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Ellen Paul

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  1. Good article: https://www.hcn.org/articles/birds-egged-on-by-industry-lobbyists-interior-department-weakens-bird-protections/print_view
  2. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. Does the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). include the take of protected bird species as a result of otherwise lawful activity? No one knows. The statute is silent on the subject. The proponents of this 100-year old law were concerned about indiscriminate slaughter of birds for their plumes, used by the millinery trade. They were also concerned about harvest limits on game birds. In short, they were not thinking about incidental take. In the early 1990s, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) became concerned about the impact of incidental take on migratory birds but knowing that there was legal uncertainty, never moved to formally regulate incidental take. Instead, the USFWS engaged with certain industries to encourage them to adopt practices to reduce the extent of incidental take. The first of these efforts was the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee. Together, the industry and the USFWS compiled a set of best practices and the USFWS gave industry members time to implement those practices. Only if a company refused to implement those practices would the USFWS sue under the MBTA. The companies, for their part, came to the table because they faced the same uncertainty - what if the courts would hold them liable for incidental take? Over time, some industries were more cooperative than others. In some cases, the USFWS imposed penalties for incidental take and these cases reached the federal courts. Some of the courts decided that the MBTA covers incidental take. Some courts decided to the contrary. And there things stand, ready for a Supreme Court show-down. (Editorial note: yes, you may and probably should take a drink or two as the enormity of that inevitable train wreck crosses your mind). During the second Obama term, some in DOI made an attempt to incorporate the incidental take policy into formal regulation, going so far as to issue a notice of intent to publish a programmatic environmental impact statement and a regulation defining take to include incidental take. However, the White House apparently did not support this effort and it never came to fruition. At the same time, some industries began pushing back. In particular, Duke Energy, which had been fined $1million and placed on five years probation for killing birds at a wind energy facility, persuaded Congress to include in an appropriations bill a provision to prohibit the USFWS from prosecuting incidental take. Worse, the company and its industry allies succeeded in persuading a South Carolina congressman to sponsor a free-standing bill to amend the MBTA to exclude incidental take from criminal liability (both efforts failed). Meanwhile, back at the Department of the Interior, the Office of the Solicitor was persuaded at the 11 & 11/12th hour of the Obama Administration (10 January 2017) to issue an "M-Opinion" stating that the MBTA does cover incidental take. Which the new Administration promptly withdrew (20 January 2017). And then on 22 December 2017 issued a new M-Opinion stating that the MBTA dos not cover incidental take. Several conservation organizations and eight states filed suit challenging that last M-Opinion. (all are still in the earliest stages; watch for updates). And now it has come to this. For months, it has been rumored that the USFWS would propose a formal regulation stating that the MBTA does not cover incidental take. A regulation is much, much hard to reverse than is an M-Opinion. Well, rumor no more. The USFWS is about to propose a formal regulation to codify its current position that incidental take is not covered. In the fall semi-annual regulatory agenda published on 17 October 2018, the USFWS list of regulatory matters included this entry: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposes to establish regulations that define the scope of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA or Act) as it applies to conduct resulting in the injury or death of migratory birds protected by the Act. This rule would codify the legal opinion in the Department of the Interior Solicitor’s Opinion M-37050 that incidental take resulting from an otherwise lawful activity is not prohibited under the MBTA. Worser and worser. The USFWS had a flabby carrot and a very small stick to work with, given the legal uncertainty about incidental take, but the way things are going, it is likely to lose even that leverage. Permanently.
