American Bird Conservancy's Jim Giocomo Honored With 2022 Leadership Award by Partners in Flight
(March 29, 2022) Dr. James (Jim) Giocomo, Central Regional Director at American Bird Conservancy (ABC), has been recognized with a 2022 Partners in Flight (PIF) Leadership Award for his outstanding contributions to grassland conservation. PIF, a network of 150 partner organizations dedicated to landbird conservation, presented the award to Dr. Giocomo during the 87th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in March 2022.
Dr. Giocomo was honored for leading a team in successful collaboration with private landowners in Texas and Oklahoma from 2007 to 2021 as the previous Coordinator of the Oaks and Prairies Joint Venture (OPJV). In the award announcement, PIF called his leadership “patient and persistent,” resulting in “significant progress toward meeting grassland bird habitat and population objectives.”
Grassland bird populations throughout North America have been steadily declining over the last half century — largely due to habitat loss. The Northern Bobwhite in Oklahoma and Texas, for instance, has declined by 90 percent over this period. About 95 percent of historic grassland bird habitat in the two states is now privately owned, making collaboration with private landowners essential to restoring and maintaining bird-friendly grassland habitat in this region.
As Coordinator for the OPJV, Dr. Giocomo (who has been employed with ABC since 2010) successfully led a team of staff and partners to develop and implement the Grassland Restoration Incentive Program (GRIP) to encourage landowners to improve and maintain bird habitat on their property. GRIP has led to the management of more than 110,000 acres of quality grassland on private property since its launch in 2013. Areas treated with prescribed burns on private land have also increased thanks to the program — rising from 2,000 acres to 8,000 acres. Prescribed burns are an essential tool in landscapes where fire historically played a role in maintaining functioning ecosystems.
In addition to his work with GRIP, Dr. Giocomo has managed monitoring efforts to track the impact of OPJV's work on bird populations, including nearly 25,000 individual point counts in Texas and Oklahoma since 2013. His data revealed that species including the Loggerhead Shrike and Black-capped Vireo have benefited from the OPJV's work. Dr. Giocomo has also contributed substantially to national-level efforts to conserve grassland birds.
Dr. Giocomo's award was one of several given out by PIF this year to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to landbird conservation. The full list of past winners can be found on PIF's website.
American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving wild birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on abcbirds.org, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).
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