Important contributions to bird conservation were recognized May 29, 2014, during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., focusing on partnerships and federal stewardship. The event was held to spotlight International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), which is coordinated by Environment for the Americas and serves as a hemispheric celebration of birds.
For its project “Managing Raptor-Human Conflicts to Promote Safety and Migratory Bird Conservation “ the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA APHIS) received the Presidential Migratory Bird Federal Stewardship Award from the Council for the Conservation of Migratory Birds. From 2004 to 2013, the USDA-APHIS conducted a national program with the goal of reducing human-wildlife conflicts associated with raptors, including many species of conservation concern such as bald eagles, peregrine falcons and ferruginous hawks. The award annually recognizes a single project or action conducted by or in partnership with a federal agency.
Partners in Flight (PIF) Awards for Exceptional Contributions in Bird Conservation also were recognized at the event. The awards laud outstanding bird conservation achievements throughout the Americas in the areas of communications, innovative leadership, insightful ecological investigation, lifetime achievements and sound land stewardship.
“I congratulate the award winners for their vision, dedication and exceptional commitment to protecting birds,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “As we recognize International Migratory Bird Day, the nation can celebrate and enjoy the many birds we value and love.”
The 2014 PIF award winners are:
Cecilia Riley: Lifetime Achievement Award – In her 17 years as executive director for the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory (GCBO), Riley has grown GCBO to be the recognized authority on bird conservation around the Gulf of Mexico. Riley embraced new partnerships beyond the Gulf of Mexico, and her foresight and leadership enabled GCBO to invest $1.6 million in coastal stopover habitats in the United States and half a million dollars for land purchases in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, Bolivia, Guatemala, Dominican Republic and Chile as well as $800,000 for habitat conservation along the Texas coast.
Dan Casey: Leadership Award – Casey works as American Bird Conservancy’s northern Rockies conservation officer. Casey served six years as chair of Montana Partners in Flight and is a past chair of the Partners in Flight Western Working Group. He authored the 2000 Montana Bird Conservation Plan and was named 2006 Montana Conservationist of the Year. He has served on the technical committees of the Prairie Potholes, Northern Great Plains and Intermountain West joint ventures. Casey currently is engaged in leadership efforts to initiate and coordinate protection of long-billed curlew populations and breeding habitat throughout western North America.
Ken Meyer: Investigations Award – Under Meyer’s leadership, the Avian Research and Conservation Institute conducts problem-solving research on rare and imperiled birds that stimulates management action and enhances public appreciation for science-based conservation planning. He is a key player in many conservation initiatives including those focused on swallow-tailed kites and white-crowned pigeons.
Pronatura A.C.: Stewardship Award - Pronatura A.C., a Mexican non-profit organization founded in 1989, has increased awareness of resident and migratory birds. Their efforts have been crucial in the implementation of conservation actions in Mexico and in Central American countries. For more than 20 years, Pronatura A.C. has carried out a long-term monitoring program of migratory raptors and waterbirds, one of the most ambitious programs of its kind in Latin America. Pronatura A.C. also participates in a number of initiatives to promote coffee production that encourages bird conservation, biodiversity and community livelihoods.
Sheylda Diaz Mendez: Public Awareness Award – Mendez has worked as the Caribbean coordinator for the Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival for more than 10 years and has served as co-coordinator of IMBD since 2005. In 2013, Mendez helped develop and implement the first environmental education workshop hosted as part of the BirdsCaribbean conference.
Environment for the Americas (EFTA) supports more than 600 bird programs and festivals hosted from Canada to South America and the Caribbean. International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD), the signature program of EFTA, is the only international education program that highlights and celebrates the migration of nearly 350 species of migratory birds between nesting habitats in North America and non-breeding grounds in Latin America, Mexico and the Caribbean. http://www.birdday.org/
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