Manomet scientists at the 5th Western Hemisphere Shorebird Group Meeting last month collected information from South American colleagues to incorporate into an ambitious conservation plan for the entire Atlantic Flyway.


The Atlantic Flyway Shorebird Conservation Business Strategy was developed with dozens of other researchers as a comprehensive approach to conserving shorebird species. The plan was celebrated at a U.S. Senate reception in 2012, with Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) saying that it “has the potential to be an important model for other conservation efforts across the country and throughout the world.”


Manomet Conservation Specialist Brad Winn led the session last month at the Shorebird Group meeting in Santa Marta, Colombia.


“We had an opportunity to explain the strategy and try to extract as much information as we could from South American participants and field experts,” Winn said. “We had half a day, but we could have gone on for much longer.”


Winn was joined at the conference by a Manomet contingent that included President John Hagan, American Oystercatcher Recovery Campaign Coordinator Shiloh Schulte, Conservation Specialist Meredith Gutowski Morehouse, Southern Cone Program Coordinator Diego Luna Quevedo and outgoing Shorebird Recovery Project Director Charles Duncan. The event was hosted and organized by the Calidris Association, a Colombian environmental conservation nonprofit.


“The meeting allowed an incredibly geographically diverse group of people, doing similar or related work, to actually come together,” Winn said. “Meeting in person allowed us to learn from each other and also collaborate on future research and shorebird conservation efforts from the highest Arctic landscapes to the lowest Patagonian beaches.”


According to Schulte, conference attendees shared a concern about the state of conservation funding. He added, however, that the meeting showed shorebird conservation challenges are similar throughout the Western Hemisphere and those parallels create opportunities for intercontinental cooperation.


“Every problem is local. Every site has different cultural, social and environmental conditions,” Schulte said. “But there are definitely also a lot of similarities in the difficulties that people are facing in South America and there are more opportunities than ever for collaboration between the northern and southern hemispheres.”


Dave McGlinchey