NGRREC Staff Shine at Wildlife Society Meeting

Article by: Jen Young, NGRREC/L&C Marketing and PR,


EAST ALTON, IL – Three National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRRECsm) staff members were among the experts featured during the 2022 annual meeting of the Illinois Chapter of The Wildlife Society (ICTWS).

The three-day meeting was held April 10-12 in the Commons on Lewis and Clark Community College’s Godfrey Campus. It featured 18 talks and 20 poster presenters, who discussed topics pertaining to wildlife monitoring and management, disease, ecology and more.   

NGRREC had three staff, Phil Rathz, Jacob Decker and Melissa Schindler participate in the poster session.   

Decker, a recent Lewis and Clark Community College (L&C) graduate and member of the NGRREC Habitat Strike Team, won first place in the undergraduate student category for his poster highlighting his research utilizing trail cameras, which he completed last summer during his time as an NGRREC intern.

“It was my first ICTWS annual conference meeting,” Habitat Junior Assistant Jacob Decker said. “Being able to present my research poster, getting feedback and comments from other members was a great experience.”  

The hybrid event incorporated both in-person and virtual components for the first time, and hosted a total of 93 participants.

“We had a great turnout for this meeting” said Justin Shew, the Illinois chapter’s president, and conservation program manager at NGRREC. “It was great to hear from participants how impressed they were with the campus and event space. A huge thank you to Brian McKinney, L&C’s stage production technology coordinator for helping with the virtual component. The hybrid option for the meeting would not have been a success without his assistance.”

A dozen students will be awarded travel grants from money raised at the silent auction to offset expenses associated with attending this conference as well as next years, including registration costs. Monetary prize awards were also given to four students, two oral presenters and two poster presenters.

For more information on the Illinois Chapter of The Wildlife Society, visit or contact Shew at (618) 468-2843.

National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC)

Founded in 2002 as a collaborative partnership between the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Lewis and Clark Community College, NGRREC is dedicated to the study of great river systems and the communities that use them. The center aspires to be a leader in scholarly research, education, and outreach related to the interconnectedness of large rivers, their floodplains, watersheds, and their associated communities.

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