The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Webinar Series

 The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program (UWCP) webinar series is presented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), National Conservation Training Center (NCTC).  The archived webinars are meant to be a resource for conservation professionals (i.e., biologists, educators, communicators, interpreters, law enforcement officers, and natural resource managers) in the USFWS and in partner organizations who seek innovative community-based solutions for wildlife conservation. As a whole, the series aims to support the diverse work of UWCP partners who work to establish and strengthen relationships with urban audiences to protect and conserve our wildlife resources. Webinars showcase successful approaches, tools, and resources used by partners to advance progress in reaching the goals established in the UWCP Standards of Excellence. This series also provides a venue to share experiences and connect with others in the UWCP community.

View and register for our upcoming UWCP webinars.

The Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Webinar Descriptions

Bird and Bat Migration in the Great Lakes basin: Combining data sources for a cohesive view (01:12:21) Recorded October 24, 2019.

Presented by Nathan Rathbun, Michael Wells, and Kevin Heist.

The USFWS Avian Radar Project has collected radar and acoustic data to study bird and bat migration around the Great Lakes since 2011. As the project matures, we are shifting focus to synthesizing our existing data and developing a Great Lakes basin-wide understanding of migration. The resulting Decision Support Tool (DST) will combine radar data with other data sources and allow agencies, funders, and resource managers to consider migratory corridors and hotspots when making management decisions.

This webinar will give an overview of the Avian Radar Project, describe how radar data and acoustic data can be synthesized over a wide area, and demonstrate the draft Decision Support Tool in development. We encourage input from managers and stakeholders as we work to develop a tool that will inform natural resource decisions in the Great Lakes area.  

Bird Safe Portland: Developing a Bird-friendly Buildings and Dark Sky Campaign (01:13:52) Recorded August 21, 2019.

Presented by Mary Coolidge, Portland Audubon.

Up to 1 billion birds die in window collisions every year in the United States alone, at all scales of development, from single family residential to low rise commercial buildings to high rises. Moreover, light pollution from artificial light at night contributes not only to collisions in migrating bird populations, but impacts behavior, movement, reproduction in many wildlife species. Today, over a dozen North American cities have developed Bird Safe Building standards, including San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, Portland and Toronto, paving the way for similar efforts in other municipalities. Many cities, counties and states are also implementing sustainability initiatives to address climate change and reduce energy-efficiency demands, which presents opportunities to integrate lights out and dark skies initiatives that protect the ecological function of our cities at night. Portland has been a UBT City since 2003, and Audubon’s Bird Safe Program has been generously funded by a National Fish & Wildlife Foundation grant to educate the public as well as architects, landscape architects, designers, planners, and elected officials about these issues to ensure that we are designing our built landscape for ecological resilience into the future. From data collection and development of a voluntary Resource Guide, to legislative advocacy to integrate Bird Safe measures into the city of Portland's Green Building Policy and zoning code, we have been on this road for a while. We will discuss the tactics, best practices, resources, collaborations and key stakeholders used to develop an urban hazard reduction campaign. This webinar is sponsored by the Urban Bird Treaty (UBT) program.

Building and Maintaining Strong UBT Partnerships in Albuquerque (00:56:17) Recorded July 18, 2019.

Presented by Jennifer Owen-White & Kristin Madden. 

Developing strong partnerships is critical to the creation of an effective and sustainable conservation program in any urban area. Since Albuquerque was designated an Urban Bird Treaty (UBT) City in 2014, the original partnership has grown into the Albuquerque Urban Bird Coalition, that held a formal rededication to UBT goals in May 2019. "Through the power of partnerships, Albuquerque has risen to be one of the most successful UBT Cities in the history of the program," said Amy Lueders, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Southwest Region. During this webinar, Jennifer Owen-White, Refuge Manager for Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge and Kristin Madden, Deputy Chief, Division of Migratory Birds, USFWS, Southwest Region will share their strategies and tips for building and maintaining long-term partnerships that include diverse groups of people.  

Creating Equitable Transportation Access to Urban Wildlife Refuges (01:02:28) Recorded January 22, 2020.

Presented by Angelina Yost, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Nathan Caldwell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (retired); Beth Tucker, Kimley-Horn; Cristina Pastore, Kimley-Horn; Danielle McCray, Kimley-Horn; Jennifer Bihl, Bihl Engineering; Lewis G. Grimm, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration; Jo Ann Clark, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; & Susan White, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to have a greenway or trail connecting a local community to your refuge? Or maybe you’ve thought a weekend bus service with a stop at the refuge would be a great way to get new visitors to your site? If so, we have just the webinar for you! The Urban National Wildlife Refuge Transportation Connections Study team has completed Refuge Access Plans at seven wildlife refuges across the country. Through the planning process, the team has assembled some valuable project and program ideas for increasing transportation access to often underrepresented communities surrounding urban wildlife refuges. During this webinar, they will briefly review the overall planning process, provide key takeaways from their site visits and access plans, and offer ways that you can leverage the work from the study to help grow transportation options at your refuge/complex.

