Science Director, Dr. Jennifer Phillips-Vanderberg
It takes a village to do the planning that’s involved in steering the Observatory. Because the primary mission of the Observatory is a scientific one (“to advance knowledge of bird and bat populations and their conservation in Wisconsin and throughout the Western Great Lakes Region through coordinated research, monitoring, and education using good science”), the work of the Science Committee is vital. In the words of its chair, Sue Schumacher:
“What does the Science Committee do? We support the work headed by our Director Jennifer Phillips-Vanderberg. How we do that is the fun and exciting part of volunteering. Members of the committee have varied backgrounds in the science field and bring a variety of information to the group. We assist her with developing scientific research projects and environmental tasks for the Observatory to carry out, such as the Waterbird Watch and the American Kestrel nest box cooperators network. This can involve looking for and writing requests for grant monies. Committee members may volunteer to carry out portions of the field work, analysis of data, or writing up results. Studies can provide valuable data about the ecosystem and species in the Forest Beach area and beyond; a number of these studies have been published in science journals. We’re currently working on installing Motus wildlife-tracking towers and looking to develop research studies involving the tracking of birds in the region.
One item the committee is working on now is preparations for the 2020 Western Great Lakes Conservation Summit (formerly called the Southeastern Wisconsin Conservation Summit), which will be held on Oct 30-31 at the Mequon Nature Preserve. We updated the name to be more inclusive of the unique ecology along the Western Great Lakes. Committee members are planning email “save the dates” and invitations to speakers, as well as outreach to students to encourage their attendance. Keep your eyes open for future info on this event -- we plan to have some exceptional presenters again this year!