RAPTOR RESEARCH FOUNDATION 2021 ELECTIONS
The Raptor Research Foundation election season is here! The RRF nominations committee worked hard to line up a great slate of candidates for four directors’ seats for the 2021 election.
Voting is a critical role for RRF members. Why? Because your vote represents your voice for the future of RRF. RRF directors are the only voting members on our board and their decisions will have an impact on RRF’s future.
Voting in the RRF elections is your chance to elect candidates who will work for the issues you care about. This year’s ballot will contain two important topics for RRF members:
- Election for positions on the Board of Directors
- Vote on revisions to our mission statement and to our Bylaws
Candidate for directors, serving a 3-year term
At Large Director #2 and #5 (vote for two; all nominees are pooled and the two who receive the most votes win the seats): Cindy Kemper, Marco Restani, Lisa Takats-Priestley
North American Director #2 (vote for one): Wade Eakle, Julie Heath
Director Outside North America (vote for one): Zoe Smith, Jemima Parry-Jones
Nominees and Biography Sketches
Director At Large #2 and #5: vote for 2
I completed my MSc. research on raptor electrocution mortality on power lines at the University of Alberta in 2005. Soon after, I accepted a half-time position as a Species at Risk Biologist with the Fish and Wildlife Branch of the Alberta government, where I still am today. The species I work on are diverse however I have particular interest and involvement in the recovery of endangered ferruginous hawks, Buteo regalis. During the other half of my time, I own Bird on a Wire Environmental Services, Inc., providing client support to electric utilities and other power line operators to reduce raptor-caused power outages and associated mortality on power lines. While wearing these two hats, I have also accumulated 14 years’ experience working part time as a raptor rehabilitator. I first became a member of the Raptor Research Foundation in 2005 during my graduate studies; I have always enjoyed the collaboration, comradery and professional development opportunities that RRF offers! It’s inspiring to be part of a group of like-minded professionals that proudly wear their raptor t-shirts, even outside of conferences. I joined the RRF board in 2018 and have appreciated the opportunity to be a part of such a devoted group of raptor researchers who bring a broad range of experiences and perspectives, and come together to lead this organization with not only the well-being of raptors in the forefront of their minds, but the well-being of their members too. I have enjoyed the challenge of chairing the Code of Conduct Committee, still a relatively new committee, but there is much more work to do! I have also recently joined the fledgling Mentorship committee and I aim to increase diversity and inclusivity of all RRF members, current and potential, in both of these roles. I hope to continue to serve on the RRF board, thank you for your consideration!
For over 30 years I have worked closely with federal and state agencies, industries, NGOs, and tribes to advance raptor conservation throughout the western United States. I joined the Raptor Research Foundation (RRF) in 1987, and for decades the society has shaped my development. My graduate studies on buteos (MS) and bald eagles (PhD) led to a first career in academia. While a Professor of Wildlife Ecology in Minnesota, I served the society as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Raptor Research (JRR), a member of the Hamerstrom Award Committee, and a reviewer for JRR. In my current position with NorthWestern Energy in Montana, I develop and implement the company’s Avian Protection Program, activities that rely heavily on expertise held by RRF. My involvement with the society has come full circle. As a student, I presented my research at conferences and benefited from the mentoring of practicing biologists. Many of those connections led to friendships and some to professional collaborations. Finally, as a professor I advised graduate students who presented their research at RRF conferences. I look forward to the possibility of helping lead the society. I have served on Boards of Directors, Interagency Working Groups, and Industry Committees, promoting a diversity of missions from Audubon to the Avian Power Line Interaction Committee. If elected, I will apply my broad experience in research, education, and management to a range of RRF initiatives. Although loss of habitat, environmental contaminants, and persecution continue to suppress raptor populations, recent efforts to weaken landmark legislation, such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, laid bare how fragile long-term gains in raptor conservation might be. Determining how best to guide policy and management actions to reduce traditional and novel threats would be a priority if I were chosen to serve as a director.
I’ve been involved in raptor research and monitoring for over 25 years. I became a member of the Raptor Research Foundation in 1995, and as a student, felt welcomed by the board and members. Since then, I’ve attended and presented at many RRF conferences, assisted in reviewing papers for the Journal of Raptor Research, and, as a board member 2019-2021, assisted with student awards. My interest in being a board member is to give back to an organization that encourages students to make careers in raptor research and support the longtime members with engagement at conferences and the journal. I completed a biological sciences technical diploma (NAIT), and a MSc. on the ecology of Barred Owls in Alberta (University of Alberta). I’ve worked with Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Conservation Association, Bird Studies Canada, and Beaverhill Bird Observatory. I took the lead in developing Guidelines for Nocturnal Owl Monitoring in North America, and my husband and I initiated the first sawwhet owl fall monitoring in Alberta. We co-own STRIX Ecological Consulting (est. 2005) and work on various monitoring, inventory and assessment studies. Our raptor projects include nocturnal breeding owl and saw-whet migration monitoring, owl and kestrel nest boxes, wind farms, overwintering, migrating, nesting raptor banding, and kestrel and barred owl satellite telemetry. I also sit on the Short-eared Owl Working Group. Raptors are an important component of ecosystems, sitting high on the food chain. They can act as indicators of environmental health as they are affected by pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change. I’d like to continue serving as a RRF director to ensure that RRF continues to serve an important role for providing professionals, conservationists, and educators a way to share knowledge, collaborate on a variety of raptor initiatives, and engage with others on a variety of topics in this field.
