Linda Pearsall Receives Prestigious Wildlife Conservation Award

Please join me in congratulating Linda Pearsall for her selection to recieve the Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award. Most recently, Linda was the leader of the NC Natural Heritage Program for over two decades. From the NC Wildlife Resources Commission Press Release:

Linda Pearsall, a life-long conservationist and architect of partnerships benefitting wildlife, received the Thomas L. Quay Wildlife Diversity Award, one of the most prestigious awards given by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.

The Commission presents the award annually to individuals who make outstanding contributions to wildlife diversity in North Carolina and who are considered leaders in wildlife resources conservation. 

Pearsall, of Raleigh, accepted the award, along with a framed print, from Commission Executive Director Gordon Myers at the agency’s business meeting in Raleigh on August 28.

“Linda has made countless contributions to wildlife and their habitats, many of which directly benefit imperiled species,” Myers said during the presentation. “Also under her leadership, numerous partnerships have been developed with other agencies, NGOs and landowners. Each of these partnerships has accrued long-lasting conservation benefits to North Carolina.”

Pearsall retired earlier this year after more than two decades as director of the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The NCNHP identifies ecologically significant natural areas in the state and facilitates their protection through registry and dedication, including conservation agreements between NCNHP and landowners.

As NCNHP director, Pearsall oversaw a professional staff of 25 and advised politically appointed boards to help shape conservation legislation, policy and practice.

She supervised field staff who conducted Natural Areas Inventories in 93 of 100 counties in North Carolina, leading to the conservation of countless populations of threatened and endangered flora and fauna. During her tenure at NCNHP, Pearsall worked with scientists across the state to create electronic records of the state’s rare species through development of a computer database, GIS maps and online N.C. Conservation Planning Tool. These records are shared with hundreds of conservation agencies, local and state governments, regional planning organizations and non-profit organizations throughout the state to help them make decisions about conservation and other land-use planning efforts.

Pearsall is well known throughout conservation circles for forging strong partnerships with state, federal and private organizations, including the Wildlife Resources Commission, to share resources and conduct projects that have conserved thousands of acres in biologically significant areas like Chimney Rock, Grandfather Mountain, South Mountains Game Land and many other game lands, state parks and natural areas, through Natural Heritage Trust Fund grants.

“When I was informed about receiving the Quay Award, I was astonished to hear my name was being added to the list of winners,” Pearsall said. “It is an amazing honor. … and I hope the award continues to foster good relationships and partnerships in conservation across North Carolina.”

Pearsall is the ninth person to receive the honor. The first recipient was Dr. Quay himself, a former professor of zoology at N.C. State University and self-described “full-time volunteer and unpaid environmental activist.” Quay, who passed away in April 2012, served on a variety of conservation boards while lobbying state agencies for various environmental causes. 


Recent Paper: Refining Estimates of Bird Collision and Electrocution Mortality at Power Lines in the United States

A recent literature review and analysis paper estimates the effects of powerlines on bird mortality from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.
Citation: Loss SR, Will T, Marra PP (2014) Refining Estimates of Bird Collision and Electrocution Mortality at Power Lines in the United States. PLoS ONE 9(7): e101565. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101565
Collisions and electrocutions at power lines are thought to kill large numbers of birds in the United States annually. However, existing estimates of mortality are either speculative (for electrocution) or based on extrapolation of results from one study to all U.S. power lines (for collision). Because national-scale estimates of mortality and comparisons among threats are likely to be used for prioritizing policy and management strategies and for identifying major research needs, these estimates should be based on systematic and transparent assessment of rigorously collected data. We conducted a quantitative review that incorporated data from 14 studies meeting our inclusion criteria to estimate that between 12 and 64 million birds are killed each year at U.S. power lines, with between 8 and 57 million birds killed by collision and between 0.9 and 11.6 million birds killed by electrocution. Sensitivity analyses indicate that the majority of uncertainty in our estimates arises from variation in mortality rates across studies; this variation is due in part to the small sample of rigorously conducted studies that can be used to estimate mortality. Little information is available to quantify species-specific vulnerability to mortality at power lines; the available literature over-represents particular bird groups and habitats, and most studies only sample and present data for one or a few species. Furthermore, additional research is needed to clarify
whether, to what degree, and in what regions populations of different bird species are affected by power line-related mortality. Nonetheless, our data-driven analysis suggests that the amount of bird mortality at U.S. power lines is substantial and that conservation management and policy is necessary to reduce this mortality.

USFWS Communication Position Open

Outreach and Education Specialist in the Migratory Bird Program, Division of Bird Habitat Conservation. The position is based at the US Fish & Wildlife Service Headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia.

GS 9/11 (all qualified candidates) 

GS 12/13 (FWS candidates only)


Using Technology in the Field for Education & Natural Resources Protection Workshop, Oct 15 

When: Wednesday, October 15 - 9:00am-5:00pm

Where: New Hanover County Center (Arboretum) Auditorium 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce participants to various technologies that can be used to protect natural resources, educate people about natural resources, and encourage stewardship of these resources. Participants will learn how the various technologies were developed and get to ask questions via a panel discussion with presenters. Participants will also get hands-on time with the technologies during the “Field Trip Breakout Groups.”

Agenda Registration


World Shorebirds Day, Sep 6

The very first World Shorebirds Day will be held next Saturday, on the 6th of September. Apart of the Global Shorebird Counting Program, there is another element of the commemoration day. It is the Shorebird of the Year Project. A shorebird species is selected every year by public voters. The 2014 poll was recently closed, but a new poll was opened at the same time, to decide which shorebird gets more focus in 2015. The American Oystercatcher is in the list, so you can affect the result of the poll, if you wish. :) Fundraising efforts will be focusing on a selected project for the winning species.

In case you are out in the field next weekend, please consider join our the Global Shorebird Counting by simply registering your counting location.