Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces 2011 Bird Conservation Awards

March 16, 2012


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the recipients of the Partners in Flight and North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Bird Conservation Awards for 2011, recognizing exceptional contributions to the field of migratory bird conservation. Award winners are individuals or groups who have furthered the goal of protecting migratory and resident birds and their habitats in the areas of public awareness activities, innovative leadership, insightful ecological investigation or sound land stewardship.

"The individuals and groups recognized by Partners in Flight and NABCI have made tremendously valuable contributions to the cause of bird conservation in support of Partners in Flight's goals," said Ashe. "Working with partners across the hemisphere, they have contributed to our understanding of birds and helped with the conservation of vital habitat for countless species. Let me add my voice to the chorus of heartfelt appreciation for all that you do."

Recipients were honored during the annual North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, on March 15, 2012.

North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI) Gary T. Myers Bird Conservation Award

Each year, individuals or groups who have shown exceptional accomplishments and/or leadership in bird conservation in furtherance of the principles of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative and national/international bird initiatives.

The awardees are visionaries in the promotion and implementation of integrated bird conservation on the ground and through policy and legislation.

Carrol Henderson, who has spent 38 years with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has carried out successful bird conservation initiatives involving research, endangered species protection and restoration, habitat preservation, collaboration with state and federal wildlife agencies, promotion of nature tourism, and educational efforts including more than 1,000 public presentations.

Henderson's contributions to bird conservation extend beyond his job description. Henderson has authored 11 bird/wildlife books which have sold more than 300,000 copies. Five of these were published by the Minnesota DNR and all royalties from the sale of these books (now totaling more than $300,000) have gone to the MN Nongame Wildlife Fund. In addition, he won seven bird photography awards, and he has led 49 international birdwatching tours to 16 countries since 1987.

Partners in Flight Awards

Partners in Flight (PIF) has been recognizing outstanding individuals and groups for their efforts in landbird conservation and management since 1996. Nominations are evaluated by a committee, and honorees are recognized and presented with awards annually.

The 2011 Partners in Flight Award recipients are:

Award for Investigations
Belize Foundation for Research and Environmental Education (BFREE) Avian Monitoring Program in southern Belize. In 2006, BFREE and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington established an avian monitoring program onsite at BFREE in Belize. Now in its sixth year of a planned ten-year monitoring program, it is the first long-term bird study conducted in Belize. The program goals are to create and enhance links between protected areas and surrounding communities, provide baseline data on Neotropical migrant and resident birds, and determine the status of wild harpy eagles in the Bladen Nature Reserve and the greater Maya Mountains Massif. In November of 2011, BFREE technicians further identified the first known active harpy nest ever found in Belize.

Award for Leadership
Ken Rosenberg, Ph.D. - Rosenberg, director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, was honored for excellence and outstanding achievement in using science to inform conservation action and policy. For more than two decades, he has been using science to inform conservation planning and policy in the national forum. During that time he has expertly engaged in a wide range of endeavors, including conducting original research, teaching and training, providing leadership, writing and editing, advocating, fostering partnerships, and working with the media.

Rosenberg has been involved in a number of endeavors that make him worthy of this award, including serving as co-chair of the PIF International Science Committee; providing leadership in numerous working groups, such as the Cerulean and Golden-winged warbler Working Groups; and helping to envision and author seminal publications in avian conservation, such as the Partners in Flight Landbird Conservation Plan. Rosenberg has been a leader in helping to conceptualize the State of the Birds reports, guiding the science, drafting text and figures, and interpreting and delivering the results.

Award for Leadership
Lisa G. Sorenson, Ph.D. - Lisa Sorenson is research assistant professor of Biology and coordinator of the West Indian Whistling-Duck Working Group of the Society of Caribbean Ornithology, as well as current president of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB). Sorenson was honored for her efforts to build capacity for bird and habitat conservation in the Caribbean through training, outreach, and education.

Sorenson led the development of the West Indian Whistling-Duck and Wetlands Conservation Project, SCSCB's flagship program that provides local teachers and educators with training and educational materials and works to raise public awareness and appreciation of the importance and value of local wetlands. As project coordinator, she has raised funds for continuous work on the project, developed numerous multi-lingual outreach materials, facilitated wetlands education training workshops, and formed a network of engaged partners that work together on the project. Since 2002, the project has trained more than 3,600 teachers and natural resource agency staff in 142 "train-the-trainer" workshops in 19 countries.

Award for Public Awareness
Alicia F. King, a communication specialist with the Service's Migratory Bird Program, also serves as the agency's Urban Bird Treaty Coordinator. King is no newcomer to bird conservation. She has been an ardent supporter of birds and bird conservation since the age of six, when she created poster board signs to take to public meetings to advocate for protection of a local park slated for development.

As a professional, King has worked as an interpreter and with education programs and community outreach; as newsletter editor for the PIF Indiana Working Group; as a store manager for Wild Birds Unlimited; and as a host for Connecticut Public Television Bird Watch, and creator of For the Birds, a local television segment. King also served as Wild Birds Unlimited's nature education and cause related marketing specialist, and was the director of the Bird Conservation Alliance, an Alliance of over 200 bird conservation organizations. Since 2008, King has been communications coordinator for the Division of Migratory Bird Management with the Services Migratory Bird Program.

For more information on Partners in Flight, visit For information on the North American Bird Conservation Initiative, visit

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