PIF-US Header Graphic

2004 Partners in Flight Award Winners

Each year, Partners in Flight (PIF) presents awards to those individuals, groups or organizations who have made exceptional contributions to the field of landbird conservation.  Awardees are recognized in one of four categories: Leadership, Investigations, Land Stewardship and Public Awareness.

The American Birding Association (ABA; http://www.americanbirding.org/) has again sponsored the Partners In Flight Awards program. Awards were presented by USFWS Director Steve Williams and Bill Stott, representing ABA, during the Director's Reception at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Arlington, VA, on 17 March 2005. 

The PIF Awards Committee, chaired by Rich Fischer, is pleased to announce the 2004 awards.

Stewardship - Kevin O’Kane, Weyerhaeuser Corp.

Kevin is a Weyerhaeuser forester and part of a team that developed a wildlife management plan with an emphasis on birds for much of the 500,000+ acres of coastal North Carolina (NC) timberland.  This plan served as a model for a similar effort by International Paper that was recently completed for over 400,000 acres of habitat in coastal NC.  He is a very active participant in the NC PIF program as the Conservation and Management chair for the NC PIF steering committee and was awarded with the volunteer of the year award for NC PIF in 2002.   Kevin runs two BBS routes on Weyerhaeuser lands in coastal NC and helps the NC PIF coordinator conduct bird surveys year round on Weyerhaeuser lands to gauge the effect of active timber management on several priority bird species. 

Investigations - Bird Studies Canada

Bird Studies Canada (BSC) developed the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network (CMMN), a coordinated effort among independently operated monitoring stations and BSC.  The 23 member and pilot CMMN stations, representing all Canadian provinces from the Pacific to the Atlantic, target boreal species for which migration counts provide the best available information on trend (because breeding range is largely north of the BBS coverage area and wintering areas are in the Neotropics).  This pioneering effort has inspired planning for creation of one or more similar networks in the U.S.   Their work has addressed a major gap in knowledge (i.e., population trends in boreal-nesting species that are not currently monitored either on the breeding grounds or in wintering areas).  These species include about 75% of Canada ’s warblers, thrushes, vireos and flycatchers, most of which are concentrated in the boreal forest ecosystem.

PIF Award 2004: George Finney accepting for Bird Studies Canada, Photo by USFWS
George Finney accepting for Bird Studies Canada, Photo by USFWS

Stewardship - Pennsylvania Game Commission

The Pennsylvania Game Commission (PGC) has been a leader in land stewardship by actively working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture 's (USDA) Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which offers farmers the opportunity to take highly erodible and environmentally sensitive land out of production, thereby improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and increasing grassland, wetland and riparian habitat for wildlife.  The PGC entered into an agreement with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to hire and fund 10 Wildlife Habitat Biologists to write conservation plans.  To date, plans have been written to restore and enhance over 64,000 acres of farmland and 7,000 acres of riparian buffers, much of which is in the high priority Chesapeake Bay watershed.  The PGC has also contracted with Penn State University to conduct research on grassland birds associated with these fields and used research results to develop management guidelines for the biologists writing the plans.  With grassland bird species dependent on these habitats in decline, the importance of this endeavor cannot be overstated.

PIF Award 2004: Calvin DuBrock accepting for PA Game Commission, Photo by USFWS
Calvin DuBrock accepting for PA Game Commission, Photo by USFWS

Investigations - Chris Elphick, Ph.D.

Chris took the initiative to assemble the funding, resources, and cooperation with an impressive array of partners to embark on the most comprehensive research ever conducted on the Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrow.  His work involved a comprehensive investigation on estimation of abundance and productivity, habitat use, and non-breeding ecology.  His work also led to the identification of 3 Connecticut sites as Globally Important Bird Areas for nesting Saltmarsh Sharp-tailed Sparrows, the first such sites so recognized for their importance to this species.  The results of Dr. Elphick’s research will also have significant long-term impacts on our understanding of the basic ecology of coastal sparrows, and the means by which they can most effectively be monitored and protected.

