Centennial Stopover Awards

Bill MajewskiPresented at the 2016 State of Stopover Symposium on October 6, 2016, Four Points Sheraton, Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Sumner Matteson, Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation, WDNR.

The Symposium Stopover Awards Committee (Katie Koch - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Judy Pollock - Living Habitats; Sumner Matteson - WDNR’s Bureau of Natural Heritage Conservation) presented recipients with a beautifully hand-carved Centennial Stopover Award, representing the logo of the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative and commemorating the centennial of the landmark Migratory Bird Treaty of 1916. The artist who created the award is Bill Majewski (pictured) from Duluth, Minnesota. 

Here, below, are the award presentations as delivered by Matteson (except for Jane Anklam’s award, presented by Kim Grveles).

1. The Natural Areas Program Team at the Chicago Park District has been an innovator in incorporating bird habitat into urban parks for almost two decades.  The team has taken their responsibilities seriously as the key landowner in two Illinois Important Bird Areas.  Along the Chicago Lakefront, a seventeen-mile stretch of Lake Michigan parkland that is prime territory for both landlords and lakefront recreation, the team has transformed sterile lawn into rich, complex bird habitat in park after park, creating or significantly adding to 6 lakefront bird sanctuaries and transforming an unused corridor between a railroad and a highway into a wildlife corridor for birds and butterflies. The results provide a textbook case for urban bird habitat restoration, and are well-appreciated by both birds and birders - three of the top 4 eBird hotspots in Illinois are in these lakefront parks.

In the Calumet IBA, a large remnant marsh interspersed with industrial and residential tracts, the team is working with local non-profits, birders, and government agencies to reverse decades of neglect and abuse that resulted in the extirpation of most of the key breeding wetland species. Recent hydrologic improvements and habitat restoration have brought important migrant and breeding wetland species back to the area.  In sum, the Chicago Park District is and has been a model of what a creative and engaged urban park district can do to create migrant bird habitat. 
It is with great pleasure that the Symposium Stopover Awards Committee honors the achievements of the CHICAGO PARKS NATURAL AREAS TEAM with our first Centennial Stopover Award.  (Accepting the award for the Team was biologist Matthew Freer.)

2. The founding program of Bird Studies Canada  (BSC) was the Long Point Bird Observatory, established in 1960. The mission of BSC is “to conserve wild birds of Canada through sound science, on-the-ground actions, innovative partnership, public engagement, and science-based advocacy.”

Bird Studies Canada is an outstanding organization that depends on the contributions of thousands of supporters and citizen scientists to track changes in bird populations and direct conservation planning.  Bird Studies Canada has 7500+ members. There are 7 regional offices, with programs in 13 Canadian provinces and territories. The staff of 75 contributes to 35 peer-reviewed scientific journals a year.

Here is a list of recent accomplishments and other noteworthy features:

For their outstanding and continuing exemplary role in conserving migratory birds and fostering awareness of the plight of scores of migratory birds, the Symposium Stopover Awards Committee recognizes the wonderful work of BIRD STUDIES CANADA with this Centennial Stopover Award. (Representing Bird Studies Canada to accept the award was ornithologist Stuart Mackenzie.)

3. Erica H. Dunn, a past Canadian president of AOU, could not be with us tonight. She has had a long and distinguished career in Ontario studying migratory birds, beginning with her husband, the late-David J.T. Hussel, at the Long Point Bird Observatory, where David served as the first director in the mid-1970s. Ricky, as Erica is known to all in Canadian circles, was a graduate student studying avian physiological ecology at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, when she met David.  The two of them began the tradition of “birdathons” to raise funds for a variety of bird projects.  Ricky coordinated winter bird feeder surveys while at Long Point, and these in turn led to the North American survey of wintering bird populations, which Ricky coordinated for a short time at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology. In the mid-1980s, Ricky began work for the Canadian Wildlife Service and focused on data gathered by volunteers at numerous banding stations across Canada to help determine population trends over the years.  She was involved in 2000 with a comprehensive atlas of bird banding, which detailed the recoveries of most Canadian banded birds.  She told me recently that “Most of my work involving migration has to do with population monitoring via counts of migrating birds, or stopover studies involving work on mass gain during stopover. I have been especially involved in the Canadian Migration Monitoring Network, and am currently chair of its Science Committee.” For her tireless commitment to the conservation and study of migratory birds, the Symposium Stopover Awards Committee is honored to present ERICA H. DUNN with a Centennial Stopover Award.  (Stuart Mackenzie accepted the award on her behalf.)

