Spirit Way representing Thompson at Wildlife Society conference

Spirit Way and Travel Manitoba have been named a gold sponsor for the Wildlife Society (TWS) conference that will be happening in Winnipeg on Oct. 17-21. This is an annual conference that has been happening for the past 21 years, and Ed Thompson, CEO of TWS, and it’s a great opportunity for Canadians. “The conference is one of the largest gatherings of wildlife professionals in the world, and our membership includes all sorts of wildlife professionals including educators who teach wildlife biology, wildlife managers who are in the field, and scientists. This conference is set up to provide close to 500 educational opportunities for them to come and learn, and enhance their professional development.”

It’s the first time in over a decade that the TWSconference has been held in Canada, and Thompson hopes to see over 1,500 participants. One of the two major discussions will be on the roreal forest, which the CEO believes will draw in a lot of attention from Canadians. 

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Volker Beckmann says having the chance to take part in the conference could help expand Spirit Way. “It positions Thompson in a new way to a North American wildlife and conservation sector. It will add credibility to our self-proclaimed designation as the Wolf Capital of the World. [Ed Thompson] stated initially this was a ‘bold statement’ on our part. We know that we can justify it because of the variety and innovative wolf initiatives currently underway by Spirit Way Inc. and the various Canadian universities and partners we are working with.”

Beckmann went on to explain that two American wolf organizations have endorsed the designation, and the gold sponsorship is being covered by Travel Manitoba, at a price tag of $10,000. 

Sprit Way will get visibility during the multiday conference by signage, an exhibit booth, talks and discussions about Thompson and Spirit Way, as well as a reception to network. 

Although the conference is taking place this year, Beckmann says it has been a long process to get the acceptance to take part. “We became aware that this conference was coming to Winnipeg a few years ago. Dr. Rick Baydack from the University of Manitoba was TWS president of the Manitoba chapter. He invited us to present our projects at the Manitoba AGM in 2012. Dr. Baydack is now on the Wolf Capital of the World Council. He is currently the president of the North American organization. He has been a supporter and ally in our wolf efforts.” Baydack has helped Spirit Way by getting in touch with professors, biologists and wolf experts as well. 

Along with Spirit Way and Travel Manitoba attending the event, 30 per cent of attendees are future wildlife workers, who are currently in post-secondary education. Thompson says this is a great way to network for future jobs, future employees, and future research. 

A plan and a budget are still in the works for Spirit Way, and they still haven’t decided how big of a team will head down south, but Beckmann says at least six will attend. 

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