Society for Conservation Biology

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Chapters Corner: Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Chapter of the Society for Conservation Biology (WSCB) promotes the science and practice of conservation in Wisconsin through networking events, lectures, workshops, and outreach. Our Chapter was established in 2014, and has grown to more than 300 members representing scientists, practitioners, graduate and undergraduate students, and higher education faculty across the state.

Wisconsin has a rich history of conservation – from the likes of Aldo Leopold and John Muir, to modern day conservation icons including Gaylord Nelson (the creator of Earth Day), Stan Temple (former president of the Society for Conservation Biology), and many others. WSCB aims to carry on this tradition, by providing resources for and fostering collaborative relationships among those working on conservation in Wisconsin.

Aldo Leopold's Shack. This conservation icon is located near Baraboo, WI.

WSCB focuses on connecting Wisconsin’s conservation community via events and outreach. Though our Chapter is busy preparing for the 2016 North American Congress for Conservation Biology to be held in Madison, WI this July, we are also hosting a variety of events this year, ranging from guest speakers and panel discussions, to restoration work days and happy hour networking events.

In January, WSCB organized a Conservation Science Communications Panel made up of communication practitioners and scholars for the purpose of having an open discussion on effective science communication. The importance of effectively communicating science to the public has been a recurring topic of discussion among the WSCB board of directors, and we were delighted to have such a strong turnout for this event.

WSCB frequently brings in guest speakers to discuss challenges and opportunities for conservation. Recently, we’ve welcomed Mike Carlson, executive director of Gathering Waters: Wisconsin’s Alliance for Land Trusts, Matt Reetz, executive director of Madison Audubon, and Tracy Hames, executive director of Wisconsin Wetland Association. Through these events, we hope to provide a more collaborative network for sharing ideas across conservation groups in Wisconsin. This is particularly important as Wisconsin has been challenged in recent years by state funding cuts to conservation, and these discussions provide a forward-looking vision on opportunities to leverage statewide conservation efforts.

WSCB 2015 BBQ. Our annual BBQ cook-out is a fun opportunity for members to connect over good food and good conversation.

Upcoming WSCB events include “Decoding the Conservation Congress”, a discussion on Wisconsin’s Conservation Congress and upcoming spring hearings, which are an important annual opportunity for citizens to directly participate in decision making related to fish and wildlife management in Wisconsin.  Another upcoming event is “Sifting the Future”, a presentation on the agricultural and ecological footprint of frac sand mining in Wisconsin. As a result of the last glaciation, the soils of western Wisconsin are rich in sand, which now supplies 75 percent of the country’s frac sand market with the recent expansion of hydraulic fracking in the Dakotas and other states.

We look forward to welcoming you to Wisconsin this summer – please come say hello at our exhibit booth! To find out more about WSCB, visit us at wisconbio.org.