A Traveling Workshop
By Barb Bresson, US Forest Service and BLM Regional Avian Program Manager
This article is the fifth installment in the series Achieving Partners in Flight Strategic Goals and Objectives.
Partners in Flight’s science-based method for bird conservation incorporates a multi-species approach for assessing landbird vulnerabilities and needs, setting measurable conservation targets, describing management to meet these targets, and measuring the effectiveness of conservation actions.
One of Partners in Flight’s goals is to integrate its science-based approach into public agency planning and actions in order to advance bird conservation while helping land managers meet ecosystem management objectives. The Oregon-Washington Chapter of Partners in Flight developed a traveling workshop to provide information to land managers about bird conservation processes, priorities, and tools.
The Chapter began developing the workshops during the winter of 2012, and the focus was on Partners in Flight’s science-based tools that support ecosystem management. The objective was to demonstrate how these various tools can be used for assessing conservation needs, setting quantifiable management objectives, evaluating management alternatives, and monitoring management effectiveness. The sessions were structured to review current policies and plans, discuss the pros and cons of the various species lists available, and present information on the Joint Ventures and Landscape Conservation Cooperatives. Other topics included bird conservation within the context of ecological forestry, focal species as measurable indicators of desired management conditions, and the consistent use of Partners in Flight science-based tools within the National Environmental Policy Act (a.k.a. NEPA). Our presenters included John Alexander (Klamath Bird Observatory), Bob Altman (American Bird Conservancy and Pacific Coast Joint Venture), Dan Casey (American Bird Conservancy and Intermountain West Coast Joint Venture), Mike Green (US Fish and Wildlife Service), Aaron Holmes (Point Blue Conservation Science and Northwest Wildlife Science), and Jaime Stephens (Klamath Bird Observatory). The material covered in the sessions was considered essential to those involved in on-the-ground bird conservation and was geared toward the major habitats found throughout the bi-state area (i.e., mixed conifer, oak woodlands, sage brush, and ponderosa pine habitats).
Four locations throughout Oregon and Washington were selected for the workshops. The sites were carefully chosen to minimize the amount of travel and overnight stays required for participants; instead, the cadre of 6 individuals who presented the workshops took on the driving and overnight stays. The workshops were all one day in length; they began at 10:00 a.m. (allowing for morning travel) and ended at 4:00 p.m. The workshops were open to both government and non-government personnel, and workshop participants registered in advance for one of the 4 workshop locations. A total of 146 people attended the 4 workshops; of these, 94 people were from a federal agency, 43 were from NGOs, and 9 were from state agencies. Region Six of the Forest Service contributed $20,000 plus staff time for coordinating the sessions. Partners from Klamath Bird Observatory, American Bird Conservancy, Northwest Wildlife Science, Intermountain West Joint Venture, Pacific Coast Joint Venture, Point Blue Conservation Science, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Geological Survey, and Natural Resource Conservation Service contributed $10,000 in-kind in staff time. By holding the workshops in multiple locations we calculated a savings of approximately $195,000 associated with travel and lodging costs and staff time.
Partners in Flight intends to replicate these workshops throughout the various Bird Conservation Regions across the country. Oregon-Washington Partners in Flight members are available to participate, advise and assist any regions that are willing to present a similar avian conservation message. The training materials, including all the power point presentations, can be found under “workshops” on the Oregon-Washington Chapter of Partners in Flight web page.