EFTA goes Wild

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. -Albert Einstein

Last week, I was able to attend the 2014 Colorado Chapter of The Wildlife Society annual winter meeting in Fort Collins, CO.

Official name-tag!

Official name-tag!

Being able to attend this meeting gave me an opportunity to explore more areas within the field of conservation and discuss with professionals about how they started with an interest in conservation and how they developed into their current position.  There was an array of conservationists working professionally in governmental, state, and international groups along with graduate students in attendance to present their research.  The first day of the meeting, I attended the Landscape Genetics workshop which was hosted by researchers at both USGS and University of Waterloo.  I was introduced to landscape genetics during my undergrad in a conservation biology course.  While conservation biology is a ‘young’ field, the technological advances we have introduce an entirely new concept of how to view conservation biology.  The use of incorporating technology systems of GIS along with genetic information has allowed conservation biologists to recognize patterns of movements among species and better idea of human impact upon gene flow in a population.  Having taken a conservation biology course during my undergrad, I did find the workshop very interesting, however a lot of the technical methods were a little over my head.  The Greater Sage-Grouse is a species which has had a great focus from landscape genetics in regards to their species distribution.

If you are unfamiliar with this bird, find out more about them-along with Gunnison Sage-Grouse!

http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/birds/sagegrouse/

Due mainly to human impact, Sage-Grouse populations have been sorely effected and they are on consideration to be listed as an endangered species.  The work and research about these birds by landscape genetics will provide a lot of information for the decision on whether they will be listed as endangered.

The second (and final) day of the conference I attended was filled with a day’s worth of speeches about all things wildlife and conservation.  I enjoyed the morning session, “Crawling, Running, Flying…Wildlife Migration and Movement in Colorado and Beyond”.  During this morning session, I heard from conservationists involved with the National Parks Service, Rocky Mountain Wild, USGS, Fort Collins Science Center, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO), and CO Parks and Wildlife.  RMBO presented their work involving international programs which I really enjoyed because it compliments EFTA’s efforts in diversity outreach and our work throughout the Western Hemisphere.  The closing quote from this speech was,

“A healthy home for birds is a healthy home for all of us.”

I look forward to hopefully being able to attend more conferences!  In the meanwhile, back to training preparations for the shorebird training coming up in San Diego!!

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