2020 Annual Election
Voting is open through January 31, 2020.
The wildlife profession and we Western Section members stand in the forefront of humanity’s critical need to save the planet, or at least our part of it, from a host of threats. Our members serve in a variety of key roles, including as agency biologists, consultants, policy makers, natural resource managers, non-profit advocates, students, educators, and researchers. For many years, the Western Section of the Wildlife Society has effectively served its important role in supporting the diverse efforts of its members by offering opportunities for education, collaboration, and comradery.
I have benefited from my long-term membership and participation in the Western Section. Long ago, I served as a Chapter President and Section Awards Committee Chair. More recently my roles have been limited to serving as a session chair, workshop leader, and presenter at Section and Chapter meetings. Now, however, my other commitments have diminished, as my family has gotten older and I retired this year. So, I am ready to give more to the Section.
I am a fifth-generation Northern Californian. I have worked as a Certified Wildlife Biologist for most of my 40-year career. I received my Master’s at UC Berkeley, worked on the Lassen National Forest in the 1980s, and spent 25 years as an environmental consultant in Sacramento, before serving as president of a water resources consulting firm for 8 years.
Fifteen years ago, as my administrative role increased, I committed myself to developing an independent, self-funded conservation research practice. Since then, I have published over 50 papers on the population status, ecology, and conservation of several at-risk birds, including the Purple Martin and Tricolored Blackbird, and on migration and habitat use by Swainson’s Hawks and Turkey Vultures. I’ve also studied songbird use of native oaks in urban Sacramento, effects of West Nile virus on birds, long-term effects of fire on Sierran birds, and human disturbance effects on Bald Eagles.
I can bring relevant experience to overseeing the work of the Western Section. I just retired as President of a company with 55 employees. I currently serve on the Boards of two for-profit companies and previously served as Board Chair on two others. I also serve on the Boards of three non-profit conservation organizations.
I support the continuing roles of the Western Section in providing a variety of services to support our members in doing their professional work. These services include conducting quality annual meetings and continuing education, publishing Western Wildlife, and encouraging the use of good science and, at times, broadly supported advocacy in decisions affecting natural resources.
Over my many years with the Section, I have seen many profoundly positive developments. We are larger and more diverse. We are attracting large numbers of students and younger professionals. We are using innovative tools in genetics, statistics, animal detection and tracking, big-data population analysis, habitat modeling, and more. We have an outstanding set of professionals who manage our meetings, continuing education program, and finances. In short, we have become more effective as a profession and organization. And, we need to keep innovating and improving.
The range of conservation challenges we face is daunting, among them population growth and resulting land development and resource use, climate change and its effects on fire and water regimes, and massive increases in insecticide use, among many others – not to mention an increasing urbanized and digitally-insulated population and massive disinformation campaigns from vested interests.
As a Western Section President, I would work humbly but diligently to support the Section’s efforts to serve you and our vitally needed profession.
Elizabeth (Lizzi) Meisman
I attended my first Western Section (WS) Annual Meeting in February 2016 as a volunteer and with travel support from the California North Coast Chapter (CNCC) and Humboldt State University (HSU). While chatting with a professional mentor during a student affairs activity, I found myself looking around the room. At that moment, I grasped that I wasn’t simply joining a professional organization, I was joining a community of fellow students, professors, retirees, and professional biologists. I realized I had found where I belong. The WS is a community in which we lift each other up, rather than compete. I was in awe then and continue to be amazed by the efforts of our organization and its members to help develop this field.
Since attending my first WS Annual Meeting, I’ve been involved at every opportunity. In August of 2016, I attended the WS Executive Board Meeting as a proxy for the CNCC. Shortly thereafter, in December 2016, I graduated from HSU and was formally elected as the CNCC Representative to Section and have continued to serve in this role. Over the past four years, I have eagerly accepted other offers to serve the WS and the CNCC and people have sought out my expertise to serve on various committees, including serving as Co-Chair of the WS Student Affairs, Chair of the CNCC’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, participating on the Conservation Affairs and Professional Development Committees at both levels, serving as the official Professional Mentor to the HSU Conservation Unlimited Chapter, and coordinating student activities as well as judging of student presentations as a member of the WS Planning Committee for the Annual Meeting. Additionally, I have planned workshops at both the WS and CNCC, and am continually looking at ways to engage and support our entire membership at every career stage.
