We can’t have such a successful society without being financially healthy. The Wildlife Society’s CEO Ed Thompson shares the status of the society at this morning’s Member Meeting.
“Not only did we have a great year, but your society is on stable ground,” Thompson said.
Some highlights? There has been a 25 percent improvement of net assets from last year and there’s been a 5 percent increase in membership since last year.
“We’re responsibly spending our member dues and have an impressive suite of member benefits,” said TWS president John McDonald.
The Give Back program has also helped with membership. 16 percent of members that are nominated from Give Back have joined the society.
“Imagine if we could get members to take a moment to nominate an individual,” Thompson said.
If 50 percent of our members nominated an individual for the free six-month membership through Give Back, we could add 642 members to the Society, he said, and we could be over 11,000 members strong.
The Members Meeting is now open to member questions or comments.
“We’re probably going to consider being a bit more conservative,” said TWS President John McDonald, in regards to the budget.
One member asked what the rules are for money being drawn from the permanent reserve fund.
“We can’t just take money in and out of it as much as we want,” McDonald said. “There are rules we have to follow.”
It’s a Council decision to move money out of the permanent reserve, he said, but if money taken out of the fund goes below 50 percent, a payment plan has to go into place to pay it back.
What’s going on with the TWS policy intern policy internship program at TWS headquarters? Council and TWS staff are considering bringing it back.
“We are figuring out a process to scope out opportunities and figure out how to best prioritize things, and that’s on our list for consideration,” Thompson said.
What are The Wildlife Society’s objectives in the policy arena?
Keith Norris, director of the wildlife policy and programs, shared some things the policy department is working on including horse and burrow management.
“We’re doing what we can to change policies to get this population down to an appropriate management level.”
In fact, there’s an ad hoc subcommittee that takes a look at the full suite of potential policy issues and recommends important policy topics to consider, Norris said.
“It’s not that the policy work has been dispensed with,” immediate past-president Bruce Thompson clarified. “Currently, there isn’t policy work done by interns that had been previously done.”
Concerns for students and early career professionals has also been brought up at the meeting. There isn’t currently a mandated minimum wage within the wildlife profession, member Anna Butler brought up. Also, one member was concerned about the certification process, and noted that the specifications are too narrow to accept biologists.
“Many students out there would benefit from loosening number of credits in each category,” he said.
Kudos to The 1000 program! One member commented that he is happy to be part of The 1000 and suggests that other professionals contribute $100 at minimum as well. The donations are used to help fund member benefits and programs outlined in the Strategic Plan.