Our 2018 Partnership Travel Award Winner was Jordan Holtswarth, a masters student at Tennessee Tech University, who was sent to OFWIM conference in Oregon as a FITS Ambassador. Here is what Jordan had to say about her trip!
Thanks to the Fisheries and Information and Technology Section, I was able to attend the 2018 Annual Organization of Fisheries and Wildlife Information Managers (OFWIM) meeting. At the meeting I was able to present some of my results from my MS research on habitat suitability modelling for freshwater mussels. I was also able to listen to a number of presentations about how to use technology in different fields besides just biology or fisheries. A variety of interesting topics were discussed including a new Social Fishing App from ReelSonar, Inc., the use of Esri’s Story Maps and Survey123, and different ways of handling large amounts of data. To learn more, all presentations can be found at
http://www.ofwim.org/?page_id=2116. OFWIM’s Conference Planning Committee scheduled an amazing field trip in which we were able to visit a restoration site on the White Salmon River, learn how to use UAV technology to count salmon reds, and tour the inside of the Bonneville Dam. While at the Dam, we got to see the Bradford Island Fishway and Herman the 70-yr old white Sturgeon. Since it was my first time in Oregon, I thought it was great that OFWIM helped us get out of the conference room and really experience the beauty of the area. After attending the conference, I continued working on my MS thesis and will be graduating from Tennessee Technological University in Summer 2019. While finishing my thesis, I have started working for the Illinois Natural History Survey as a project manager on a project involving freshwater mussels and crayfish. In Fall 2019, I will be starting a PhD position at the University of Illinois in their Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences department with Dr. Eric Larson.
One of my favorite parts of the conference was being able to meet and get involved with others scientists that have similar interests to both me, and FITS. After joining the Communications, Membership, and Outreach Committee, I became OFWIM’s new newsletter editor. I believe continuing and strengthening the connection between OFWIM and FITS could provide new and innovative ways to incorporate information and technology into fisheries research.