2018 Election

2018 Annual Election

Voting is open through February 2, 2018.  The following items are on the ballot this year:

Link to online ballot


Matthew Bettelheim
Matthew BettelheimNominee for:  TWS Western Section President-Elect, 2018

Education:  Bachelor’s of Science, U.C. San Diego, Biology: Ecology, Behavior, & Evolution (2000)

Present Position:  Senior Wildlife Biologist – AECOM (formerly URS) (2007-Present)

Former Positions:  Wildlife Research Biologist – Nomad Ecology (2006-2007); Wildlife Biologist/Project Analyst – Sycamore Associates, LLC (2002-2006); Sports Fisheries Port Sampler – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (2002-2002); Fish and Wildlife Scientific Aide – California Department of Fish and Game (2001-2002)

Wildlife Society Activities: Taxa-Derby, The Wildlife Professional (Editorial Board), The Wildlife Confessional (anthology), WildC.A.T. Workshop (2016, 2017), Western Pond Turtle Workshop: Ecology and Conservation (2005, 2015), SFBA Chapter Gourmet Greens & Beasts Feast (2014, 2015, 2016), Apps for the Biologist Workshop (2017), S.F. Bay Area Chapter President (2013), S.F. Bay Area Chapter Representative to the Western Section (2014-2016), S.F. Bay Area Chapter Advisor (2017)

Other Professional Affiliations: National Association of Science Writers, International Society for the History and Bibliography of Herpetology, Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles

Principal Professional Interests: Herpetology (western pond turtle), History/Natural History, Science Writing

Views:  This last year has been a hiatus for me after I stepped back to take on more of an advisory role in The Wildlife Society. In that time I’ve done some ruminating on how I’d like to continue my involvement with TWS in the years to come, which is why I’m excited to toss my hat in the ring again as your candidate for TWS Western Section President-elect.

In case you’ve forgotten, you might remember me from such exploits as the infamous Taxa Derby, about which we are now collaborating to make it a “feature” in future rollouts of the iNaturalist app. I was one of the brains behind The Wildlife Confessional, an anthology of short stories by wildlife biologists, about wildlife biologists, for consumption by the public at large – an accomplishment we expect to roll out to the public any time now. I’m a regular presenter at our annual WildC.A.T. (Wildlife Biologist Construction Awareness Training) workshops. I organized the ever-successful 2005 and 2015 Western Pond Turtle Workshops, one of my many passions. And – for better or worse – I was admittedly the mastermind behind the Rock the Vote (also, Auk the Vote/Least Tern Out the Vote/Rock (Wren) the Vote) campaign to encourage more chapter participation in our voting process (please don’t hold it against me…).

Some of the goals I envision for the upcoming years are to grow The Wildlife Society brand through public outreach, and to implement some new bells and whistles during our annual meeting to foster camaraderie and professional networking. I also have an exciting idea about the theme for the 2019 annual meeting – Death and Taxas: Extinction and Speciation During the 6th Mass Anthropocene Extinction – remembering not only the western wildlife species we’ve lost, but also celebrating the rare and endangered species we’ve discovered (or are waiting to be found) and that we are working so hard to protect.

And perhaps most importantly, following in the footsteps of the American Geophysical Union’s recently-adopted “Scientific Integrity and Professional Ethics” pioneering policy that defines harassment as scientific misconduct, I would like to re-evaluate what changes and policies we can adopt at the Western Section level and beyond to identify the systemic problem of sexual harassment and curtail it in our profession, and to provide better support and resources for our members when offenses take place.

I maintain that our Section’s successes are measured by those who participate and contribute with passion and professionalism. With your support, I hope to lead the Western Section to continued successes in the coming years.