4. In 2010, Jeff Gosse was selected as Civil Servant of the Year in Minnesota by the Federal Executive Board.  As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Region 3’s regional energy coordinator, Jeff Gosse helped coordinate selection of projects to protect migratory bird habitat in four states as part of a $4 million conservation plan for a major natural gas pipeline project. Gosse developed a $1 million, multi-year proposal under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to identify important migratory bird areas in the Great Lakes to facilitate environmentally sensitive siting of wind projects. Gosse also contributed to a national effort to develop wind project guidelines being developed by a Federal Advisory Committee administered by the Service.  With funding provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Jeff created the Midwest Avian Radar Team, a group of biologists using multiple methods such as avian radar, acoustic and ultrasonic monitoring, and visual bird surveys, to gain a broader picture of what is occurring on the landscape. Over the past six years, the Team has collected avian radar and bat data on all five of the Great Lakes, compiling the most comprehensive and sophisticated avian radar and bat acoustic databases for the Great Lakes ever assembled. 

Among the Team’s achievements:

Team members include (in alphabetic order): Timothy Bowden, Jeff Gosse, Rebecca Horton, David Larson, Daniel Nolfi, Erik Olson, Nathan Rathbun, and Michael Wells. In recognition of his outstanding leadership of ornithological radar and acoustic studies in the Great Lakes, the Symposium Stopover Awards Committee presents this Centennial Stopover Award to JEFF GOSSE.  (Accepting the award on his behalf was colleague Tom Will from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.)

5.  Mark Shieldcastle has worked for the Ohio Division of Wildlife for 32 years, retiring from his position as Project Leader of Wetland Wildlife Research in 2012.  Mark was a founding member of Black Swamp Bird Observatory and currently serves as their Director of Research.  He has conducted research on Bald Eagle, colonial waders, terns, wetland breeding birds, woodcock, shorebirds, colonial passerines, waterfowl, rails, cranes, migrating raptors, and migrating passerines.  Mark co-authored the Beneficial Use Impairments for Wildlife and Wildlife Habitat portion of the Lake Erie Management Plan, which is part of the Clean Water Act; The Great Lakes-Upper Mississippi River Regional Plan of the National Shorebird Plan; The Great Lakes-Upper Mississippi River Regional Plan of the North American Waterbird Plan; and has contributed to several of the regional plans of Partners-in-Flight.  Mark has authored or co-authored a variety of papers on passerines, Bald Eagles, cormorants, and contaminant issues with birds.  He developed recovery plans for the Bald Eagle, Osprey, Common Tern, Black-crowned Night-Heron, and Sandhill Crane in Ohio.  Mark has been the driving force behind the formation of the Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network for the past 10 years and has dedicated countless hours to testing and improving protocols for coordinated migration monitoring.  The  Symposium Stopover Awards Committee recognizes MARK SHIELDCASTLE with a Centennial Stopover Award for his extraordinary breadth of contributions to our understanding of migratory birds.

6.  Anna Peterson, who could not be with us tonight, received her B.S. in Science from Winona State University and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.  Anna’s dissertation, Avian Migration along a Coastal Ecological Barrier: Airspace and Stopover Habitat Use, was designed to find out how many birds migrate through the North Shore corridor, what paths they take, and where they stop to rest along the way.  Her study revealed a surprising finding: The numbers of raptors and songbirds traveling within about a mile of the shore are in the hundreds of thousands to millions, making this a massive movement that has been previously underestimated.  Over 100 species were identified, some on the decline and/or the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources’ list of “Bird Species of Greatest Conservation Need.”  Peterson discovered that the Sawtooth Mountain ridgelines acted as giant funnels, pulling in birds from hundreds of miles away, creating a bird superhighway of sorts between Lake Superior and the second ridgeline within one to six miles of the shore. Anna since has served on a USGS project to quantify airspace as habitat, coordinated additional bird and bat monitoring along Great Lakes shorelines in the context of wind power development, instructed at the Teton Science Schools and Western State Colorado University, and remains actively involved on the Steering Committee for the Midwest Landbird Migration Monitoring Network.  The Symposium Stopover Awards Committee gratefully acknowledges the contributions of ANNA PETERSON for her outstanding contributions to our knowledge of migratory birds on the Great Lakes.  Accepting this Centennial Stopover Award on her behalf is Tom Will.

Jane Anklam7. Jane Anklam has served as Northwoods Land Conservation Manager for the West Wisconsin Land Trust for 12 years. She has been directly involved in permanently preserving thousands of acres of prime stopover habitat in northern Wisconsin, stretching from the St. Louis and Nemadji rivers to the upper St. Croix and across streams of the south shore of Lake Superior. 

One of Jane’s projects, an easement with Camp Amnicon signed in 2014, protects 500 acres at the mouth of the Amnicon River, including two miles of wild Amnicon River frontage and a half- mile of Lake Superior shoreline.  An innovative feature of the easement is the creation of a significant new opportunity for migratory bird research.  The camp and the land trust partnered with the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative to enable avian researchers to utilize this land for long-term studies of migratory birds.  Jane recognized that private properties contiguous with Camp Amnicon also had ecological significance for migratory bird stopover habitat.  She secured easements for more than 800 acres on neighboring property for a combined total of 1,300+ acres that will remain protected forever.  Jane is currently working with several partners to protect a 212-acre site along the Lake Superior shore and Montreal River between Saxon Harbor and the Michigan state line.  Stopover features include hemlock, cedar, and maple along the coast, cut-over aspen inland, white and yellow birch, and many deep ravines.  In addition to her work with the land trust, Jane is an assistant professor with the University of Wisconsin – Extension program.  She works with Douglas County farmers to increase and improve habitat on private lands in the Lake Superior basin. 

