Transforming the Pacific Flyway into a Hub of Conservation Innovation  

Mere decades ago, the Pacific Flyway was teeming with billions of shorebirds as they traveled from their breeding grounds in Alaska and Arctic climes to their winter homes as far south as Tierra del Fuego. 

Over the years, humankind has steadily intruded on these journeys. Catastrophic losses of habitat have slashed their populations. Conservation efforts, slow to rise to the emergency, now call on a new generation of leaders to reverse these declines. 

Pilpilén común/Jodi Boe
Zarapito moteado/Lisa Walker-Roseman

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology collaborated with The David and Lucile Packard Foundation to launch the Coastal Solutions Fellows Program expressly for this purpose—to bring together the best and brightest young Latin American scientists and innovators to think differently, work in concert with communities, and achieve remarkable on-the-ground conservation results. Equally, the program is intent on building conservation capacity for future generations. 

 Across the continuum of science, land-use planning, and conservation policy, 30 Coastal Solutions Fellows and counting are piloting new approaches that balance the needs of shorebirds with those of local communities. They are thinking about how to make an immediate impact through innovative science-based projects, how to work with and alongside communities, and how to change behaviors and laws for sustainable and progressive conservation. 

The results speak for themselves: more than a quarter million acres of newly protected habitats and a host of management agreements and conservation easements have been established, and local ordinances and national regulations have been created. In terms of avian impact, 28 priority shorebird species have directly benefited, from Snowy Plovers and Red Knots to Hudsonian Godwits and Whimbrels. 

And we are just getting started. 

The Coastal Solutions Leadership

The Coastal Solutions Fellows Program at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is managed by a small and effective team of bilingual professionals:

Viviana Ruiz-Gutiérrez

Co-Director, Center for Avian Population Studies 

Associate Director, Coastal Solutions Fellows Program

Osvel Hinojosa-Huerta

Program Director, Coastal  Solutions Fellows Program


Diana Ochoa

Program Coordinator, Coastal Solutions Fellows Program

Coastal Solutions Fellows project sites

Since 2019 the Cornell Lab has supported

30 fellows in 9 countries 

Fellows by Discipline 

Fellows by Country

Coastal Solutions Fellowship Program

The Coastal Solutions Fellows Program builds and supports an international community to design and implement solutions that address coastal challenges across the Pacific Americas Flyway. Our main goal is to conserve coastal habitats and shorebird populations by building the knowledge, resources, and skills of Latin American professionals, and by fostering collaborations among multiple disciplines and sectors.