Successful 1st Eastern Partners in Flight Meeting

The Eastern Working Group of Partners in Flight held a scoping meeting at the Nashville Zoo 24-25 April 2019. Thirty people from 25 different bird conservation organizations, partnerships, and working groups attended to explore the formation of an Eastern Working Group and to identify a small number of initial priorities the group could focus on. The meeting began with a series of short presentations that provided information on the current priorities, unaddressed needs, and challenges to implementation for bird conservation in Eastern Canada and the United States. One goal of the Eastern Working Group is to take advantage of working collaboratively across the full geography of Eastern birds, as has been productive for single-species working groups like the Golden-winged Warbler Working Group and an approach the PIF Western Working Group has enjoyed for 28 years. 

The meeting participants expressed positive support for moving ahead with the formation of a PIF Eastern Working Group. The initial structure for supporting further development of the Eastern Working Group will include a core leadership team, responsible for overall operation and coordination, along with three topical sub-teams to facilitate activities around the following priority topic areas:

  1. Full Annual Cycle Planning, including the development and implementation of conservation investment strategies that promote linkages between breeding, migration, and wintering habitats for eastern North American birds. Proposed initial activities include gathering current pieces from existing full annual cycle planning into a prospectus of concepts that we can present to both funders and future partners across the Western Hemisphere to initiate a dialogue about where these full annual cycle efforts should go next.
  2. Data Management and Information Sharing (including coordinated monitoring). Initial activities could include facilitating an evaluation and analysis of the Avian Knowledge Network to identify sticking points and unmet needs. The PIF Eastern Working Group could also provide a forum for outreach around information sharing, translating data for public consumption, and highlighting emerging themes for conservation action.
  3. Science Delivery, with a focus on delivering knowledge about best practices to landowners and land managers in clear, easily understandable ways along with solutions for how they might be able to implement those practices. Initial activities could include integrating best management practices that create forest conditions to support bird populations – across species, across scales, across ownership and that enable delivery at large scales. Activities might also include the development of a clearinghouse for outreach materials that synthesizes and provides context for specific outreach needs and facilitates targeting audiences with the best information in appropriate formation.

Initial tasks for the leadership team include: i) coordinating initial communications about the outcomes of this meeting and directions for EWG to the broader bird conservation community, ii) establishing guiding principles for operations of and participation in the teams and EWG at large, and iii) exploring opportunities to bring on an Eastern Working Group coordinator through existing partner staff time and/or raising external funds. Each team will be reaching out for broader participation from the bird conservation community, so don’t be shy about getting in touch with the temporary contact person for any of the teams, including the core leadership team.

Photo: Dr. Randy Dettmers of USFWS received a PIF Leadership Award at the Eastern PIF meeting in Nashville, TN for his diligent efforts in the realm of bird conservation.