  3. Ellen Paul

    AOS renewal notice

    Dear Ellen, Thank you for being a part of the American Ornithological Society in 2018 – it has been a great year together. We grew our membership by 10% to a community of over 2900 diverse individuals from all over the globe. We made great strides in fostering the next generation of ornithologists with a focus on engaging and funding women and underrepresented minorities. Both The Auk and The Condor are now ranked in the top three ornithological journals worldwide, and in 2019 we will expand the global reach of our science through a new publishing partnership with Oxford University Press. The AOS is looking forward to an exciting year ahead, and we hope you will renew your membership in the society in 2019. Your current AOS membership will expire on 31 December 2018. Supporting your society is supporting your discipline. It also empowers the AOS to support you – in your research, professional development, networking, and career pursuits. We continue to expand our membership benefits and look for opportunities to improve the ways in which we serve you. By renewing now, you can be sure to take advantage of your member discount when registration opens on 15 October for our 2019 meeting in Anchorage, Alaska. NEW this year! As a corresponding author, enjoy no author page charges to publish standard articles in The Auk and The Condor. Renewing online via the Member Portal is fast and easy—there is even an option to have your membership automatically renew in the future. [Please note: Since you hold membership(s) in other OSNA societies, you will receive a similar note from OSNA regarding the renewal process.] As you renew this year, we ask that you read and agree to abide by the AOS Code of Professional Conduct. By committing to these guidelines and best practices for professional behavior we, as a Society, can more effectively fulfill our mission to advance the scientific understanding and conservation of birds and to enrich ornithology as a profession. We are here to help. If you have any questions or need help logging into your Member Portal account, contact Scott Gillihan, OSNA Membership Manager, at OSNAmembers@gmail.com or 312-883-4670. Thank you for your continued membership in the American Ornithological Society! Sincerely, Kathy Martin, President Follow AOS on Social Media! Stay Connected! AOS Website, AmericanOrnithology.org AOS News (sign up!) AOS History of Ornithology (sign up!) AOS Social Weekly Review (sign up!) AOS Publications Website, AmericanOrnithologyPubs.org Auk Twitter, @AukJournal (follow) Condor Twitter, @CondorJournal (follow) AOS Journals Blog (sign up!) AOS Journals Newsletter (sign up!)
  4. Ellen Paul

    James (Jim) W. Wiley (2019)

    A note from Eduardo Santana about Jim: Jim was my supervisor at the Puerto Rican parrot conservation project in the Luquillo Forest during the summer of 1978 and from 1979 to 1980. He also freely offered advice while I was doing my masters thesis fieldwork there on Redtailed-hawks from 1981 to 1983. Jim, along with Joe Hickey, Tim Moermond, Stan Temple, Lloyd Keith and Ariel Lugo, was one of my main professional role models, especially for his intense commitment to doing high-quality fieldwork and his knowledge and love for birds, and his love for the outdoors. As for how his worked helped, I share what my friend Eduardo Iñigo told me: “A significant indicator that Jim’s work was highly valued is that he was the first foreigner to receive the Gundlach recognition from the Cuban Zoological Society”. Since I came to work in conservation and teaching in western Mexico decades ago I unfortunately lost track of Jim (and most of my Caribbean ornithology colleagues!). But I have always remembered him and acknowledged that he was a good teacher to many and “a teacher affects eternity.” esantanacas@gmail.com
  5. Ellen Paul

    BirdsCaribbean 2019

    The BirdsCaribbean 22nd International Conference will be held from 25 to 29 of July, 2019, in Le Gosier, Guadeloupe. Conference information will continue to be updated on the BC Conference Website.
