The 28th annual World Series of Birding, North America’s premier conservation event, will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2011. This event has changed the birding landscape and raised over $8,000,000 for bird conservation. Every species found – every dollar raised preserves and protects critical bird habitat.
A small group of Citizen Scientist, the Uncommon Nighthawks, is competing and raising funds for the New Jersey Audubon Society’s Citizen Science program. This year’s team is comprised of a mix of scientist who oversee these important programs and citizen scientist volunteers.
Dr. Nellie Tsipoura coordinates a number of studies that involve an army of volunteers throughout the state of NJ to monitor bird populations. In addition, she directs NJ Audubon’s urban ornithology research. Current ongoing projects include a study on foraging habitat use and behavior of egrets and herons in wetlands of the NY/NJ Harbor, as well as a seasonal migrant shorebird survey along coastal New Jersey. In research, Nellie strives to bridge measures of bird ecology and behavior with measures of habitat loss, pollution, and other human disturbances, and their potential effects.
Nellie earned her Ph.D. from Rutgers University for work on eco-physiological and hormonal aspects of wintering and migration in shorebirds. She has over 25 years of experience on bird ecology, behavior, and population biology on a variety of bird species in New York, New Jersey, Washington, Virginia, Georgia, Venezuela and Mexico. Prior to joining the NJ Audubon staff in 2004, the majority of her work involved ornithological research for non-profit organizations including National Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Wildlife Conservation Society. She has published numerous articles on shorebird ecology, heavy metal contaminants in birds and horseshoe crabs, as well as the effects of oiling on birds. She is also the co-author of the Harbor Heron Conservation Plan.
Dr. Kristin (Mylecraine) Munafo received a B.S. in Environmental Studies from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University. Before joining New Jersey Audubon, Kristin worked as a postdoc at Ohio State University, studying population genetics of migratory and resident Canada Geese, and as a Research Biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife, studying grassland birds.
Kristin joined New Jersey Audubon in 2008, and is currently a Project Coordinator for the Grassland Citizen Science project. This project is a cooperative effort between NJ Audubon and the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program, designed to monitor the abundance and distribution of grasslands bird populations on private lands enrolled in incentive programs, as well as assess the effectiveness of these programs. She is also involved in a variety of other Citizen Science projects, including the statewide Nightjar survey, and the Harbor Heron survey in the Meadowlands and Raritan Bay areas, as well as a variety of breeding and migration surveys in urban wetlands.
William Margaretta, President of the New Jersey State Safety Council, has been an avid birder for 35 years and a volunteer member of the Citizen Science program since 2005. Bill has participated in numerous projects involving grassland, piedmont, and pineland habitats throughout the state. In addition to his involvement in Citizen Science program, Bill is a volunteer member of USGS Breeding Bird Survey and participates in the national Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Counts.
Thomas P. Smith is a retired science educator who is has been actively involved in outdoor pursuits for many years. He has hiked and camped in many areas of the country and participated in an Earthwatch expedition to study tropical rain forests in Panama. He is a volunteer with the NJ Audubon Society’s Citizen Science program conducting studies on grassland birds and herons. He is a member of the Stream Monitoring Team from the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association in central Jersey sampling the water quality in Peddie Lake, Hightstown for the past six years.
Steve Mattan is a manager in software development for PayChoice. He has been birding for approximately ten years, ever since becoming “curious about some little yellow birds I saw on a family vacation.” Steve is an active volunteer for NJAS’s Rancocas Nature Center and participates in several Citizen Science programs.
Gregory Cantrell is the Assistant Director for Environmental Health & Safety at Princeton University and a Citizen Scientist volunteer since 2006. Like other team members, Greg has participated in numerous grassland, piedmont, pineland, and nightjar surveys throughout the state, Heron nesting surveys for the NJ-DEP, has participated as a volunteer in the USGS Breed Bird Survey and the Christmas Bird Count. In addition to being an avid birder, he enjoys numerous other outdoor activities including nature photography, hiking, and the study of unique plants and animals found in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens.