Committee Members 


Merlin Shoesmith

Membership Committee Chair
Merlin Shoesmith, Ph.D., CWB, Retired, Manitoba Sustainable Development

Merlin began working for the Province of Manitoba in 1971 as a Big Game Research Specialist.  He retired from his government career in 2001 as Assistant Deputy Minister, Resource Programs.  From there, he went on to work as an instructor of graduate courses in ecosystem management at the University of Manitoba and chaired several graduate student committees until 2007.  In full retirement, Merlin continues to be active in The Wildlife Society and participates in graduate student research projects.


Justine Josephson-Laidlaw

Membership Committee Chair
Justine Josephson-Laidlaw 

Justine is Master of Environment student at the University of Manitoba, her current research is focused on the nesting habitat, home range and spatial ecology of urban Merlins (Falco columbarius) in the city of Winnipeg. Previous work has focused on the development of wildlife management strategies for birds of prey, places special emphasis on the importance of citizen science and has worked closely with local rehabilitation centres. Justine is the current President of the Manitoba Chapter of TWS, serves on the CSTWS Certification Committee, and previously served as CSTWS Student Representative from 2017 to 2019.


Don Barnes

Membership Committee Ontario Representative
Don Barnes CWB®

In 2013, Don retired from Lakehead University after 40 years of service, where he worked to develop their first fish and wildlife program within the Faculty of Natural Resources Management.  Over the years, he has made every effort to become involved in wildlife proposals with special emphasis on furbearer biology and management. In 1997, he completed a Master of Science degree researching and publishing on beaver dam ecology. He has been a professional trapper in northwestern Ontario for 53 years. This practical perspective, coupled with his academic background at Lakehead, has allowed him a unique opportunity to interact with students, trappers, First Nations, forest companies, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) in many research and management initiatives.

Being a university educator and a member of The Wildlife Society (TWS), both since 1974, his interest has always centred on student involvement culminating with his mentorship of the TWS Student Chapter at Lakehead University. He has maintained professional status within TWS by receiving CWB designation in 1999.  Don has been involved in such working groups (WGs) as the College and University Education WG and the Native Peoples Wildlife WG. Currently, he is a member of the Hunting, Trapping, and Conservation WG. Don is also a Director with the Northwestern Ontario Fur Trappers Association (NWFTA), the Trapper Representative and member of the Forest Management Team for the MNRF’s Dog River Matawin Local Citizens Advisory Committee.  Don holds memberships with the Ontario Fur Managers Federation (OFMF), Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), and the Northern Ontario Sportsman Alliance (NOSA).