  6. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. Open Public Comment Period: Submit Your Ideas Before November 30 The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has published a Federal Register notice informing the public about proposed amendments to the CITES Appendices and proposed resolutions, decisions, and agenda Items that the United States might submit for consideration at the 18th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CoP18), and to provide information on how agencies or bodies can apply to attend CoP18 as observers. Public comments will be accepted until November 30, 2018. Click here to read the Federal Register notice and learn how to submit comments. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is a treaty agreed to by 182 nations and the European Union (referred to as "Parties) that protects species from becoming endangered or extinct because of international trade. Every two to three years, a meeting of the Conference of the Parties is held to review, discuss, and negotiate changes in the implementation of CITES, including changes in protections for certain species. CITES CoP18 will be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka from May 23 – June 3, 2019. How can I contribute information or ideas for CITES CoP18? We're committed to conducting an open and transparent process as we prepare for CoP18 that considers the interests of the public, stakeholders, other federal agencies, and Congress. We will publish a series of Federal Register notices to solicit public input on the development of U.S. proposals, documents, and negotiating positions for CoP18. This process helps us to develop robust proposals and positions by taking into account a wide variety of views and anticipating potential implementation and enforcement challenges. -- Thomas E.J. Leuteritz, Ph.D. Chief, Branch of Conservation Science Policy Division of Scientific Authority U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Headquarters MS: IA 5275 Leesburg Pike Falls Church, VA 22041-3803 thomas_leuteritz@fws.gov T: +(703) 358-1708 (Office) T: +(703) 358-2306 (Direct) F: +(703) 358-2276
  7. How can we make fieldwork less dangerous? We are analyzing Richard Conniff's Memorial of Fallen Naturalists (https://strangebehaviors.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/the-wall-of-the-dead/) to better understand the circumstances and causes of scientist mortality during fieldwork. If you know of someone who is missing from this list, please add their information to our database. Your contribution will help establish new safety standards for fieldwork and memorialize the contributions of those who gave their lives to further our understanding of the natural world. Please contribute your information at https://goo.gl/forms/2TEjQCPh2KhLfFG13, where you can read more about the study. Also, please forward this call for information widely. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. This is an IRB-exempt study registered with the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board. Many thanks in advance, Talia Yuki Moore, University of Michigan: taliaym@umich.edu Martin Stervander, University of Oregon: mste@uoregon.edu
  8. Ellen Paul

    James (Jim) W. Wiley (2019)

    In 2014, the Association of Field Ornithologists honored Jim with the Alexander F. Skutch Medal. This year, the council and members of the AFO are honored to present the Skutch Medal for Excellence in Neotropical Ornithology to Dr. James W. Wiley. Dr. Wiley is recognized for his significant contributions to the scientific literature that have aided in the conservation of a wide range of imperiled Neotropical species in the Latin American-Caribbean region. He was one of the founding members of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB), and served as the editor of The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology between 1988 and 2004. His research efforts have not only assisted in the recovery of endangered species and management of critical habitat, but have also provided benefits to the public. For example, Dr Wiley has co-authored numerous popular books including three seminal field guides, Birds of the West Indies, Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti, and The Birds of Hispaniola. These definitive field guides have not only provided pleasure for scientists and recreational birders alike, but have also significantly contributed to the understanding of ornithology in the region. Throughout his career, Dr. Wiley’s extensive mentoring and teaching efforts have impacted a wide range of students and professionals, particularly those in the Latin American-Caribbean region. Dr. Wiley engaged students formally through supervision within Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unitsat Grambling University and at the University of Maryland at Eastern Shore, and informally in the field, through ornithological meetings, and personal communications. His dedication to mentoring and developing his students is legendary. The Skutch Medal committee was chaired by Dr. Herb Raffaele, Chief, Division of International Conservation, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The committee consisted of Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director and former President of Birds Caribbean; Amiro Perez-Leroux, Director of Birdlife International for Latin America and the Caribbean; Bert Lenten, Deputy Secretary General of the Convention on Migratory Species; Richard Huber, Principal Environmental Specialist for the Department of Biological Protection and Management at the Organization of American States and Chair of Western Hemisphere Migratory Species Initiative; Maria Rivera, Senior Advisor for the Americas in the Secretariat of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance; and Nestor Herrera, Director of Wildlife and Ecosystems at El Salvador’s Environmental Ministry.
