The Important Bird Areas (IBA) program is an international effort, with a global network of more than 12,000 IBAs identified in 200 countries, that exists to identify and encourage voluntary protection of critical habitat for birds throughout their annual lifecycle — breeding, migration, wintering.
In Wisconsin, there are 93 IBAs, and the program is coordinated by the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership (WBCP), a coalition of 180 organizations dedicated to conserving birds. WBCP’s early IBA-related efforts focused primarily on identification and designation of new areas. Over the past year and a half, we have developed a process for assessing and prioritizing Wisconsin IBAs based on a range of criteria. Data collection and analysis included: 1) a general assessment of the conservation values of each existing IBA, 2) defining the short- and long-term threats to habitat loss and degradation and their potential resilience in the face of climate change, and 3) contacting local stakeholders to assess human capital and local organizational capacity. While this is an important step, WBCP recognizes that proactive coordination will be critical for conservation efforts within IBAs to reach their full potential. Statewide coordination for 93 diverse IBAs needs to be well-defined and focused.
The WBCP Steering Committee has now created an IBA Project Coordinator position to work with partners to help ensure that IBA designations continue to play a meaningful role in bird conservation by protecting and enhancing valuable bird habitat. The IBA Project Coordinator will work with IBA stakeholders and partners (such as WI Department of Natural Resources, land trusts, land managers, bird clubs, etc.) in tailored approaches to build conservation strategies that are the best fit for each unique priority IBA.
We seek an IBA Project Coordinator/independent contractor to support project work under the following conditions:
Term: Part-time (15-20 hours/week) for 1 year starting immediately; position has potential to continue after 1 year, pending funding.
Location: Work will be conducted remotely, in or very near Wisconsin (schedule and work time are flexible), with occasional in-person meetings or events.
Pay Rate: $23/hour; payments will be administered bi-weekly based on hours worked.
Reimbursement: Personal vehicle mileage reimbursement provided at standard IRS rate; reimbursement for food and lodging (if necessary) during travel.
Benefits: None; unpaid time off may be taken if desired and approved.
Total Maximum Pay: $31,000.
Supervisor: WBCP IBA Committee.
Deadline to Apply: 11:59 pm CST on 28 February 2022.
Position Roles & Responsibilities:
Act as a catalyst to help establish strong local partnerships of stakeholders (such as Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory, Milwaukee County Parks, Audubon Great Lakes) at individual IBAs across the state, starting with identified pilot IBAs. Expand to additional IBAs as opportunities and time allow.
Pilot IBA support: Conduct targeted, ongoing conversations with partners. Help translate big vision to specific on-the-ground (implementation) plan.
Provide logistical support for IBA subcommittees (i.e., keep things moving), such as providing background help for workshop(s) and drafting IBA site accounts.
Attend meetings with the WBCP Steering Committee, IBA Committee, and IBA subcommittees.
Serve as the primary public and media contact for IBA-related matters, including reaching out to media outlets and posting to social media to celebrate IBA management success stories.
Share IBA management success stories amongst partners and prospective partners to help engage existing and emerging partnerships.
Maintain regular communication with partners and stakeholders. Develop tools to communicate with stakeholders at different levels (e.g., templates with commonalities, different messages for common audiences).
Organize and manage a digital repository of project-related IBA resources (e.g., research, discussions, data).
Collate and maintain contact list for IBA partnerships.
Identify and synthesize funding sources for use by local IBA partners (e.g., compile resources for types of grants, info that would align with regional plans). Assist in writing grants, as needed.
Ensure that IBA information resources are readily available to IBA site owners and managers. Complete training to establish fundamental and detailed understanding of how to apply the IBA Decision Support Tool to IBAs.
Help periodically update the IBA website using WordPress.
Experience coordinating and organizing projects and working with multiple partners.
Passionate about advancing bird conservation efforts.
Be organized, a team player, and patient listener.
Experience working with MS Excel/Word, Zoom, Google Drive, and website software.
Verbal and written communication skills.
Independent, responsible, honest, and reliable.
Commitment to work inclusively and respectfully within a diverse community.
Hold a bachelor’s degree.
How to Apply:
Submit a brief cover letter and resume or CV to Karen Etter Hale at firstname.lastname@example.org by 11:59 pm CST on 28 February 2022. Feel free to reach out to Karen for questions about this position.
We are committed to providing a safe space that is free of any kind of discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, disability, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, politics, or veteran status.
WBCP recently partnered with Tom Prestby and GEI Consultants to assess the 93 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Wisconsin to determine strengths and weaknesses of each IBA’s bird conservation potential and identify those with high potential for accelerated, strategic conservation delivery. Factors relating to bird usage, landscape and climate change resilience, and social capacity and support were analyzed with data from eBird, GIS, and a comprehensive survey that was distributed to contacts associated with each IBA. The analysis produced a detailed account on how each IBA currently delivers bird conservation for these factors, and preliminary lists of IBAs with high and moderate potential to deliver accelerated, strategic conservation delivery.
Through a series of discussions and workshops, WBCP then considered possible next steps for delivering conservation to these priority IBAs and the rest of the state’s IBAs. WBCP partnered with UW-Madison and Rachael Klicko to learn even more details about which actions can best improve conservation in the identified priority IBAs. This effort produced recommended strategies of how bird conservation can be delivered in these IBAs. A common theme in both efforts is that each IBA is unique and requires a plan tailored to its situation for bird conservation delivery.
We have come a long way in our knowledge of the conservation potential for Wisconsin’s IBAs in the last two years and are now supplied with detailed information for each IBA and bustling energy from our partners around the state to move this effort into the conservation delivery phase. We continue to strategize on how to best do this and look forward to taking next steps in 2022, beginning with the hiring of a part-time IBA coordinator early in the year.
