Meeting Minutes (3/10/16)

We had a very successful meeting with lots to discuss. First, these are a few things to be aware of:
  1. We are holding a field techniques workshop in which our officers will instruct you on how to set up common traps, walk transects and utilize other techniques commonly practiced in wildlife studies. This will take place on Saturday, 3/26 at 1 p.m. in Oakwood Cemetery. However, we will be meeting on the quad. If you'd like to join us, please sign up here.
  2. It is that time of year folks. Time for our ANNUAL T-SHIRT CONTEST! Are you artistic? Do you love The Wildlife Society? Would you like to see your work of art go down in history (for at least a year)? If you answered yes to at least two of these questions, then submit a design for the next TWS logo! It will be printed on T-shirts that will be sold at Beast Feast as well as to club members. Please e-mail your design to me at before the Tuesday after spring break (3/22). The winner will receive cookies and a FREE t-shirt with their design. 
  3. Beast Feast is next month! We need meat and we need dishes. Please sign up here, if you'd like to donate either one. Donors will get free passes to Beast Feast.
  4. We would like to set up certification courses for Trapper and Bowhunter education but we can only do that if there's enough interest so please let us know if you'd be interested in one or both courses on this form. These certifications are good resume builders and could help you land a job after graduation.
  5. If you already have a NYS hunting, trapping or fishing license then you could be eligible for the Handov Family Memorial Scholarship. It is offered to students enrolled in an accredited college with a GPA over 2.5. The student must also be a resident of Onondaga county. The scholarship is awarded to two students, each receiving $500. For more information, click here.
After announcements, we had ESF student Devan Rensinger give a short presentation about her experience with Round River Conservation Studies, an organization that offers study abroad programs. Devan chose to participate in the Chilean Patagonia research being done for the Chilean Forestry Service otherwise known as CONAF. Specifically, surveys of plants, huemul deer, vizcacha, guanaco, birds and habitat were taken in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park and the Chacabuco valley. Devan reported the experience being very hands on and gave her a better understanding of the methods being taught in her classes. The experience was worth 15 credits and filled many requirements including Field Experience. For more information about Round River, click here.

We got our group photo but with horrible lighting so that will have to be worked on a bit before we unveil it.

Last but not least was Dr. Paul Jensen's presentation on "Ecology of Forest Carnivores in Adirondack Park." Dr. Jensen is currently working for the DEC as the furbearer biologist of Region 5 and has been leading research on martens and fishers in the Adirondack Forest Preserve since 2003. When he began his research on these species, not much was known about them. We now know that martens are restricted to the Adirondacks even though they used to have a state-wide distribution in the past. Also martens mostly use subnivean foraging to hunt for prey. In contrast fishers have now become widely distributed across the state, with the exception of the area running from Buffalo to Rochester, and mostly forages above the snow.
The observations that led to Dr. Jensen's research were the number of pressures on these two species: Fishers have a very similar diet to coyotes, these predators tend to consume seeds when in high abundance but seed trees go through pulses, seed tree pulses also affect the prey that consumed seeds, competition between martens and fishers, occasional predation of martens and fishers by coyotes and abiotic conditions such as snowfall. This meant that there was a need for a top-down analysis as well as a bottom-up analysis. The objective of Dr. Jensen's studies in regards to martens were to characterize the ecological niche of martens in northern hardwood forests, as in the key environmental drivers of distribution. The trapping data of martens mostly contributed to this study by providing locations of where martens were found as well as the biological data of most individuals directly from the carcass supplied by trappers. From this data it was discovered that NY has a very isolated population of martens when compared to the entire range, the populations persisted in the Adirondack Park at or above 1800 ft., and outside of the core location, only juveniles were found which suggests that they just don't last to adulthood outside of the core habitat.
Through modeling, it was found that probability of coyote presence and march minimum temperatures affected both marten and fisher populations. It was also found that fishers did best outside of marten territory, most likely due to population suppression by the coyote causing the marten to be released from fisher predation.
To get a better understanding of the ecology of martens, live-trapping was done as well as telemetry (both ground and aerial). Live traps were baited with sardines and jelly. Camera traps and hair snares have also been used on fishers and martens. Martens were aged, sexed, ear-tagged and radio-collared. From the data it was found that male territories are twice as large as the females' and there was no selection between forest stands.
If you'd like to help with some of the research being done by DEC, check out the Texas A&M job board. If you have a particular interest like furbearers, you should seek out the lead DEC biologist of that wildlife group. Dr. Paul Jensen will be leaving DEC to start his exciting new job with NPS in Florida so he will be unable to offer any research positions this summer but he recommends being politely persistent.

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