Membership in Professional Societies
The Fish and Wildlife Service is committed to encouraging our scientists to take advantage of the many benefits of joining professional societies, including continuing education, networking, and becoming leaders in our profession as officers or board members.
The Service recently developed a new policy on "Participating in Professional Societies and Non-Federal Organizations" to provide guidance and clarity on the Service’s support of employee membership and participation in professional societies. Here are a few summary facts:
- It is Service policy that membership, involvement, and participation in professional societies are important in maintaining and enhancing our capabilities in professional resource management, developing a professional workforce, enhancing the visibility and public perception of the Service and its employees, and improving the effectiveness, morale, and development of our workforce.
- Service employees are encouraged to maintain memberships in appropriate professional societies (e.g., The Wildlife Society, the American Fisheries Society, the Ecological Society of America, etc.), and managers are expected to encourage professional affiliation and membership. Unfortunately, Federal law currently prohibits the use of appropriated funds to pay for individual memberships, with very limited exceptions (for example, it is allowable to accept an individual membership when it is included in the registration fee of a conference or symposium and the fee may not be reduced by refusing the membership).
- The Service may purchase a society membership in its own name, if the membership provides benefits to the agency itself.
- Service employees may attend society meetings in their official capacity and be reimbursed for travel and other expenses.
- Service employees may serve as officials and officers in professional societies, using their official agency affiliation, and may be reimbursed for travel and other expenses.
- The Service may use appropriated or other funds to pay for expenses for employees to obtain professional credentials.
Please visit the policy website for complete details and forms to use when participation includes fiduciary duty.
Learn more about the Service's joint MOU with The Wildlife Society, American Fisheries Society, and USGS Coop Units here.