In addition to my participation with The Wildlife Society, I spent my time as an undergrad at HSU juggling being a competitive athlete; working as an orientation counselor, science tutor, peer mentor, and supplemental instruction leader; volunteering as a research assistant; and otherwise dedicating myself to my coursework. From my rowing team workouts to mentoring incoming freshmen, to leading study groups with my classmates, the common theme was my motivation to create and foster community. I would not have been successful as a first-generation college student had it not been for the many people who supported and challenged me along the way, and I am dedicated to paying this support forward by helping young wildlife biologists through my involvement with the WS.
Since graduating from HSU and working now as a biologist for a consulting firm, my life remains fulfillingly busy. I am passionate about being an engaged community member; as such I participate in long-term research, band birds at a local migratory station, and follow conservation issues throughout the Section and locally. My time working as a female biologist in the timber industry strengthened my communication skills and drove home how critical it is to effectively communicate the findings and importance of our work as scientists.
I bring a unique perspective to the role of President-Elect; because I joined the WS Board as a student and continued to serve as I developed into a professional wildlife biologist, I understand issues and concerns and priorities of students and early career professionals. I also bring solid experience of understanding the processes and priorities within the WS Board. My story serves as a testament to the benefit of engaging young professionals early on. We have the opportunity to develop this interface between fresh perspectives and experience. I bring a unique perspective, my dedication, and an immense amount of energy to the Western Section Board.
It is the job of members of The Wildlife Society to conserve and manage all wildlife. Each member brings a unique set of skills and perspective to this mission. Some have the responsibility of making decisions about how habitat should be managed to best meet the needs of a community of wildlife populations. Others may conduct research that allows managers to improve our understanding of how wildlife populations work or a population’s habitat needs so managers are better informed when they make decisions. Still others may have a more political role, working at the interface between government, NGOs, universities and other members of the general public. Finally, of course, many of us have the important mission of training the next generation of wildlife scientists and managers. A critical role of The Wildlife Society, and The Western Section, is providing a vehicle for bringing together and coordinating these various missions in the interest of wildlife.
I am approaching the end of a 35-year career as an educator and researcher (I became emeritus in July 2019) and seeking ways that I can continue to contribute to the wildlife profession. After completing my graduate degree at the University of California Davis, I worked for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Anchorage Alaska for a year before starting a 16-year tenure at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. During my last three years in Fairbanks I served as the Director of the Institute of Arctic Biology. In 2001, I and my family moved to Reno, Nevada to begin what has been an extremely rewarding period at the University of Nevada Reno.
Most of my research career and that of my graduate students has focused on environmental and anthropogenic drivers of the dynamics of wildlife populations, especially waterfowl and, more recently, sage-grouse. This work has included topics as diverse as the impact of winter habitat (eelgrass beds) on the subsequent reproductive performance of black brant, human harvest and gamebird population dynamics, and most recently impacts of transmission lines and livestock grazing on sage-grouse population dynamics. I have mentored 32 graduate students who pursued research questions like those I describe above. Many of these students work for state and federal agencies, and universities, and are themselves, making important contributions to the conservation of wildlife. I view these students as among my most important contributions to the wildlife profession and I was awarded the Western Section’s Barrett A. Garrison award in 2014 in recognition of my mentoring of students.
While most of my career has been in academia I have always made service a high priority. I served as Associate Editor for the Journal of Wildlife twice, and I recently served as Deputy Editor for the Auk for five years. I served as President of the Nevada Chapter of The Wildlife Society in 2011. I have served on several committees for both The Wildlife Society and the American Ornithologists’ Union. I am a Fellow of The Wildlife Society. In addition to these more formal duties, I have devoted a substantial amount of time to ad hoc conservation and management activities. I drafted research protocols for the California Energy Commission Wind Energy Policy Technical Review Team, the Oversight Committee of the Sage-Grouse Research Collaborative, and the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative. I served on the Nevada Governor’s Sage-Grouse Task Force and more recently on the Technical Review Group for Nevada’s Conservation Credit System for Greater Sage-Grouse, and the Expert Review Team, Habitat Suitability Modeling for Greater Sage-Grouse in Nevada. I have been actively involved with the Pacific Flyway in issues of waterfowl conservation and management. Aside from mentoring students, these conservation and management related activities have been the most rewarding in my career.
We are in challenging times for the wildlife profession with threats to wildlife coming from multiple directions. The Western Section has an important role to play in addressing these challenges. I would look forward to bringing my administrative experience, my experience with numerous conservation issues, and my experience in interacting with NGOs and state and federal agencies to the Western Section. It is essential that we continue to improve the application of science to conservation, mentor students, and train professionals to this end. I would look forward very much to helping guide the Western Section forward.