Belize. The Zoological Society’s Education Department ran these classes, which included children doing field observation of birds at study sites near their schools. The ZSM and FWC also created a colorful, educational bird poster called Let’s Protect Our Belizean Birds and distributed more than 2,500 copies in Belize.
Shawn Graff and Cheryl White of Slinger observed birds during the 10th anniversary party for Birds Without Borders – Aves Sin Fronteras®, a project they have supported.
Goal No. 4: to train Belizeans so that they could design and conduct further research independently. “In Wisconsin, we have had 18 college students or recent graduates work with us as interns,” said Piaskowski. “Many have gone on to graduate school or continued in the research/conser- vation field. In Belize, 22 Belizeans have been trained while working with BWB-AS , many of whom remain in the conservation field. We hired only Belizeans, and the expertise they acquired far surpassed our initial expectations. We now have a full-time, year-round staff of five Belizeans. Our Belize staff is proud to be the first Belizean nation- als who have given scientific presentations and authored or co-authored scientific papers.” which was previously unde- scribed by scientists. It was important to follow up on such a sighting, and so the staff made observations of the nest, sketches, photos, etc., and then published a paper on it. They would complete such shorter-term projects and get papers written while contin- uing on the longer term proj- ects. It was a credit to Vicki and the entire team, even though they are spread out between two countries, that they used their time so efficiently. It was a goal of BWB-ASF to get information out as quickly as possible, Vicki Piaskowski (right), international coordinator of Birds Without Borders – Aves Sin Fronteras®, met with donors to the project: Arlene Hansen and Fred Ott. Ott donated land near Rosendale, Wis. Producing so many scientific papers as well as a lay-person’s guide while also being involved in extensive conservation and education programs is a significant achievement, said Dr. Boese. “The research went on for seven years. Not only were Vicki and the co-authors doing work in the field, but they also were pub- lishing papers, giving presentations at meetings, and giving pub- lic talks. While the staff was doing bird banding, population cen- suses, and trying to determine the birds’ breeding success and survival rates, other things would come up. One exciting find in Belize was the discovery of a mangrove vireo nest with eggs, and they are doing that.” Now that the main goals are done or nearly done, BWB-ASF has expanded its mission, said Dr. Boese. BWB-AS , under the auspices of the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation and in part- nership with the ZSM, is now managing Runaway Creek Nature Preserve, which is owned by the FWC, and using the preserve as a field-study area. “We will continue to collect data on migratory and resident birds to help conserve them, but we also will study other wildlife. We are launching a series of action groups in part- nership with other organizations that will focus on vari- ous species or orders of animals and plants.” Already begun are field studies of endangered jaguars and rare jabiru storks. In early January Dr. Boese met with repre- sentatives of two universities and the Belize Zoo to launch a study of spider monkeys. And three other proj- ects are in the works, including one to study a possible new plant species in the genus Zamia and two projects to help the people in Belize. Through BWB-ASF Dr. Boese also is helping other groups to secure private land next to Runaway Creek Nature Preserve that can be turned into preserves. “The goal is to have multiple owners joining together under a philosophy of wisely managed, privately protected areas and then partnering with governments to better manage public areas. I see a need for a global movement to pro- tect larger land areas. I think this will be critical to the future of the human race. These land areas are the oxygen sources.” Boese also is on the boards of other groups that are working to create large wildlife preserves in Africa. Birds Without Borders – Aves Sin Fronteras® donors Scott Haag of Pewaukee and Susan Barbiere of Mequon (left) joined Lillian and Gil Boese of Pewaukee at the BWB-ASF anniversary party. Dr. Gil Boese is founder of the BWB-ASF project and is president of the Foundation for Wildlife Conservation, Inc. -By Paula Brookmire
Alive WINTER 2007