Abstract (150 words max):
The Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative – a program developed by a diverse set of stakeholders to transition the Kirtland’s Warbler from recovery to long-term survival away from protections under the Endangered Species Act – turned five years old in 2017. At its launch partners knew they were stepping into uncharted territory (the Kirtland’s Warbler is considered a conservation-reliant species – one that will continue to need conservation actions by humans for survival). Now, in 2018, the new evolution in thinking and organization around the future of the species is being recognized by national leaders in bird and endangered species conservation “as the model for how we ought to approach all conservation reliant causes.” This panel presentation and Q&A session will highlight the innovative strategies put in place by the program to ensure preservation of institutional knowledge, provide structure for expanding partnerships, design a sustainable funding model and meet the need to elevate social science research to equal priority alongside land management policies and practices.
Presenter 1 Organization:
Presenter 1 Biography:
Abigail Ertel is the Community Program Lead for Huron Pines, a nonprofit conservation organization committed to protecting the Great Lakes by conserving the forests, lakes and streams of Northeast Michigan. Abby, who was born and raised in New Brunswick, Canada, joined Huron Pines in 2010 as the Watershed Project Manager and now leads development of the organization’s community engagement programming. Leading programs like the Kirtland’s Warbler Initiative and working directly with technical staff and partners to expand conservation projects into communities to align natural resources sustainability goals with building vibrant communities brings together Abby’s passion for motivating support for conservation at the local level and her ability to develop strong strategic partnerships that honor diverse values and connections to natural resources. She earned her Master’s in Geography from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Abby resides in Grayling with her husband and two children, and she can often be caught up experimenting with a new pie recipe or outside distance running.
Presenter 2 Organization:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Presenter 2 Biography:
Scott Hicks is the Field Supervisor for the USFWS Michigan Ecological Service Field Office. The Field Office implements endangered species, environmental contaminants, and other habitat conservation programs. Prior to arriving in East Lansing in 2011, Scott was the Deputy Field Supervisor for the Service’s field office in Wyoming. He has also worked in the Service’s Headquarters office in the international and endangered species programs as a biologist and as the Endangered Species Listing Branch Chief. Scott previously worked for the National Park Service.
Presenter 3 Organization:
Presenter 3 Biography:
Dave Ewert is an Avian Conservation Scientist with The Nature Conservancy. He works on several conservation topics, including winter habitat and conservation of the Kirtland’s Warbler in The Bahamas, protection of stopover sites for migratory birds in the Great Lakes region, and Great Lakes coastline and island protection. Dr. Ewert received his B.S. from the University of Michigan, and Ph.D. from the City University of New York. His research and conservation projects have taken him to the West Indies, Central and South America. He has served on boards of conservation organizations, including the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance, and teaches at the University of Michigan Biological Station.
Presenter 4 Organization:
Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance
Presenter 4 Biography:
Jerry Rucker is currently chairman of the Huron Pines Board of directors and is chairman
of the Kirtland’s Warbler Alliance. Jerry became familiar with Huron Pines through
his involvement with Trout Unlimited and the Au Sable North Branch Area
Foundation, volunteering at many Huron Pines river restoration events. Happily
accepting the invitation to serve on the board, Jerry shares his enthusiasm for
conservation and expertise as a semi-retired marketing executive. As a home
owner in the heart of the Michigan jack pine country he became an advocate for
the Kirtland’s Warbler and the jack pine ecosystem. Jerry looks forward to
continuing his advocacy for the Kirtland’s Warbler through his involvement with
the Alliance as well as assisting Huron Pines with growing and maintaining strong
cross-boundary relationships with nonprofits, volunteers and government
organizations. This work will keep Huron Pines projects strong for years to come
and the organization a leader in the field of natural resources conservation for
Michigan and in the Great Lakes Basin.
Presenter 5 Organization:
Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division