It’s another great year for winter finches in Wisconsin! Learn where to find them, what they eat, and how things may play out in the months ahead in this regional update from WDNR Conservation Biologist, Ryan Brady.
Have you heard of the Greater prairie-chicken? This is an extremely charismatic wildlife species in Wisconsin. People travel from all over to watch their intriguing mating display each spring. Wisconsin DNR is drafting a new management plan for this species and an initial proposal outlines four possible paths forward through 2032. The comment period for public input runs through Feb. 17, 2022. Learn more and provide input here.
The best way to celebrate birds is to spend time outdoors bird watching. To continue the celebration of birds throughout the year, here are some actions you can take to make a difference for birds every day! Thanks to our partners at the Western Great Lakes Bird & Bat Observatory for this wonderful graphic.
Conserving “our” birds requires conservation in the tropics, where many of our species spend the winter. Check out this fascinating new StoryMap from the Neotropical Flyways Project that shows the remarkable journey of Wisconsin’s breeding birds and the efforts to understand and protect them along the way. A huge shout out to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Foundation (and all you Birdathon participants) for supporting this project through the Bird Protection Fund!
On January 19, a major win for America’s wildlife was accomplished, renewing hope for bipartisan cooperation in the U.S. Congress. The U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources voted to pass the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (H.R.2773) out of committee–an important step closer toward passage! RAWA would bring essential funding to conservation projects in our state with no new or increased taxes. Learn more and contact your representative: https://wicoalitionforrawa.org/
Online voting in the Wisconsin Conservation Congress is open through Thursday, April 16 at 7pm. Make your voice heard by learning more and submitting the survey found at the DNR’s website here. This is a great activity to do from home, so please make some time to prepare for and respond to survey questions!
In particular, questions relating to banning use of lead tackle and ammunition on public lands (“yes” to questions 1-7) are of high interest to bird-lovers. Even a tiny amount of lead consumption can be fatal to scavengers like eagles or fish-eating aquatic birds like loons. These incredible animals deserve better, and this overdue change can have a major positive impact on bird health.
Late last year our logo art competition garnered 60 submissions from dozens of artists around the state. But only one design came out on top, delivering a sharp, fresh look for WBCP as we move into a new era of bird conservation. Congratulations and thank you to Ryan Steiskal of Milwaukee for his bold design emphasizing the species and scope of our work. We sat down with Ryan to ask him a few questions about his art and the inspiration behind his winning design.
When did you become interested in art?
I think it’s pretty accurate to say that I’ve been into art all my life. It started around age two, when I could first pick up a marker or crayon and has continued to be a passion into adulthood. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with my Bachelor of Fine Arts a few years ago and have been working to put my skills to good use by focusing on commissions, producing illustrative work for research papers and taking up graphic design work.
How did you find out about our logo art competition?
I actually found out about the contest from a friend. I mentioned to her how I’m trying to branch out more and teach myself graphic design. A few days later, she sent me a link to the WBCI logo contest and strongly encouraged me to enter. Despite my initial hesitation, due to my amateur knowledge and skills in graphic art, I inevitably took the chance and gave it my all. I ended up making a design that I felt very proud of. When I learned that my design had won, I felt a further source of pride and validation, too. I suppose there’s an important lesson to be learned here about taking chances to pursue your passion. And with that, I should ultimately thank my friend, Melissa, for showing support by referring me to this contest.
What inspired your logo design?
The inspiration for my design comes from my parents and the birds that I associate with childhood memories that I have growing up in Wisconsin. The hummingbird I used in the logo is associated with my mom. She adores hummingbirds and we would always work together to setup the feeder each summer; both of us eagerly waiting to see if any hummingbirds would visit. It’s such a wonderfully, bizarre bird (not unlike my mom), and having the opportunity to observe and feed them always brought both of us joy. The level of excitement my mom experiences whenever she sees a hummingbird approach her feeder is still infectious to this day.
The goose is associated with my dad and the hunting trips we would go on when I was very young. I honestly never really had much interest in hunting, however, I was always excited to accompany my dad to his duck/goose blind out on the water, learning about how delicate a ecosystem, like a wetlands, can be and the responsibilities we have to mindful on how our presence can impact that environment. It always felt like an adventure in my young mind and those trips helped grow the bond between me and my dad that remains strong to this day.
The crane in the logo is tied to more memories of home from my childhood. The cranes were frequent visitors to the man-made pond behind our house. When I was a very young tot, my parents would always get a rise out of me by referring to the sandhill cranes that flew by as “pterodactyls”. As a child who was appropriately obsessed with dinosaurs at that time, this always made me rush to the windows or outside to gaze upon those magnificent, lengthy birds. By the time I grew up and left home to go to college, the image of crane changed and started to become a symbol of familiarity and comfort to me, paying homage to my childhood wonder and my parents’ odd (but beloved) sense of humor. To this day, whenever I’m around them, they still refer to any cranes they see as “pterodactyls”, while I still look upon them, both the cranes and my parents, with the same wonderment.
Being raised by my parents here in Wisconsin was key to forming my strong love and respect for nature that I still carry with me today. The birds from my past are an expression of my appreciation for those memories gained and lessons learned in my life. It is my hope that the logo I have designed, inspired by that appreciation, serves as a fitting representation for WBCP and their continued work in conserving and restoring the habitats of these beloved birds of Wisconsin.
Just over a decade ago, WBCP led the charge to identify, designate, and describe in a published book nearly 90 Important Bird Areas across Wisconsin. While this was an important first step, WBCP recognized in its latest strategic plan that proactive coordination will be critical for conservation efforts within these IBAs to reach their full potential. Toward that end, Tom Prestby, an environmental scientist with GEI Consultants, has been hired in 2020 to initiate the second phase of Wisconsin’s IBA program. Learn more >>>