Jane’s colleagues say that “she works tirelessly to make connections and to find partners who are willing to make conservation happen.  She knows that progress involves collaboration and she is always willing to lend a hand or, if necessary, lead the way to conserve her beloved north woods.”  With this Centennial Stopover Award, the Stopover Symposium Committee proudly recognizes the significant contributions of JANE ANKLAM to protecting migratory bird stopover habitats along the Lake Superior coast.

8. Originally hailing from Minnesota, Barbara Barzen moved to WI in 1987 and we at the Wisconsin DNR have been the prime beneficiaries.  She started working for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (NRF) in April 1988, took a break during 2000-2003 to write grants for the DNR’s Bureau of Endangered Resources, and has been back with NRF ever since, developing conservation programs and writing grants to support the DNR’s bird conservation work, including raising significant funds for the Trumpeter Swan Recovery Program and Whooping Crane restoration initiatives.  Barb helped start NRF’s Bird Protection Fund in 2007, and she kicked off the Great Wisconsin Birdathon with various partners in 2012.  She has also been very active with the Ferry Bluff Eagle Council and Bald Eagle Watching Days since 1988.  Most importantly, as far as Kim Grveles and I are concerned, she has tirelessly devoted countless hours to help raise funds for the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative since its inception in 2005.

For her exemplary dedication to bird conservation initiatives and the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative in particular, the Symposium Stopover Awards Committee is proud to present this Centennial Stopover Award to BARBARA BARZEN.

William Mueller9. Our next award recipient is Director of the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory on the western shore of Lake Michigan north of Milwaukee. He completed his master's degree at UW-Milwaukee and conducted his graduate research on the biogeography and recent decline of the Red-headed Woodpecker. He served as Conservation Chair of the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology from early 2002 through fall of 2012, and is presently actively involved with a number of ornithological groups around the state, including the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI), where he is co-chair of WBCI's Issues Committee and a current member of WBCI's Steering Committee. He is Project Coordinator for the Milwaukee BIOME Project, a group of twelve scientists and over 150 volunteers, operating in partnership with faculty and staff from Milwaukee's Urban Ecology Center, the Wisconsin DNR, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the University of Hawai'i, working on migratory stopover ecology of birds in an urban area. This highly deserving individual was a close friend and colleague of the late Dr. Noel Cutright to whom he attributes his penchant for long days afield and dedication to the conservation of Wisconsin’s birds. The Symposium Stopover Awards Committee is proud to present WILLIAM P. MUELLER with a Centennial Stopover Award.

10.  Since 1983, during his tenure at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Dr. David Ewert has expanded TNC’s science program in the Michigan Chapter and Great Lakes Program to include the evaluation of stopover sites for migratory birds in Michigan’s upper and lower peninsulas.  He has contributed heavily to Great Lakes ecoregional plans and has worked extensively with corporations and federal and state agencies on many biodiversity issues, especially forest management and birds.  He has also convened radar ornithologists and other ornithologists interested in bird migration at annual American Ornithologists’ Union meetings.  Prior to working with TNC, he conducted research on migratory birds, including the migration of loons at Whitefish Point, MI, on Lake Superior.

Dr. Ewert has been the chief adviser to the development of the Wisconsin Stopover Initiative since its inception in 2005, and he began helping to plan this symposium with Kim and myself on April 23, 2014. For his guidance, mentoring, and assistance in the development of stopover programs in the Great Lakes, the Symposium Stopover Awards Committee heartily recognizes the seminal contributions of DAVID N. EWERT with this Centennial Stopover Award

11. The final award recipient of the evening has had 16 years experience in coordinating conservation and management projects in Wisconsin and Michigan, and has coordinated bird field studies for Michigan State Parks, Michigan Natural Features Inventory, The Nature Conservancy, and the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory Program.  She leads the Kirtland’s Warbler conservation and management strategy for the State of Wisconsin, has 26 years experience in volunteer recruitment and development, and has organized workshops and professional conferences for county, state, and non-profit agencies.

Most importantly as far as this symposium is concerned, she has led the effort to give voice to the migratory bird stopover movement in Wisconsin since its inception in 2005, and has been easily the most recognizable advocate for stopover conservation in the state.  Her Grosbeak Galore workshops along Lakes Michigan and Superior have met with high praise from landowners, educators, and administrators.  For her tireless commitment to the conservation of migratory birds in Wisconsin, the Symposium Stopover Committee is proud to award KIM GRVELES our final Centennial Stopover Award.