  9. Ellen Paul

    James (Jim) W. Wiley (2019)

    Jim Wiley, a mainstay of Cuban ornithology, passed away on 19 September 2018. Apart from his scientific contributions, Jim was a gem of a man, exceedingly and unfailingly kind, gentle, and humble. In 2010, the Journal of Caribbean Ornithology dedicated a volume to Jim. In the dedication, Herb Raffaele, Joe Wunderle, and Noel Snyder wrote: (Note - the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds is now BirdsCaribbean) Were his only contribution the monumental bibliography on West Indian birds that he published in 2000 (Wiley 2000), Jim Wiley would rank among the most important ornithologists to have ever focused their attention on birds of this region. But Jim’s contributions to the studies of Caribbean birds, beginning in the early 1970s and continuing without diminishment today, have been so much more. We know of no ornithologist of the region whose impacts have been more beneficial, going back to the first European explorers who mentioned birds in their natural histories. Therefore, it is with profound respect and admiration that this issue of JCO is dedicated to a colleague whose detailed knowledge extends to more species than seems possible and whose many publications and other contributions could hardly be more impressive. Normally such remarks are only possible for doddering ancient figures or for spirits who have already passed from the scene after lifetimes of devoted field work. Fortunately, Jim is still at the peak of his capacities, and it is reasonable to anticipate that much is yet to come, regardless of his recent official retirement from the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Jim’s energy in pursuit of worthy goals has been legendary and sets a standard for diligence that we can only dimly comprehend. Perhaps it all goes back to the Mexico City Olympics of 1968, where Jim competed as a member of the United States bicycle team and trained up to a level of fitness that he has maintained ever since. All three of us have at one time or another had the privilege of collaborating in field studies with Jim, and we are directly familiar with his tireless capacities. Even more, we have been amazed how he somehow always manages good humor and a spirit of selfless cooperation under even the most miserable field conditions. Jim’s skills range from scaling towering rain-forest trees to crossing treacherous streams (Fig. 1) and scuba diving, and we will never forget his tale of being nudged in the back by a curious Killer Whale (Orcinus orca) as he conducted field observations on marine Gobies along the California coast for his master’s degree. Fortunately for all of us, he survived this incident to finish his master's research at California State University in 1970 and to go on to many other studies. From California, Jim moved on to graduate studies at the University of South Florida on Red-shouldered Hawks (Buteo lineatus), interrupted in 1973 by taking a position with the Puerto Rican Department of Natural Resources to study Plain Pigeons (Patagioenas inornata ), White-crowned Pigeons (P. leucocephala), and other columbids, a group for which he has always had a special affection. In 1977, he took over supervision of the Puerto Rican Parrot Project for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) after completing a detailed study of the Hispaniolan Parrot (Amazona ventralis) in the Dominican Republic for the US Forest Service. He remained in the Puerto Rican Parrot position until 1986, having overseen a steady and convincing increase of the wild population and having launched the captive breeding and release efforts that continue today. The success Jim and his wife Beth had with Puerto Rican Parrot conservation was outstanding, and included an informative experimental release effort of captive Hispaniolan Parrots to the wild in the Dominican Republic in 1982. Concurrent with their efforts with parrots, Jim and Beth also conducted diverse ecological and behavioral studies of the raptors of Puerto Rican and Hispaniola and ground-breaking studies of the endangered Yellow-shouldered Blackbird (Agelaius xanthomus ) in collaboration with Will Post, particularly with reference to the invasion of Puerto Rico by the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis). It was Jim’s cowbird studies that led at last to finishing his Ph.D. with Bud Owre at the University of Miami in 1982. In 1986 Jim was transferred back to California by the USFWS to conduct efforts for the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus), a period when the very last wild condors were being trapped into captivity and when temporary experimental releases of surrogate Andean Condors (Vultur gryphus) to the wild were just beginning. This period also saw a profound change in Jim’s dietary habits that resulted, quite understandably, from his having to oversee the supplemental feeding program for condors. For those who have long wondered about Jim’s antipathy to Big Macs and Whoppers, he was faced at one point with the clean-up of a defunct walk-in freezer filled with rotting mammal carcasses immersed in an incredible miasma of toxic