elated is probably the best description of the Manitoba Chapter right now. The conference kept us very busy, but we were happy to welcome many friends and colleagues from near and far. As a Chapter, we would like to thank Canadian Section members from across Canada for joining us here in Winnipeg.  

As president of the Manitoba Chapter, I would like to recognize the work of the Local Arrangements Committee who have been planning for over two years now. Merlin Shoesmith,Don Sexton, Erin McCance, and Rick Baydack (past-president) did a great job of organizing this conference from the outset to the wrap up. Sincere thanks go out to them, as well as the other many key players including Brian Joynt, Rob Officer, Serge Scrafield, Chris Smith, Dave Walker, Rachelle Normand, Jonathan Wiens, Leslie Goodman, Lauren Hayhurst, Alex Miller, C-Jae BreiterAgnès Pelletier, Jim Roth, Eric Melvin, Dennis Brannen, Mark Clarke, Tara Wuennenberg, Pete Hettinga, Gabrielle Leo, Derek Kroeker, and Christina McDonald.  

A major benefit of all this hard work is that a portion of the money raised from this successful conference is going back to the Manitoba Chapter. We are pleased to announce that we will use these funds to create a scholarship for student members at the University of Winnipeg. This will coincide nicely with the formation of a new Student Chapter at the University of Winnipeg, and complements the existing Richard C. Goulden Memorial Award at the University of Manitoba. Given the importance of students to our chapter, our goal is to establish awards at all universities and colleges that offer natural sciences programs in the province. 

Alberta Chapter 


The ACTWS has announced its annual conference in scenic Drumheller, Alberta, March 4-6 2016. Details are at This conference, sited in one of the richest dinosaur fossil finds in the world, merges evolutionary ecology with wildlife management. We ask: How can understanding past extinctions provide context for current conservation issues in the Anthropocene? How are wildlife evolving within our rapidly changing environment, and how does this understanding inform our expectations for the future? How are wildlife management/conservation organizations adapting to modern challenges, or how should they be? We will explore past extinctions and contemporary evolution, the lessons they provide about adaptation, and how these lessons can be applied to modern conservation.
The ACTWS is also developing a relationship with MITACS, a non-profit organization that helps to fund students working hands-on with applied research organizations. The nature of this relationship is being developed, but holds the promise of providing hands-on experience in wildlife ecology to graduate students, on issues of direct important to the Wildlife Society and its chapters. We will know more about hoe this work in coming months.


Jason T Fisher, President

Saskatchewan Chapter 


The Saskatchewan Chapter of the Wildlife Society held their 1st Annual "Science in Saskatchewan Meet and Greet" to facilitate networking and collaboration among Saskatchewan fish and wildlife professionals. The meeting was well attended by a wide variety of fish & wildlife professionals from academic, government, industrial and ENGO backgrounds. Over a wonderful lunch at the Craik Eco-Center (provided by the gracious and longtime TWS member Lynn Oliphant) folks were given time to share information on ongoing fish and wildlife projects in Saskatchewan, as well as to identify research and management challenges currently in the province. Overall the meeting was a positive step towards building a stronger fish and wildlife community in Saskatchewan, made possible by the collaborative effort of our local chapter of TWS.

Visit the Canadian Section website to learn more about TWS awards and to nominate a deserving Canadian wildlife professional. 

Aldo Leopold Award
Caesar Kleberg Award for Excellence in Applied Wildlife Research
Diversity Award
Group Achievement Award
Special Recognition Service Award

Fellows Program
Distinguished Service Award
Jim McDonough Award
Honorary Membership
Chapter, Student Chapter and Student Chapter Advisor of the Year Award

Rusch Memorial Game Bird Research Scholarship
Excellence in Wildlife Education Award

Wildlife Publication Award

2015 Awards Committee Chair: Evelyn "Evie" Merrill
Contact Evie for more details:


Brought to you by the Education Committee of the Canadian Section of The Wildlife Society, the 2015/2016 Webinar Series is covering some excellent topics this year:


Ethics, Wolves and Management - Alistair Bath, Memorial University - Nov 27,  11:00-12:00 central time

An Ecological Overview and Threat Assessment for Feral Pigs in Canada - Ryan Brook, University of Saskatchewan - Jan 22, 12:00-1:00 central time

Human dimensions of Wildlife Management - Kristen Leong, US National Parks Service - Feb 26, 12:00-1:00 central time

Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge in Wildlife Management - Donna Hurburt, Acadia University - April 1, 12:00-1:00 central time

For more information on the webinar series contact:

This bird is known for it's long distance migration from its Arctic breeding grounds to its Antarctic wintering grounds! Approximately 40,000 km or 25,000 mi. What is the name of this bird?

Answer at the bottom of the newsletter.


  1. MMM Senior Ecologist
  2. Delta Waterfowl - Ontario Programs Manager


  1. MSc: Animal Movement and Space Use - Mississippi State
  2. MSc: Long Term Effects of Forest Management - Mississippi State
  3. Post-Doc: Habitat Selection and Movement Ecology of Feral Wild Boar - University of Saskatchewan
  4. Post-Doc: Waterfowl Population Biology in Arctic Canada - University of Saskatchewan
  5. PhD: Sandhill Cranes in the Rocky Mountains - University of Montana Avian Sciences Center
  6. MSc: Contaminants in Arctic nesting shorebirds - University of Saskatchewan and Environment Canada
Trivia Answer...   Arctic tern, Sterna paradisea

Do you have a great idea for a newsletter trivia question or other newsletter content? If so, email Laura Trout ( 
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