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RBC I In Washington, D.C., on March 27, White River National Forest employee Kim Potter was honored at the 2013 Wings Across the Americas Conservation Awards ceremony for her outstanding work in the field of bird conservation.
Associate Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, Mary Wagner, presided over the ceremony, held as part of the 78th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference.
The Research and Partnership Award category went to the “Black Swift Migration and Wintering Grounds Investigation” for ground-breaking work with black swifts. For more than 10 years, this group of dedicated scientists worked to study this rare and elusive bird and recently used a newly developed “bird backpacks,” which fit around the swift’s body and wings to discover the wintering area for the bird.
Potter from the Rifle Ranger District of the White River National Forest and Jason Beason of Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory accepted the award on behalf of their group. Potter is a wildlife technician who has become a nationally acclaimed bird researcher because of her work with northern black swifts.
Swifts that the scientists equipped with the special backpack migrated to a remote rainforest in the state of Amazonas in western Brazil, approximately 4,300 miles from their Colorado nest sites.
Migratory species play unique ecological roles, figure prominently in culture and are intrinsically beautiful.
The USFS invests heavily in protecting habitat for listed migratory birds, many of which spend the winter in Latin America and the Caribbean. If habitats in these areas are not protected, the tremendous U.S. domestic investment in conservation is wasted.
Successful conservation work typically happens through partnerships with universities, volunteers, foundations, conservation organizations and private firms. The award-winning projects were no exception.