Dr. Paige Schmidt was recently invited by Louisiana State University’s School of Natural Resources to provide a seminar. Her presentation, “The role of science in the National Wildlife Refuge System: examples from Oklahoma and Texas” was well received. The examples she discussed included snowy plover monitoring at Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge (NWR); evaluation of environmental DNA to determine the distribution and abundance of aquatic karst species at Ozark Plateau NWR and the Ozark Highlands Emphasis Area; standardized surveys of white-tailed deer at 3 refuges; the development of a duck-energy-model to determine how management decisions influence energetic carrying capacity for wintering waterfowl at Sequoyah NWR; and evaluation of forest and landbird monitoring data at Little River NWR. In addition to her presentation, Paige met with undergraduate and graduate students to discuss internship and career opportunities in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Many faculty were particularly interested to know what skills she felt were most important for recent undergraduates so they could ensure students leaving their program would be well-trained for today’s natural resources issues.
Previously, Paige attended the 23rd Annual Wildlife Society Conference, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Paige is an active member, former Chair, and current Secretary/Treasurer of TWS’ Native Peoples’ Wildlife Management Working Group which is composed of wildlife professionals and students, tribal and non-tribal, who recognize native people’s cultural, spiritual, and ecological connections to the land. TWS and the Working Group have been exploring ways to promote the development of indigenous wildlife students; both believe one of the most-effective ways to support indigenous wildlife students is to give them an opportunity to attend and participate in TWS’s Annual Conference – the largest gathering of wildlife professionals in North America. TWS, with support from multiple federal agencies, implemented a competitive Native Student Professional Development Program. Individuals selected for this program receive grants to cover costs of conference attendance along with a one-year membership in TWS and the Native People’s Wildlife Management Working Group, subscription to The Wildlife Professional and The Wildlifer, discounts on TWS peer-reviewed publications, and access to the TWS website, blog, career center, mentoring program, and other online resources. During the conference, participants are mentored through the working group. Paige has served as a mentor to program participants for several years and considers this to be one of the most important aspects of her attendance at the annual conference.