An educational program about bats, an effort to increase Dusky Canada goose breeding and an annual bird migration celebration are among the winners of the 2013 Wings Across the Americas Conservation Awards.
The U.S. Forest Service awards were presented recently during the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Arlington, Va. Winners included Forest Service employees and the agency’s partners for outstanding work in the conservation of birds, bats, butterflies or dragonflies.
The categories and the winners are:
- Bat Conservation: BatsLIVE!, a comprehensive education and outreach program that encourages innovative partnerships through a variety of events to reach more than 220,000 people with high-quality, engaging information on bat conservation. In 2012, BatsLIVE! hosted a webcast from Bracken Bat Cave north of San Antonio, Texas, and home of the world’s largest bat colony.
- Habitat Management and Partnership: Dusky Canada Goose Nest Island Partnership increased and protects artificial nest islands for the geese, which have been shown to drastically increase breeding. The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 destroyed much of the habitat for the Dusky Canada goose, and the species population has shown a steady decline.
- Habitat Management and Partnership: Foresters for the Birds, a Vermont-based innovative partnership, designs and provides tools and training that foresters use to help private land owners integrate timber management with Neotropical migratory bird habitat conservation.
- International Communities in Conservation: International Migratory Bird Day celebrates and highlights the importance of one of the most spectacular events in the Americas: bird migration. More than 450 events are hosted from South America to Canada with materials, projects and other events developed for year-round education.
- Research and Partnership: Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group represents international collaboration of biologists and wildlife managers from more than 20 institutions in the U.S. and Canada. The institutions work to ensure the species’ long-term sustainability and to make the species a flagship for landscape scale conservation.
- Research and Partnership Award: Black Swift Migration and Wintering Grounds Investigation. For more than 10 years, a group of dedicated scientists worked to study this rare and elusive bird and recently used newly developed “bird backpacks,” which fit lace around the swift’s body and wings and has a sensor that tracks the bird to enable scientists to discover the species’ wintering area.
Migratory species play unique ecological roles and figure prominently in our culture. Despite their value, many birds, bats, butterflies and dragonflies unfortunately continue to face a multitude of threats. The Forest Service is working to protect habitat for listed migratory birds, many of which spend the winter in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Successful conservation work typically happens through partnerships—and the award winning projects were no exception. The Forest Service employees receiving awards shared the stage with partners from universities, foundations, private firms and conservation and volunteer organizations.
Read more detailed information about this year’s winners.