An innovative social marketing campaign to conserve crucial shorebird populations received a $82,500 grant from the William Penn Foundation this month.

The campaign focuses on crucial migratory bird habitat in the Delaware Bay region of New Jersey and Delaware. The project is designed to help the Bay’s residents and visitors connect with the migratory shorebirds that rely on the region for survival.

“This project is on the cutting edge, so it is wonderful to receive a vote of confidence from a world-class funding organization like the William Penn Foundation,” said Charles Duncan, director of the Manomet Center’s Shorebird Recovery Project.

Migratory shorebirds and the ancient horseshoe crab have suffered precipitous declines over the past 12 years.  For several species, including the endangered Red Knot, research has shown the major cause of declines to be overfishing of horseshoe crabs. The crab eggs provide critical food for knots on their way from wintering grounds in southern South America to breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic.  Horseshoe crabs play a critical role in human health as well—an extract from their blood tests for contamination in injectable drugs and implantable medical devices.

“Our campaign will create voluntary, focused action by a broad suite of partners to reduce threats to crabs and shorebirds,” Duncan said. “We will improve the sustainability of fisheries and connect people to the Bay like people connect to their hometown baseball team.”

The William Penn Foundation is dedicated to improving quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region, including through connections to nature and community.

The Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences uses science and partnerships to develop solutions for complex natural resource challenges. The mission of its Shorebird Recovery Project is to recover and maintain Western Hemisphere shorebird populations.


Charles Duncan, Shorebird Recovery Project Director
Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
T: 207.871.9295, F: 207.842.6496,