Katie Smith
Katie SmithNominee for:  TWS Western Section President-Elect, 2018

Education: BS Wildlife, Fish and Conservation Biology UC Davis 2007; MS Biology, GIS New Mexico State University 2012, PhD Ecology, Conservation Management UC Davis Expected Winter 2017

Present Position: Scientific Aid in the Suisun Marsh Unit at the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and PhD Researcher at UC Davis.

Former Positions: Marine Biologists/Fisheries Observer; National Marine Fisheries Alaskan Groundfish Program (2009-2011); Scientific Aid, Sportfish Unit, Region 3, California Department of Fish and Wildlife (2007-2009); Overnight Coordinator; Sacramento Zoo, Education Department (2006-2008)

Wildlife Society Activities: Chapter Representative, Sacramento-Shasta Chapter (2014-2017); Dues Increase Ad-hoc Committee, Western Section (2015); Founding Chair Diversity Committee, Western Section (2016-2017); Student Affairs Chair, Western Section (2017-Present); Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse Symposium, Sacramento-Shasta Chapter (2017); Student Alcohol Policy Ad-hoc Committee, Western Section (2017)

Other Professional Affiliations: Voting Member & Subcommittee Chair, UC Davis Graduate Group in Ecology, Diversity Committee (2012-2017); Chair, Society for Conservation Biology Davis Chapter, Policy Committee (2014-2017); Committee Member, The American Society of Mammalogists, Conservation Committee (2017-Present); Committee Member, The American Society of Mammalogists, Diversity Committee (2017-Present); Reviewer, Ecosystem Health and Sustainability, (2017); Reviewer, Southwestern Naturalist (2012)

Principal Professional Interests: Conservation Ecology, Wetland Ecology, Endangered Species Recovery, Mammalogy (Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse), Conservation Behavior

Views:  Hello all. I am Katie Smith. I’m the one who shows the adorable salt marsh harvest mouse videos at the annual meeting every year, if you can’t get enough of those little guys, you’re in good company. I’ve been a rat girl since I was a child; as soon as I understood what an endangered species was, I knew that my calling was to work with endangered rodents. Today, I am living the dream, integrating rigorous academic research with on-the-ground management to help further the recovery of the salt marsh harvest mouse. But you may have noticed that while I will graduate in a few months, I am still a PhD student. And you may be asking yourself, why the heck would we elect a graduate student to lead our professional organization? Well, I’ll tell you.

When I graduate, I will have completed all of my undergraduate and graduate work essentially within the past decade. This means that I have spent my career fully immersed in the most state of the art tools and techniques for wildlife conservation. Now that the Western Section has a dedicated Workshop Coordinator, we have the opportunity to bring the most technologically advanced tools and techniques to your fingertips. I have planned many symposia, workshops, and technical trainings with TWS and beyond, and using this experience I will push for Western Section training opportunities to move beyond the standard methods that we have been covering for years, and delve into more advanced technologies. For example, while modern wildlife tracking using GSM/GPS can avoid the dilemma of few data points associated with VHF, the opposite extreme of numerous auto-correlated data points, presents its own analytical challenges. Wildlife genetics are also developing at a rapidly accelerating pace. Metagenomics, eDNA, and SNPs aren’t just buzzwords, they are tools that are becoming more accessible to wildlife managers every day, and the Western Section should be providing you with the training you need to utilize them. We offer counseling on paper resumes to students every year, but why not for online professional networking such as LinkedIn and Quora? Fortunately, many of these potential training opportunities lend themselves well to online instruction. This means some workshops will not be limited by low local enrollment, and members from throughout the Section can attend together.

A big part of integrating these new tools and techniques into our field will be ensuring that we support our students and early career professionals. These members are studying the most advanced survey, statistical, spatial analysis, and other modern wildlife conservation methods and it will benefit all members of our field to help them to find a place beside us. As a co-founder of the Diversity committee and chair of the Student Affairs Committee I have worked for years to support our young and underrepresented members. If you elect me I will continue to support these members, to put their skills to work while modernizing the professional development and outreach activities of TWS Western Section.