Dale E. Gawlik, Ph.D., CWB
Dr. Dale E. Gawlik
Department of Biological Sciences
Florida Atlantic University
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431-0991
Ph.D. in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University, a MS in Biology from Winthrop College, and a BS in Wildlife from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.
Director of the Environmental Sciences Program and Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Florida Atlantic University.
Involvement in the Florida Chapter of TWS:
I have been active in the leadership of the Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society since 1999, holding elected positions of Vice President, Southeast Section Representative, Secretary, and Board Member at Large. In 2002, I worked with the other Chapter leaders to help craft the first Chapter Strategic Plan, the blueprint for progress over the subsequent decade. Also in that year I served as Program Chair for the spring conference. My involvement with the Chapter also includes service as Chair of the Membership Committee and member of the local Arrangements Committee for the 2008 International Conference of TWS in Miami.
Involvement in National TWS:
I have served as Chair and member of the Aldo Leopold Memorial Award Committee, member of the Honorary Membership and Special Recognition Service Award Committee, Chair of the Restoration Working Group, and as a referee for the Journal of Wildlife Management.
I am running for President-elect of Florida Chapter of The Wildlife Society because the position will allow me to guide the Chapter further down its path to excellence. In my mind, the important question of how we can excel at serving members and promoting science-based wildlife conservation starts with an assessment of the Chapter’s strengths. In times of tight budgets, we can make the biggest strides by acknowledging our weaknesses but building most on what we already do well.
The Chapter is emerging from a decade of rapid changes with significant achievements but facing tough economic times. In 1999 when I first became active in the organization, the Chapter of 31 years took a bold step forward and hosted its first annual conference. In the 10 years that followed, the annual conference series flourished, the Chapter established a student scholarship, established two achievement awards, offered workshops, developed a strategic plan, improved wildlife advocacy capabilities through a partnership with the Florida Wildlife Federation, received the TWS Chapter of the Year Award, and hosted the 2008 Conference of TWS in Miami.
These accomplishments relied on an extensive and constantly evolving network of engaged people. This human network is the Chapter’s core strength. The Florida Chapter is comprised of people with a wide range of skills and wildlife interests, who represent a wide range of employers and several schools. Surveys of the membership have shown that members put a high value on professional networking. It is no wonder. Members already know that their peers are a great asset and they want more of it. As President-elect, I would foster participation in Chapter events by members, particularly by our students and new members who might not yet have a hand in leadership.
One way to increase the involvement of members is to make it easier for them to participate in dialog and meetings, even if they cannot attend in person. Just as scientific journals are using new technology to adapt to a rapid shift from paper to electronic print, the Chapter must take better advantage of communication technology, particular web-based video links. A willingness to adopt e-communication and e-commerce capabilities has been a strength of the Chapter, setting it apart from many other state chapters. I would build on that willingness to explore new communication technologies looking for cost-effective ways to broaden participation by members in dialog and meetings.
In the same spirit of innovation was the Chapter’s recent decision to develop a partnership with the Florida Wildlife Federation to stay better informed of developing state conservation and policy issues. The partnership immediately gave the Chapter strength in conservation and policy information when it would otherwise have been a weakness to be bolstered from within. I would seek to identify other opportunities for partnerships that could improve our ability to influence wildlife conservation and stewardship. I believe this position and the others articulated above will help the Chapter excel at its official mission, which is to serve and represent wildlife professionals in promoting wildlife conservation, biodiversity, and resource stewardship.