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2008 PIF Awards

Each year, Partners in Flight presents awards to those individuals, groups or organizations that 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 Bird Conservancy and Chris Eberly, Department of Defense Partners in Flight Program have both sponsored the Partners in Flight Awards Program this year. The Awards Committee, chaired by Rich Fischer, made the following selections.  

Three awards were presented in the category of Leadership:

Colleen Handel (Research Wildlife Biologist, USGS Alaska Science Center)

This award is in recognition of Colleen Handel’s work on development and coordination of the Alaska Landbird Monitoring Survey.  Colleen is to be lauded for the painstaking development of this statistically rigorous and defensible means of monitoring bird populations throughout the entire state of Alaska.  She was also personally responsible for forging the myriad partnerships and creating the institutional “buy-in” required to make this monumental effort a reality.

Colleen Handel

Laurel Moore-Barnhill (South Carolina Department of Natural Resources)

This award recognizes Laurel Moore-Barnhill’s tireless leadership in building multiple partnerships among state, regional, and national bird conservation efforts.  She has served as a voice for state-level issues and on-the-ground conservation in groups ranging in scale from Joint Ventures to multi-national committees. Laurel has also been an integral part in bringing together the game and nongame bird conservation community, both in the state-level and multi-state conservation projects. As a state biologist who is actively involved in regional and national groups, Laurel has been able to effectively integrate conservation efforts across multiple scales and administrative boundaries to ensure that sparse conservation funds have been used wisely.


Laurel Moore-Barnhill

The Raptor Population Index Partners

The Raptor Population Index (RPI) project represents a partnership between three leading hawk watch and migration research organizations: the Hawk Migration Association of North America, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, and HawkWatch International.

This Leadership Award was presented for encouraging standardization of North American Hawk Watches, centralizing data storage, regularly analyzing population trends with advanced statistical methods, and widely disseminating trend results to managers and the public.  This project has for the first time provided comprehensive population trends for a large number of North American raptor species that are not well covered by any other monitoring program.  By pulling together data from many hawk watch sites and analyzing them using the same, most up-to-date methods, it is possible to detect regional patterns in trends that provide the most reliable information available on raptor population status.

Raptor Population Index Partners
Left to right: Laurie Goodrich (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary); Julie Tilden (Hawk Migration Association); and Jeff Smith (HawkWatch International).

One award was presented in the category of Investigations:

Dr. Petra Bohall-Wood (Assistant Unit Leader - Wildlife, USGS West Virginia Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit)

Dr. Petra Bohall-Wood is recognized for her work on conservation of songbirds in the Central Appalachians.  Her research on Cerulean Warbler association to canopy gaps, foraging ecology, and overall habitat selection is of major importance to the future creation of a comprehensive management plan for the species.  Moreover, Dr. Wood’s formative research on silviculture-avian relations is central to the conservation of passerines in the Central Appalachians.  During the past 5 years Dr. Wood has published 22 scientific articles, primarily dealing with central Appalachian passerines.


Martha Isabel “Pati” Ruiz Corzo

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