Members of The Virginia Tech Wildlife Society hosted teams from 22 regional colleges and universities for the Southeastern Wildlife Conclave March 12-15 at the W.E. Skelton 4-H Education Center at Smith Mountain Lake. The event was packed with presentations, speakers, workshops, field trips, and competitions of physical, intellectual, and artistic prowess, including identifying and keying out botanical and biological specimens, demonstrating proficiency with rifle and bow, maneuvering an obstacle course, navigating an orienteering course, and fielding questions in the marathon-session Quiz Bowl. It also featured 15 workshops run by graduate students and faculty as well as professionals from partner agencies and organizations.

The host chapter cannot participate in the competitions, but the Virginia Tech students, who spent months planning and organizing every detail, maintained an active presence as they worked together to staff, judge, and facilitate the event. “Staging an event of this size requires dedication, passion, and a desire to satisfy the more than 400 students, faculty, guest professionals, and volunteers who attended,” said Ashley Lohr, president of Virginia Tech’s student chapter. “The days were very busy, and at the same time, incredibly fulfilling.”

“There is quite a bit of competition at the conclave, but it’s all in good fun,” said Emily Ronis, conclave chair. The University of Tennessee team took first place overall, followed by the University of Georgia and Frostburg State University.