PIF Award 2004: Chris Elphick accepting award, Photo by USFWS
Chris Elphick accepting award, Photo by USFWS

Leadership – Joe Hautzenroder

Joe was the first Department of Defense (DoD)/PIF liaison in the early 1990’s and single-handedly developed the linkage between the DoD and PIF.  He has remained both active and loyal to that partnership for well over a decade, and has clearly demonstrated outstanding guidance and direction to the advancement of PIF’s conservation efforts.  He brought to the forefront the importance of military lands for birds, which provide highly significant breeding, wintering, and migration stopover habitat for a wide array of bird species, including a disproportionately large number of T&E species.  He is also active in the Legacy Resources Management Program, which is responsible for funding many projects dedicated to the conservation of birds and other natural resources on military lands.

Leadership - Otte Hendrik Ottema

Otte is a leading ornithologist in the sparsely populated but developing country of Suriname , South America.  Internal strife, warfare, and military rule eroded all infrastructure and capacity to study and protect birds in the 1970’s, but with the country now stable and democratic, this capacity is slowly being re-developed.  Mr. Ottema is at the forefront of developing Suriname ’s abilities to study and protect its bird species, and works closely with the Suriname government.  His many accomplishments include training Surinamers in ornithology, conducting scientific surveys throughout the country, and identifying and successfully protecting a variety of imperiled species.  Otte accomplishes all of the above while working for a very low salary, and at times only half-salary or as a volunteer.  His dedication in the face of adversity is inspiring and worthy of recognition by PIF. 

Otte Ottema accepting award at American Embassy in Suriname. Photo by US State Dept.
Otte Ottema accepting award at American Embassy in Suriname. Photo by US State Dept.

Public Awareness – Linda Winter

Linda developed the Cats Indoor! Campaign nearly 10 years ago, which has brought national awareness to the impacts of free-roaming cats on bird populations.  Her relentless zeal and knowledge of the subject is an inspiration to many communities, state and federal agencies.  She has developed useful educational materials including brochures, posters, an activity guide, a website, and information sheets regarding specific aspects of the issue.  She has consulted with every level of leadership from the Navy to county commissioners, state agencies, veterinarians, and animal control agencies.  Linda is responsible for the vast awareness that is growing in this country regarding the need to keep cats indoors. She has empowered communities looking for alternatives to the Trap, Neuter and Release methods employed by some animal activists; and has created databases of research regarding the subject.  The significance of Linda’s work has likely resulted in the protection of millions of birds from free-roaming cats.

PIF Award 2004: Linda Winters accepting award, Photo by USFWS
Linda Winters accepting award, Photo by USFWS

Public Awareness - José Manuel Zolotoff-Pallais

For more than five years, José Manuel has been the editor of La Tangara, the free, bimonthly, bilingual (Spanish and English) newsletter of the Partners in Flight International Working Group.  La Tangara contains vital bird conservation information from throughout the Western Hemisphere on funding sources, training and job opportunities, meetings, scientific publications and recent literature, useful web sites in ornithology, and activities of non-governmental organizations and government agencies.   His dedication to improving its effectiveness as a communication tool has been resolute and tireless in an attempt to better serve the needs of ornithologists throughout the hemisphere.  José Manuel distributes his newsletter through an e-mail list that has grown from a small distribution to now over 1,400 subscribers in 23 countries.  Thanks to José Manuel’s innovative spirit, capable editing and project management, and outstanding leadership, La Tangara has become one of the most effective and invaluable tools in existence for improving communication about bird conservation issues among countries in North America, Mesoamerica, South America, and the Caribbean.

PIF Award 2004: Jose Manuel Zolotoff-Pallais accepting award, Photo by USFWS
Jose Manuel Zolotoff-Pallais accepting award, Photo by USFWS

Home || What is PIF? || Que es Compañeros en Vuelo? || PIF Bird Conservation Plans || PIF Maps
PIF Species Assessment
 || Research and Monitoring Needs   PIF Newsletter || La Tangara ||
International Migratory Bird Day
|| PIF Regional Working Groups || PIF Technical Series Publications
Other PIF-Related Publications || Education Resources || Other PIF Resources || PIF Contacts