The wildlife faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point developed the concept for the Wisconsin Center for Wildlife (WCW) several years ago and more recently, Dean Christine Thomas secured funding for an Endowed Chair in wildlife to increase the outreach efforts of the institution. The two efforts were merged and in September 2015, developed synergy with the hiring of Scott Hygnstrom, Douglas R. Stephens Endowed Chair in Wildlife and Director of the WCW. The position description included responsibilities for developing opportunities for undergraduate training and employment as well as facilitating programs for professional development. Our wildlife students will be better prepared to meet the demands of the profession if they are able to obtain wildlife-related work experiences and employment opportunities prior to graduation.
In July 2015, the appointment of the Endowed Chair was expanded to include responsibilities for public outreach and engagement through UW-Extension. Regular outreach activities for private landowners and citizens will expand awareness and knowledge of wildlife issues and further bolster the reputation of UW-Stevens Point as a valuable source of information and service within the community. Training programs, workshops, online materials, and other resources will be developed to increase the knowledge and skills of professionals regarding current and emerging wildlife management issues. The WCW will be an important mechanism at the UWSP College of Natural Resources for enhancing the education of our undergraduates, strengthening our ties with stakeholders, and extending the reach of our programs into the professional wildlife community.