Those who know me are not surprised when they learn that my path to PEC and the conservation sector was sparked by my love of birds. Some might call it an obsession, but that’s a story for another day.
2018 marks the centennial of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—the most powerful and important bird-protection law ever passed. To act on this milestone, nature lovers and organizations around the world are joining forces to celebrate 2018 as Year of the Bird and commit to protecting birds.
Over the course of 12 months, the National Audubon Society, BirdLife International, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Geographic and 50 other partners will examine how our changing environment is leading to dramatic losses among bird species and document what we can do about it. Through storytelling, science, and conservation, Year of the Bird aims to heighten public awareness of the importance of protecting these critical species.
To help launch Year of the Bird National Geographic is featuring in its January issue “Why Birds Matter,” an essay by best-selling author Jonathan Franzen. Paired with Joel Sartore’s gorgeous photography, Franzen makes the case that birds are “our last, best connection to a natural world that is otherwise receding.”
John Fitzpatrick, Director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, writes that three things are necessary in marking this milestone:
First is recognizing the power of birds—as global indicators of biodiversity, as heartbeats of the earth’s annual cycle, and as the most captivating window we have into nature. Second is the essential power of partnerships—among conservation organizations of every scale and every country, and among individuals, families, schools, and community groups, all uniting for a common purpose across the globe. Third is that 100 years after passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, birds all over the world are facing unprecedented threats to their existence. They need our attention and help now more than ever.
Building a better world for birds starts with specific conservation actions – both personal and collective – that anyone can take. You can make a difference in reversing declines among bird populations by buying shade-grown coffee to help provide vital habitat for migratory songbirds, participating in a citizen-science project to help monitor bird populations, or volunteering for a tree-planting to create good habitat for threatened bird species.
Just imagine… nature lovers around the globe working together to build a better world for birds. If this sounds like a worthy new year’s resolution, visit www.BirdYourWorld.org for information and to sign a pledge to participate in a year of action for birds.
In addition to being an avid birder, Cindy Ferguson is the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s Director of Development.