One of nature’s greatest wonders is at risk of vanishing.
Each year, millions of shorebirds migrate thousands of miles along the Pacific coast of the Americas, from their breeding grounds in the Arctic tundra of North America to their wintering grounds at the southernmost tip of Chile. These long-distance migrations evolved to depend on stopover and wintering sites – a network of coastal wetlands, estuaries, and beaches – known as the Pacific Americas Flyway.
The habitats along the Pacific Americas Flyway also provide important ecosystem services to growing coastal communities. Many of these coastal ecosystems and the services they provide are threatened due to increasing pressures from expanding human development and climate change, which are contributing to on-going shorebird declines.
Senner, S. E., B. A. Andres and H. R. Gates (Eds.). 2016. Pacific Americas shorebird conservation strategy. National Audubon Society, New York, New York, USA. Available at: http://www.shorebirdplan.org.
New collaborations, new solutions
In order to target the complex challenges surrounding coastal development, we need new solutions that combine knowledge, expertise, and ideas from multiple disciplines and sectors.
To address this need, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology have partnered to create the Coastal Solutions Fellows Program. The Program is building a community of early-career leaders from the academic, private, and non-profit sectors that are working on new approaches to coastal development and ecosystem management.
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For the next decade, the Coastal Solutions Fellows Program will support early-career planners, developers and scientists from Latin America to collaboratively design and implement new solutions to tackle current challenges facing coastal ecosystems and communities.
The program will support six young professionals per year to implement a project at a priority shorebird site in Latin America along the Pacific Americas Flyway. Fellows will be provided two years of funding, mentoring support, and professional development opportunities, including annual retreats that combine peer-to-peer learning and strategic trainings.