gases. Fortunately, despite this brush with hell on earth, his enthusiasm for guanabana ice cream and other nutritious tropical delights has remained intact. From California, Jim moved to Grambling State University in Louisiana in 1991, where he took charge of a cooperative wildlife unit for the USGS. At Grambling, he developed a special interest in the training of wildlife students from the West Indies, especially Jamaica and the Lesser Antilles, and a number of his former Grambling students are current members of the Society for Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB). There, he also had the good sense to keep all his local sightings of Bachman’s Warblers (Vermivora bachmanii) and Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (Campephilus principalis)to himself. As some indication of the importance of his mentoring contributions at Grambling, one of us (HR) recently was talking with an assistant to the Directorof the USFWS. This individual was a graduate from Grambling some 15 yr ago and spontaneously described how much he and the other grad students at the time appreciated and respected Jim’s dedication in assisting underprivileged students, particularly those from developing countries throughout the Caribbean. Jim’s ability to inspire others to careers in ornithology and conservation is one of his most important legacies. In 2001, and continuing until his recent retirement, Jim took over supervision of the Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. There, he continued to be involved with diverse conservation and research projects in the West Indies, as well as local projects in the Chesapeake Bay region, carefully guiding an impressive number of students toward their graduate degrees. Thus, despite being based in stateside locations from the late 1980s to the present, Jim’s first loyalties have always been in the Caribbean, with frequent trips to Cuba, the Cayman Islands and Hispaniola, and continued work with the psittacines of these islands, as well as many other bird species. He has been especially focused on aiding Cuban ornithological efforts in recent years, and was given special recognition for these efforts by Cuban ornithologists at the July 2001 meeting in Cuba of the SCSCB. Jim was a founding member of the Society of Caribbean Ornithology (now the SCSCB) and played an important role in launching the organization. He was the first editor of El Pitirre , and during the nine years of his editorship he was responsible not only for editorial duties, but with help of his students served also as the publisher (aided by desktop publishing software) and distributor of the publication. im oversaw the evolution of El Pitirre from a newsletter, for which he often scrambled for manuscripts in the early years, to a journal format covering a broad range of topics. As editor, he was especially helpful and patient with inexperienced authors and viewed the journal as an important forum for their contributions. Other editing contributions he has made have included serving for many years as editor of publications for the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in California. Jim’s personal list of scientific publications includes well over a hundred substantial papers, books, and monographs, mostly on West Indian birds. We find ourselves consulting his annotated A Bibliography of Ornithology in the West Indies (Wiley 2000) with frequency, and it is impossible to exaggerate the usefulness of this colossal assembly of more than 11,600 references, stretching back to the earliest ornithological writings for the region. Among his other outstanding publications, we call special attention to his coauthorship of The Parrots of Luquillo: Natural History and Conservation of the Puerto Rican Parrot in 1987 (Snyder et al.1987), coauthorship of A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies in 1998 (Raffaele et al. 1998), coauthorship of The Birds of Hispaniola in 2003 (Keith et al. 2003), and his authorship and coauthorship of numerous shorter papers on the Shiny Cowbird, the Puerto Rican Parrot, the Yellow-shouldered Blackbird, and various other psittacids, raptors, and columbids of the West Indies, not to mention his publications on such subjects as the effects of hurricanes on West Indian birds and techniques of captive breeding and reintroduction for endangered forms. For his overall contributions to field studies of Caribbean birds and to ornithology in general, the SCSCB is truly indebted to Jim Wiley. LITERATURE CITED KEITH , A. R., J. W. WILEY , S. C. LATTA , J. A. OTTENWALDER . 2003. The birds of Hispaniola.British Ornithologists’ Union Checklist 21:1-293.. RAFFAELE , H., J. WILEY , O. GARRIDO , A. KEITH , J. RAFFAELE . 1998. A guide to the birds of the West Indies. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. SNYDER , N. F. R., J.W. WILEY , C.B. KEPLER . 1987. The parrots of Luquillo: natural history and conservation of the Puerto Rican Parrot. Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, Los Angeles. WILEY , J. W. 2000. A Bibliography of ornithology in the West Indies. Proceedings of the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, vol. 7.
