Partners in Flight V: Advancing Migratory Bird Conservation with Our Latin American and Caribbean Partners

piflogocolorThis week, ABC hosts blogs from our friends at the Partners in Flight V (PIFV) meeting taking place in Snowbird, Utah. We are delighted to spread the word about PIF's great work to advance migratory bird conservation. For more information on the meeting, see

By Terry Rich

I'm thrilled to be here in Snowbird, Utah, where the fifth Partners in Flight meeting is underway. This gathering builds on the steady progress we have made for migratory bird conservation over the years, but in my mind, stands out as special. With dozens of participants from south of the United States on hand, we have the expertise to write “Conservation Business Plans” that will be more than wish lists.

Terry Rich (center) with some of our Latin American partners at PIFV. Individuals from more than a dozen countries are lending their expertise to the Partners in Flight planning process.

Terry Rich (center) and partners at PIFV. Individuals from more than a dozen countries are lending their expertise to the Partners in Flight planning process.

These national, regional, and local experts from Latin America and the Caribbean bring essential, specific knowledge about birds, habitats, threats, and human cultures to each of the eight geographic breakout sessions taking place at PIFV. To populate these plans with real-world, achievable projects at different levels of complexity and cost, this expertise is, quite simply, required. American Bird Conservancy's efforts to support the attendance of these international participants were fundamental to the success of PIFV.

I am reminded that the “Conservation Business Plan” is a construct only recently adopted by the U.S. bird conservation community as a strategy to obtain funding from conservation supporters mostly in the U.S. These plans will not necessarily be marketable “as is” in Mexico, Jamaica, Honduras, or in any of the other countries who have participants here. We need to be ready to support our partners as they translate our work, not only into the appropriate language, but also into the format that will succeed in obtaining support within each country.

While we expect to leave this meeting with well-considered plans, I am aware that these participants will need time to present plan contents to their own partners for review and comment once they return home. Timeframes and opportunities to complete the plans in the appropriate in-country format will vary by country. Partners in the United States and Canada need to be prepared to support these critical steps so that we can advance conservation on the ground effectively. Our shared birds are depending on it.

terryTerry Rich is Partners in Flight National Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Boise, Idaho