Engaging New Communities (00:58:09) Recorded March 31, 2020.

Presented by Nancy Brown, USFWS & Jennifer Owen-White, USFWS.

You have spent the majority of your life living in the southwest and are moving to northeast for a new position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You have limited knowledge of, and no experience in, this part of the country. How can you meaningfully and respectfully engage a community in conservation when you cannot personally relate to the real-life issues they are addressing? This presentation highlights the efforts of two very different urban programs that are doing that in a variety of ways and on different scales. During this webinar, presenters will share their strategies and lessons learned for building trust and meaningful partnerships within communities they were not originally a part of.

FWS Urban Wildlife Conservation Program Strategic Planning (00) Recorded February 11, 2020.

Presented by Angelina Yost, USFWS.

Learn how you can give feedback on the strategic planning process for the FWS Urban Wildlife Conservation Program.

GIS Mapping for Birds and People (01:03:01) Recorded June 24, 2019.

Presented by Corrie Folsom-O'Keefe and Genevieve Nuttall, Audubon Connecticut.

With increasing urbanization, and 90% of Connecticut’s population living in urban areas away from natural green spaces, there is an urgent need to re-acquaint communities with nature while creating more sustainable and healthy cities for people and wildlife. Presenters share their model for bridging the gap – community-based conservation through our Urban Oases and Schoolyard Habitat Programs. As part of the presentation, they highlight GIS technology they have developed and are using for urban habitat restoration and communication. They describe the GIS decision support tool used to identify urban communities in greatest need of healthy green spaces, while also addressing the need of restoring high quality habitat for migratory songbirds in urban and suburban areas. Further, they discuss best practices for engaging the community and stakeholders in the conservation planning process. A background in GIS is not required to understand and apply the concepts presented. This webinar was sponsored by the USFWS, Urban Bird Treaty program.

To learn more about the Schoolyard Habitat projects developed via partnership between New Haven schools, Audubon Connecticut, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Common Ground, the Long Island Sound Study, and others, please watch the following YouTube video. Growing Schoolyard Habitats in New Haven Public Schools (4:21)

Finding Common Ground - Managing Vacant Lots for Birds and People in St. Louis, Missouri (00:59:24)

Presented by Sebastian Moreno, PhD candidate, University of Massachusetts-Amherst & Drew Mallinak, Social Science Apprentice, Sierra Institute for Community and Environment

Over the last few decades, many cities across the US have developed vacancy issues. The neighborhoods of Baden and Wells-Goodfellow have the largest concentration of vacant lots in St. Louis, MO. Our research aimed to address the following questions: How do the existing patterns of vacant lots in these neighborhoods affect bird diversity? How can vacant lot management interventions in St. Louis impact the avian community while also addressing storm water, flooding, and conservation issues?

At the same time, the Green City Coalition has set forth goals to create wildlife habitat and increase green stewardship through increased access to nature for local residents. Working in these neighborhoods have shown, first hand, that residents care about where they live and are willing to accept a positive change in their community in order to address social issues while being able to connect to nature.

During this webinar you will learn the results of our research and discover the importance of transforming vacant lots to address both ecological and social issues. We hope this provides a window into the imperative practice of urban greening with consideration to its residents. Let’s look to build a conservation constituency rather than inadvertently pushing urban residents out of their communities.  

The Urban Bird Treaty in Chicago (01:00:43)

Presented by Louise Clemency, Field Supervisor, USFWS Chicago Fiedl Office & Judy Pollock, President, Chicago Audubon Society

Chicago is celebrating its 20th year as an Urban Bird Treaty City with new goals and efforts that build on two decades of successful and ever-evolving partnerships. More than a relationship between the FWS and one city, the Chicago Urban Bird Treaty partnership is an ever-evolving network of relationships in our thriving metropolitan region. This year we are continuing to grow the partnership to include more diverse members. Also this year, two adorable piping plovers supported our urban outreach efforts by successfully raising their chicks in the middle of a busy beach right in the City of Chicago, watched over by almost two hundred volunteer monitors.

During this webinar, Louise Clemency, Field Supervisor for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Chicago Field Office and Judy Pollock, President of the Chicago Audubon Society, will share this year’s efforts and accomplishments in the context of an Urban Bird Treaty City Program that has been constantly re-invigorating itself.  

Recorded: December 12, 2019.