  10. The Ornithological Council publishes the peer-reviewed Guidelines to the Use of Wild Birds in Research. It was most recently updated in 2010 and it has been our intent to supplement it with literature published after that date, ultimately developing a database that incorporates all literature cited and all supplemental literature (volunteers welcome!). The Guidelines are recognized by federal agencies and private organizations as a resource reference. It is extremely important that we provide them - and your Institutional Animal Care and Use Committees (Animal Care and Use Committees in Canada) - the most up-to-date information available. If you have published methods papers since 2010 that assess the impact of study techniques on the birds you are studying, please bring them to our attention. The OC simply doesn't have the resources to search for these studies on an ongoing basis (volunteers welcome!). Additionally, if yours is not a methods paper per se but assessed the impact of the study methods, please bring that to our attention, too. Help us to help you!
  11. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/17/science/saltmarsh-sparrow-extinction.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront The species, which breeds in coastal marshes from Maine to Virginia, and lives only on the Atlantic Coast, has always been at the mercy of time and tide, nesting between the highest spring tides. But now a sea level rise of a fraction of an inch a year caused by climate change is pushing tides higher and higher, threatening the birds’ survival. Their population has been declining about nine percent a year since the late 1990s. They now number somewhere from 40,000 to 80,000, although overall population estimates are tentative because the birds are not always easy to find. Dr. Elphick and his colleagues recently predicted that they will reach a threshold, when the highest spring tides come too often to allow the birds time to raise their young. “After that threshold is crossed,” he says, “these birds have maybe six years before they’re extinct.”
  12. 2018-2019 Awards Now Open! Size of Award: One grant up to $135,000 or 2-3 grants up to $65,000 each Deadline for Pre-proposals: September 23rd, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT. Address Questions and Send Application to: Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director, BirdsCaribbean, Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org; copy to info@birdscaribbean.org Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent by October 7th, 2018, and those proposals are due by October 30th, 2018. Announcement of Awards: November 15th, 2018 Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Betty Petersen helped many aspiring conservationists; we honor her legacy with this conservation fund. Inspiration: Betty Petersen (1943-2013), a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, U.S.A. was, in her own way, a wizard. With nothing more than donated birding equipment, books, and a bit of cash, she turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected. The Goal of the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation status of birds and habitats in the Caribbean region. The Fund provides competitive grants to groups or individuals to engage and empower communities and stakeholders to protect and benefit sustainably from their birds. The Fund and its grants will be administered by a designated advisory group within BirdsCaribbean. Eligibility: Applications are invited from conservation organizations, academic programs or government working in the Caribbean. Successful proposals will benefit the conservation of birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. Innovative projects that engage local communities and decision makers to alleviate threats and/or encourage sustainable use of threatened natural resources will receive priority for funding, as will projects that benefit high priority areas—such as Important Bird Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas—that are under serious threat. Matching Funds: Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 1:1 matching funds toward the project cost. In-kind match qualifies. Proposals providing a higher match ratio may receive preference. Application Guidelines Applicants shall initially provide a pre-proposal in English, French, or Spanish. All require an English language version of the abstract. Applications need to be emailed as a Microsoft Word document, with “Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Pre-Proposal” in subject line. The application comprises a cover page, proposal (see guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant that includes the names, affiliations, telephone and e-mail address for three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s effectiveness in previous bird conservation work. Evaluation: A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the pre-proposals and may invite full proposals from applicants whose projects seem best aligned with the goals and most likely to affect positive change. The committee may select one or more projects each year for funding. Awardees are required to submit a report 13 months from the day of the award explaining the results of the project to that point and also an accounting of how funds were used. For single-year projects this will be considered the final report. Multi-year projects must report annually, with continued funding dependent on adequate progress and use of grant funds. In all cases, unexpected challenges as well as progress beyond initial expectations require notation. Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology. Download the application form (PDF) here. Read more about Betty and the fund here.
