2016 President’s Address

BirdsCaribbean President Leo Douglas
BirdsCaribbean President Leo Douglas

Dear members and friends of BirdsCaribbean,

Welcome to the BirdsCaribbean website, where you will learn about our work on Caribbean birds, and will be inspired to join our diverse community of people working for a sustainable future for the region through preservation of birds and their habitats.

Since 1988, BirdsCaribbean has been supporting the conservation of some of the most endangered species not only of the region, but of the entire Western Hemisphere. We support innovative conservation programs for island endemics (such as globally-threatened parrots and petrels and the Grenada Dove) and for over-wintering migratory species such as Piping Plovers. Additionally, we expose stakeholders in the Caribbean and the rest of the world to science and to the beauty and value of our birds like never before – and we use all the available new media.

We have made great strides to make training about birds and their conservation accessible to local NGOs and community groups that could otherwise not afford to access formal conservation education from our region’s institutions of higher learning. Because of BirdsCaribbean, thousands more people have greater awareness about birds and their conservation and have learned about the cultural and economic benefits of resident and migratory species. Indeed, we provide more training in wildlife conservation than any other Caribbean NGO. The enthusiastic support of our board, funders, volunteers, and supporters makes these initiatives possible. Without all of you what we do would be impossible!

Yet, much more needs to be done to secure the future of native birds and their habitats. In the next 50 years climate change will become the most important threat to birds in the region, compounding existing threats from increasing human populations, inappropriate development, over-exploitation and invasive species. Important year-round, over-wintering and stop-over habitats for birds will be lost. This will affect Caribbean endemics as well as migratory birds such as American Redstarts and wetland-restricted regionally endemic West Indian Whistling-Ducks.

Faced with these threats we cannot afford to be complacent in the least. Together, we must continue to implement programs, effectively advocate for conservation locally, nationally and regionally, and build the region’s capacity to use sound science, in support of politically and culturally persuasive approaches to promote effective conservation.

As a membership organization that has devoted itself for nearly 30 years to protecting the Caribbean’s wild birds and places, we are proud to represent you and have your support. Whoever you are—whether a student, scientist, member of an environmental, religious or community group or a concerned citizen—birds and nature conservation needs your support and participation. Everyone has something to contribute.

With your input, our work to build a future where the Caribbean’s unique natural heritage can flourish and form the basis for a future rooted in sustainable relationships between people and the environment. I encourage you to become a member of BirdsCaribbean today. If you are already a member, please consider donating your time, efforts and support to our cause, contact us about volunteer opportunities, come to one of our meetings or training sessions, go on one of our trips, participate in one of our programmes, and encourage others to join in our efforts. I promise you will find it one of the most rewarding experiences in your life.

Sincerely,

Signature_Leo Douglas_Use


Leo Douglas, Ph.D.
President, BirdsCaribbean