By Mia Salenetri
If you happened to encounter groups of students picking up dead birds at 4 a.m. last semester, you might have already met The Wildlife Society.
For 10 days straight this past fall, groups of UMD Wildlife Society members picked up 22 dead birds that had crashed into windows around campus as part of the Lights Out Baltimore initiative — a group that advocates for bird-safe building design and windows.
This was only one of the many events that The Wildlife Society Student Chapter at UMD has held.
The chapter is a student subset of the national professional organization that aims to “help people gain professional experience in the wildlife and conservation fields … through guest speakers, community events and different trainings,” according to Wildlife Society Vice President Sarah Lank, a junior Environmental Science & Policy major.
Another big event they had last fall was a weekend camping trip to Assateague Island, where they got to spend time together and learn about the different kinds of animals in the area.
A number of public speakers have attended the group’s meetings to talk about their different fields of wildlife study. Just last semester they welcomed a Washington, D.C. wildlife biologist, a grad student studying an endangered Maryland bird species and a member of the board of the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center.
They currently have partnerships with the Maryland-based Montgomery County Weed Warriors committee and the UMD Campus Arboretum to clean up the College Park area.
“We do fire retention pond restoration, invasive plant removals and stuff like that to help better the environment around campus,” said Lank, recalling the work they’ve done through these partnerships. Together, the groups have also restored green roofs and cleaned local ponds cleanups, and they plan to continue doing so throughout the semester.
The Wildlife Society also plans to continue their work with the Lights Out Baltimore push for migratory bird safety on campus.
“We’re currently working on a grant that we’ll submit to the sustainability committee to try to get funding to make more bird-safe windows,” said Sophia Hull, the club president and senior Environmental Science & Policy major Sophia Hull said.
The UMD Wildlife Society meetings and events are open to any and all students who are interested. Sophomore Environmental Science and Policy major Kate Hess, the group’s treasurer, stressed that it’s not just for wildlife majors; some students who frequent the events are not majoring in anything related to wildlife or the environment.
“We try to gear everything towards a skill, a resume building activity or having a guest speaker with a lot of relevant information,” Hull said.
The Wildlife Society UMD Chapter will be holding its next meeting on Feb. 28. Check out their Facebook page for flyers, photos and information about their upcoming events and meetings. You can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org to stay updated on the latest events.