  13. https://www.birdscaribbean.org/2018/08/funding-opportunity-the-betty-petersen-conservation-fund-to-help-caribbean-birds/ August 29, 2018 Funding Opportunity—The Betty Petersen Conservation Fund to Help Caribbean Birds 2018-2019 Awards Now Open! Size of Award: One grant up to $135,000 or 2-3 grants up to $65,000 each Deadline for Pre-proposals: September 23rd, 2018 at 5 p.m. EDT. Address Questions and Send Application to: Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director, BirdsCaribbean, Lisa.Sorenson@BirdsCaribbean.org; copy to info@birdscaribbean.org Invitations to submit full proposals will be sent by October 7th, 2018, and those proposals are due by October 30th, 2018. Announcement of Awards: November 15th, 2018 Donations to the Fund: Tax-deductible (U.S.) at this link. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Betty Petersen helped many aspiring conservationists; we honor her legacy with this conservation fund. Inspiration: Betty Petersen (1943-2013), a lifelong resident of Massachusetts, U.S.A. was, in her own way, a wizard. With nothing more than donated birding equipment, books, and a bit of cash, she turned local communities and school kids into committed conservationists, struggling NGOs into recognized players on the inter-American scene, and “paper parks” into real protected areas. And in the process she reminded us how rewarding it is to lend a hand when none is expected. The Goal of the Betty Petersen Conservation Fund is to advance the conservation status of birds and habitats in the Caribbean region. The Fund provides competitive grants to groups or individuals to engage and empower communities and stakeholders to protect and benefit sustainably from their birds. The Fund and its grants will be administered by a designated advisory group within BirdsCaribbean. Eligibility: Applications are invited from conservation organizations, academic programs or government working in the Caribbean. Successful proposals will benefit the conservation of birds and their habitats in the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda, the Bahamas, and all islands within the Caribbean basin. Innovative projects that engage local communities and decision makers to alleviate threats and/or encourage sustainable use of threatened natural resources will receive priority for funding, as will projects that benefit high priority areas—such as Important Bird Areas or Key Biodiversity Areas—that are under serious threat. Matching Funds: Applicants are encouraged to provide at least 1:1 matching funds toward the project cost. In-kind match qualifies. Proposals providing a higher match ratio may receive preference. Application Guidelines Applicants shall initially provide a pre-proposal in English, French, or Spanish. All require an English language version of the abstract. Applications need to be emailed as a Microsoft Word document, with “Betty Petersen Conservation Fund Pre-Proposal” in subject line. The application comprises a cover page, proposal (see guidelines below), and a curriculum vitae for the applicant that includes the names, affiliations, telephone and e-mail address for three individuals who can attest to the applicant’s effectiveness in previous bird conservation work. Evaluation: A committee appointed by BirdsCaribbean will review the pre-proposals and may invite full proposals from applicants whose projects seem best aligned with the goals and most likely to affect positive change. The committee may select one or more projects each year for funding. Awardees are required to submit a report 13 months from the day of the award explaining the results of the project to that point and also an accounting of how funds were used. For single-year projects this will be considered the final report. Multi-year projects must report annually, with continued funding dependent on adequate progress and use of grant funds. In all cases, unexpected challenges as well as progress beyond initial expectations require notation. Awardees are encouraged to present the results of their work at the biennial International Meeting of BirdsCaribbean and publish in The Journal of Caribbean Ornithology. Download the application form (PDF) here. Read more about Betty and the fund here.
