ALASKA—With almost 10 years of commitment to shared stewardship across international boundaries for the conservation of hummingbirds and their habitats, Wings Across the Americas recognized the Western Hummingbird Partnership with its International Cooperation Award May 1 in Washington, D.C.
In all started with a trip to Jalisco, Mexico, in January 2009, where Forest Service representatives Cheryl Carrothers, Carol Lively and Diana Craig met with Professor Sarahy Contreras, University of Guadalajara, to establish the first of the international relationships that have become the mainstay of the partnership.
The partnership’s first major gathering was a multi-day workshop held in Arizona in 2009 that brought together scientists, land managers and conservationists from the United States, Canada and Mexico to discuss the conservation needs of North American hummingbirds. Workshop attendees included 82 representatives from 34 diverse institutions including government agencies, nonprofit conservation organizations, universities and individuals.
The attendees recognized that safeguarding hummingbird species that are “shared” by all three countries of North America requires international cooperation as well as engagement from state, local, and tribal partners, businesses and communities. Despite a widespread appreciation for these species, there appeared to be a lack of knowledge among much of the public about the conservation challenges facing hummingbirds and their habitats. Fortunately, the charismatic nature of these tiny birds provided great potential to engage people in addressing conservation issues facing hummingbirds.
Since its inception, the partnership has contributed to projects in biosphere reserves, botanic gardens and national forests, and has provided over $200,000 in support of conservation efforts where western hummingbirds nest, stopover during their migrations and overwinter. In addition to directly influencing the conservation of hummingbirds and their habitats, the partnership contributes to the conservation of related ecosystems and promotes the awareness and appreciation of hummingbirds.