Amanda Rodewald Addresses Threat of Bird Extinctions

In a recent editorial piece for The Hill entitled “Avoiding the path to zero”, Amanda Rodewald addressed the ever-present threat of bird extinctions. Amanda Rodewald is the director of conservation science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, faculty fellow at Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell University, and a Robert F. Schumann Faculty Fellow. In her editorial, Rodewald looked at four grand species of grouse which are already suffering from extremely low population sizes. She emphasized the point that while extinctions (such as that of the passenger pigeon) may seem unlikely with modern ecological knowledge, we are closer to that precipice than we may think. In light of the recently issued State of the Birds report, Rodewald identified five major ways to help save America’s bird populations:

  1. “Fully fund key bird conservation legislation, such as the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act.
  2. Increase the price of the Duck Stamp to $25 as supported by Ducks Unlimited and other conservation groups.
  3. Sign the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels treaty that endorses bird-friendly ocean fishing.
  4. Support successful conservation programs like the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Migratory Bird Joint Ventures and State and Tribal Wildlife Grants.
  5. Keep promises made in the Farm Bill by appropriating amounts authorized for conservation.”

(List taken directly from “Avoiding the path to zero” by Amanda Rodewald)

Please read the full article written by Amanda Rodewald here: “Avoiding the path to zero”

For more information about Rodewald’s work with The Hill check out this link!

Lilly Briggs works with Conservation groups in Guatemala

Community Cloud Forest Conservation (CCFC) is an NGO based in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala. Its mandate is to help protect the cloud forest, and in keeping with this goal, it leads a Conservation and Agroecology Leadership Training (CALT) program for young Q’eqchi’ Maya women from cloud forest-dependent communities. Lilly Briggs has been collaborating with CCFC in two different capacities throughout 2013. Since the start of the fall semester, she has been conducting research on sense of place and the impacts of environmental education among the CALT program participants and their families. An ongoing collaboration that began prior to the fall has been working with CCFC to expand the reach of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s “BirdSleuth-International: Connecting Kids Through Birds” curriculum in Guatemala.

Dr. Paul Curtis contributes to “All About Birds” article

A recently published article on The Cornell Lab of Ornithology blog “All About Birds” features the insight of Dr. Paul Curtis, the Extension Wildlife Specialist in the Department of Natural Resources at Cornell, as well as Dr. Ken Rosenberg, who is the Director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. The article addresses the drastic population increase of Canada Geese, the problems with this increase, and what management techniques can or should be implemented. The article can be found here!

Bronx Teenagers Build Homes for Tree Swallows

Students at the Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy in the Bronx, NY participated in a program in collaboration with the Rocking the Boat organization where they built and installed wooden boxes for tree swallows in Soundview Park. Rocking the Boat is a Hunts Point organization that holds nature programs and provides lessons for young adults on building boats. Chrissy Word, the director of Rocking the Boat, collaborated with a Cornell ornithology student in developing the bird house building activity. The group of students from Satellite Academy installed the wooden nest boxes along the Bronx River. These teenagers now have a new appreciation for nature after seeing numerous tree swallows enjoying their new homes. One student, Brandon Bermeo, 19, says, “Birds are part of nature… When you see a bird you can feel part of nature, too. You can get away from city life.”

Jennifer Shirk first Author on Ecology and Society Paper

Cornell Lab of Ornithology staff member Jennifer Shirk is the first author on a recent Ecology and Society Paper. The paper is titled Public Participation in Scientific Research: a Framework for Deliberate Design. Click here to view the whole paper.


“Members of the public participate in scientific research in many different contexts, stemming from traditions as varied as participatory action research and citizen science. Particularly in conservation and natural resource management contexts, where research often addresses complex social–ecological questions, the emphasis on and nature of this participation can significantly affect both the way that projects are designed and the outcomes that projects achieve. We review and integrate recent work in these and other fields, which has converged such that we propose the term public participation in scientific research (PPSR) to discuss initiatives from diverse fields and traditions. We describe three predominant models of PPSR and call upon case studies suggesting that—regardless of the research context—project outcomes are influenced by (1) the degree of public participation in the research process and (2) the quality of public participation as negotiated during project design. To illustrate relationships between the quality of participation and outcomes, we offer a framework that considers how scientific and public interests are negotiated for project design toward multiple, integrated goals. We suggest that this framework and models, used in tandem, can support deliberate design of PPSR efforts that will enhance their outcomes for scientific research, individual participants, and social–ecological systems.”

Teachers and Students in Mexio and the U.S. Connect Over Birds

Senior Extension Associate Nancy Trautmann recently returned from traveling in Jalisco, Mexico, with two science teachers from the Finger Lakes region of New York. Their goal was to share strategies for addressing biodiversity conservation issues in middle and high school science classes and explore possibilities for connecting classes through online communications about birds and their habitats. Read more about this on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Round Robin Blog.