NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The Wildlife Society, an international professional organization of leaders in wildlife science, named the Stephen F. Austin State University student chapter as its national 2020 Student Chapter of the Year.
The annual award recognizes exceptional achievements by student chapters in the promotion of professional standards, outreach and education, as well as advocacy for conservation policy decisions.
“To be recognized across the nation is a huge compliment to our officers and students,” said Jake Hill, forest wildlife management major and president of the SFA student chapter of The Wildlife Society. “It’s a testament to the quality of our college, our forest wildlife program and the university itself.”
Earlier this year the chapter received statewide recognition when it was named Student Chapter of the Year by the Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society.
Hill said during the past year the student chapter focused on developing its student membership as active wildlife professionals.
One of the chapter’s most public initiatives was the development of a policy program to advocate for the bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, which would make supplemental funds available to states for the management of wildlife most in need of conservation. These efforts included writing letters and conducting education campaigns, communicating with state representatives and partnering with other conservation organizations to advance the bill.
In addition, the chapter amplified partnerships with other conservation organizations, such as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, the National Wild Turkey Federation and other smaller nongovernmental organizations.
This spring, the chapter completed a wetland restoration project with Conservation Equity Partners, a local SFA alumni-owned environmental consulting firm. Through this partnership, the chapter planted more than 5,000 trees and gave away approximately 10,000 trees to the public.
“The students involved with the SFA student chapter of The Wildlife Society are outstanding ambassadors for SFA and are well known for their willingness to serve the profession and the community,” said Dr. Hans Williams, dean of SFA’s Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.
The SFA chapter also donated a portion of its annual fundraising proceeds to assist a newly formed student chapter of The Wildlife Society at another Texas university.
“This award recognizes the hard work of the highly motivated and professional students we have in our program,” said Dr. Daniel Scognamillo, associate professor of forest wildlife management and faculty advisor for the SFA student chapter of The Wildlife Society.
Winning chapters receive a plaque, as well as a $1,000 travel grant to attend the annual Wildlife Society Conference. The name of the chapter also will be added to a permanent plaque on display at The Wildlife Society’s headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland. The SFA student chapter will be recognized at the national conference held virtually in September.
To learn more about the SFA student chapter of The Wildlife Society, its mission and current initiatives, email firstname.lastname@example.org.