It is a pleasure to introduce myself and an honor to share with you some of the reasons why I am so very excited to be a part of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. I believe that, together, we can – and we must — do more than we ever imagined.
In April of this year, I retired from Ripon College, where I had the good fortune of being involved in many aspects of fundraising, including annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, as well as an endowment and a capital campaign. I am excited to take this experience and combine it with the extraordinary talents of the Observatory's staff and volunteers, who demonstrate their dedication to its critically important work every day.
Like you, I have always been passionate about the environment. Nature has been my life-long friend and is at the center of the reflective and recreational activities that my family and I most enjoy. As an undergraduate, I was immensely fortunate to be a student of Dr. William S. (Bill) Brooks, ornithologist and ecologist. If he were still with us, I know that Bill would jump at the opportunity to be a part of the mission-critical work of the Observatory.
Why the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory? Why now?
- Many of our bird and all of our bat populations are declining: Science matters. The Observatory has over a dozen projects underway that are providing critical scientific research and monitoring of our bird and bat populations in the region and beyond. We have contractual agreements with a variety of partners, including federal agencies. The data we collect and the research we conduct stands alone on its merits and is also regularly and frequently cited in other scientific publications.
- Extensive cuts to the Wisconsin DNR, as well as cuts in many federal environmental protection efforts, have created an urgent need for us to do more and to do it NOW. The work of the Observatory is helping to fill this gap, and our efforts must accelerate and expand in (and for) the future: Our birds and bats depend on it.
- Our Director, William (Bill) Mueller, has spearheaded the Observatory’s extensive involvement in one of the most important bird and other wildlife monitoring projects in North America. The Wisconsin subnetwork of Motus stations is in a phase of rapid development. The Forest Beach Migratory Preserve Motus station is up and operational, and by summer’s end five additional stations will be in place in Manitowoc County, Waukesha County, the Milwaukee Zoo, and Grant County. Two additional stations will be constructed in Columbia and Iowa counties. Many more are in the planning stage. Motus stations serve to monitor birds and other wildlife throughout Wisconsin and the Midwest, in coordination with other American and Canadian institutions, agencies, and independent researchers. Click here for details about Bill’s Motus station projects and information about Motus in North America.
- The Observatory started the Midwest Migration Network. For those of you who are familiar with the Network, I ask you to imagine where our understanding of bird migration would be without this network. For those wanting to learn about MMN, please click here.
- Collaboration is a core value of the Observatory. The extensive network of partnerships is, perhaps, the Observatory’s most unique and greatest asset. These “symbiotic” relationships help to ensure that the whole of these diverse efforts is greater than the sum of its parts. In short, it takes an ecosystem of like-minded organizations to save our planet. Click here for a list of partner organizations
- And, so much more. Please visit our website or contact one of our Board members for more information.
Your gifts help meet the urgent and ever-growing need for the monitoring, research, and education that the Observatory provides. Please give as generously as you can.
Thank you for your time and attention – and, in the words of Dr. Samuel D. Robbins, Jr:
Keep them flitting, feeding, and flying,