  14. This news and analysis are provided by the Ornithological Council, a consortium supported by 11 ornithological societies. Join or renew your membership in your ornithological society if you value the services these societies provide to you, including OrnithologyExchange and the Ornithological Council. https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-trump-administration-rollbacks-will-harm-millions Wednesday, September 5, 2018 Contact: (916) 210-6000, agpressoffice@doj.ca.gov SACRAMENTO — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today took decisive action against the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw protections for America’s migratory birds. Attorney General Becerra and state attorneys from seven states filed a lawsuit in the Southern District of New York challenging the Administration’s decision to put corporate interests ahead of protecting the nation’s public interests by rolling back protections under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The 100-year-old treaty originally codified an agreement between the United States and Canada to help ensure the preservation and protection of migratory birds from both intentional and incidental mortality caused by human activities. Over the years, the MBTA has broadened to include similar agreements with Mexico, Japan, and Russia. “Birds such as the bald eagle are not only national symbols of freedom and liberty, they are also vital for our country’s ecosystem and survival,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This latest reckless action by the Trump Administration threatens one hundred years of international cooperation to protect precious wildlife and ecosystems. The Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are obligated to act in the best interest of the public at large, not corporate interests. The Administration’s utter disregard for the ecosystem it is entrusted to maintain and its incessant crusade to ensure that corporations are not held accountable for their actions is inexcusable. As the Administration fails to fulfill its obligations to the American public, we will continue to hold it accountable.” The MBTA protects more than 1,000 native U.S. species of birds, including the bald eagle, America’s national bird, and other bird species that were hunted to near extinction before MBTA protections were put in place in 1918. Under longstanding interpretation of the Act by Democratic and Republican administrations alike dating back decades, the MBTA has required utilities and operators of facilities such as wind farms, power lines, and oil waste pits to take preventative measures to reduce and mitigate bird mortality. Under the Administration’s reinterpretation, companies would be exempt from these requirements. Experts estimate that eliminating these requirements would significantly increase migratory bird deaths by tens of millions each year. Attorney General Becerra joins a lawsuit brought by New York, which, alongside separate suits by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Audubon Society, asserts that the Administration’s revised opinion and planned pullback of MBTA is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and in violation of the law.
  15. Doctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) The Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation (SMSC) is pleased to announce the availability of a Doctoral Fellowship in Conservation Science. One fellowship, the ConocoPhillips/SMSC Conservation Research Fellow, will be offered in fall 2019 for a student with a B.S. or M.S. in Conservation Biology, Ecology, Zoology or a related field, and whose research interests coincide with scholars from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI) and George Mason University. Prospective candidates must qualify for admission to a conservation-focused Ph.D. program at George Mason University. Support will be provided for five years with a stipend of $28,000/year, health insurance, and tuition remission for 18 total credits for the academic year. Fellowship awardee will be expected to pursue this research full time. Preference will be given to applicants who will work on a research project involving collaboration between Mason and Smithsonian investigators and whose mentor(s) are actively collaborating with SMSC (e.g., accepting practicum/research students, unpaid instruction). The awardee will be required to acknowledge SMSC and the donor on all publications and presentations resulting from work completed while funded by this fellowship. SMSC will construct marketing material showcasing the awardee’s work. Awardee will be expected to meet annually with the donors, and will be required to present research results each year at Mason’s Graduate Interdisciplinary Conference (MaGIC) and/or Mason’s 3MT® competition. Prospective applicants are encouraged to visit the following links before applying: Ph.D. program in Environmental Science and Policy: http://esp.gmu.edu/academic-programs/graduate/admissions/ Ph.D. program in Biosciences: http://catalog.gmu.edu/colleges-schools/science/systems-biology/biosciences-phd/ - requirementstext Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute (SCBI): https://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservation Applicants should contact potential research advisors in advance of submitting the application. Arrangements with SCBI and Mason mentors may take time and is required for successful application. Lists of potential research mentors (other Mason and SI researchers may serve): https://nationalzoo.si.edu/about/staff https://nationalzoo.si.edu/conservation/scbi-staff https://biology.gmu.edu/people/faculty/departmental-faculty-bios/ https://cos.gmu.edu/ssb/research/ https://esp.gmu.edu/faculty-staff/graduate-program-faculty/ A full application packet must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office of George Mason University (https://www2.gmu.edu/admissions-aid/apply-now). Follow instructions for a Graduate-Degree Seeking Student for fall 2019. Include the extra Letter of Interest for the doctoral fellowship.   The following materials must also be submitted as part of the application: 1. Letter of Interest addressing the candidate’s research experience and how this experience relates to SMSC and SCBI research agendas. This statement should be specific and reflect discussions with prospective SCBI and Mason research mentors. 2. Three letters of reference. 3. Endorsement letters by SCBI and Mason mentors. 4. Transcripts from completed degrees. 5. GRE scores (general test). 6. International students must submit adequate TOEFL scores. For full consideration, applications must be received by February 4, 2019. Specific questions may be addressed to Cody W. Edwards, Ph.D., Executive Director, Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation, cedward7@gmu.edu.
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