North American Director #5: vote for one
Wade Eakle has been a RRF member since 1977, and took his first raptor job in 1981 with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to survey California Condors and Prairie Falcons on the Los Padres NF in southern California. Later, he reintroduced Bald Eagles on Santa Catalina Island with the Institute for Wildlife Studies and studied the habitat requirements of wintering and breeding Bald Eagles in Arizona with USFS researchers at the Rocky Mountain Research Station. Wade received his B.S. in Wildlife Management from Humboldt State University (CA) and M.S. in Wildlife & Fisheries Science from The University of Arizona where he tested the feasibility of identifying individual Bald Eagles with voice prints or sonagrams for his master’s thesis. Since the mid-1990’s he served as the regional Ecologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers division office headquartered in San Francisco, CA, during which time he coordinated the annual, nationwide Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey from 2008-2021. Wade has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, as well as the popular press, on many species including Bald and Golden Eagles, Prairie Falcon, Saker Falcon, Australasian Harrier, Palau Owl, and Cactus Ferruginous Pygmy-owl. His work with the Corps of Engineers also took him to Panama, Palau and India. Wade separated (retired) from Federal service in May 2021. Post-retirement, he continues to practice falconry as a licensed Master Falconer and supports several NGO’s on wildlife and raptor conservation projects including the Santa Rosa Bird Rescue Center’s raptor training program, True Wild’s “Living with Lions” project, and falcon surveys in Patagonia with the Institute for Raptor Studies. If elected, Wade looks forward to actively serving the raptor community and RRF members, and advancing the use of sound science to better understand the ecology and conservation needs of raptors around the globe.
I’ve been a member of the Raptor Research Foundation (RRF) for over 25 years and serve as faculty in the Raptor Biology Master’s program at Boise State University. I have fond memories of giving my first scientific presentation at the RRF conference in Flagstaff, AZ in 1994. RRF conferences have always been a great venue for student presentations. They create opportunities for interactions among diverse perspectives in raptor biology and conservation with members from academic, agency, and non-profit backgrounds. This authentic engagement between basic and applied fields demonstrates to students the value of broad collaboration and helps to keep raptors at the forefront of conservation. I’d like to serve on the RRF board to give back to the community that supported my career development and the development of so many students from undergraduate and graduate programs. As a board member, I would support exciting society trajectories, like providing new and relevant training options for early career scientists, and creating an inclusive culture to increase representation from underrepresented groups. These initiatives will attract and retain members, support cultural and scientific innovation, and help our members make meaningful contributions to raptor research and conservation. Raptors will face many emerging threats related to global change along with persistent direct persecution through shooting and poisoning. This diversity of conservation challenges will be best met by a society that represents diverse scientific and personal perspectives. Raptors have always inspired passion and brought attention to conservation problems because of their ability to reflect 4 ecosystem health and change. In this time of rapid change and uncertainty, collaborations and comparative studies that emerge from RRF will be more important than ever. I look forward to serving as a board member to help facilitate the continuing evolution of RRF to meet these challenges.
Director Outside North America: vote for one
Why am I a member of Raptor Research Foundation? It was always the most progressive and useful group of raptophiles, and was a broad enough base that non-scientists such as myself could belong to comfortably. It is now probably the only international group of raptor scientists, experts and raptor lovers. The Journal of Raptor Research is second to none and should assist all scientists who want to publish. I have been on the RRF Board for I forget how many terms now. I did think about standing down as I am probably one of the oldest and possibly one of the most outspoken board members! However, on reflection I feel I still have a fair bit to offer. I run a facility open to the public, so I have education at the heart of what we do. We have a wild raptor hospital, so we have worked on rehabilitation for 54 years, we lead the world in the number of difference species of raptors bred in captivity, so are able to work on conservation programmes around the world – and we do. We run incubation courses, harnessing courses, veterinary courses and advise on a ton of different aspects of birds of prey. There is a good fount of knowledge there to be given. I was asked to say how I see the future of RRF and how RRF serves its members. This is partly due to the involvement and interest of the members. The Board works incredibly hard to get everything right for members, the journal team does an amazing job. Some of what we can do is also up to you, the members. I can’t express enough that the more involvement – real genuine involvement, that you give the better the Foundation will be. The Board are there for you, help us to help you.
I have a passion for raptors and a decade’s experience working on international raptor research including migration, breeding and reintroduction projects. I’m enthused and excited about raptor research. The Raptor Research Foundation enables me to keep informed about the latest raptor research which helped me both as a student and raptor educator and researcher. I believe I would be an asset to the team and a valuable candidate for the RRF board. I am committed to raptor conservation, research and education. My skills and experience in conserving birds of prey and educating others have developed through years of dedicated work. I strongly believe international collaborations are critically important as raptors have no borders, therefore a global effort to ensure their protection is essential. I’ve worked and volunteered on various raptor projects internationally, both in the U.S., Mexico and Eurasia, which have benefited me highly in developing my communication skills and interpersonal relations. I’m an experienced mentor who enjoys helping others. I can offer support, advice and global expert contacts. I strive for success and have a passion to succeed. Raptors face many challenges that are mostly man-made; loss of habitat, competition for food, raptors as food sources and persecution through hunting and husbandry. In the United Kingdom raptors face illegal persecution on grouse moors and pheasant shoots and Peregrines are often targeted by pigeon racers. I strive to change the public’s attitude on these activities. RRF is important by providing members with timely, robust and accurate research regarding their populations, urbanisation/adaptations and predator and prey interactions. It raises awareness of problems faced such as lead poisoning, anticoagulant rodenticides, the destruction of habitats and the impact of windfarms etc. Educating the public and young naturalists is vital and is achieved through arranging conferences, the Journal of Raptor Research and the Wingspan newsletter. I am highly motivated to work for this unique organization.