The American Oystercatcher Working Group
by Todd Pover, Beach Nesting Bird Project Manager
Working closely with wildlife is the “sexy” part of my job. It is what makes me look forward to work on those days when I find myself less than inspired. It is also what the public most wants to hear about. But it is not necessarily the most important part of my job.
A great deal of my conservation efforts happen in meetings, offices, and behind a computer screen. A good case in point is the American Oystercatcher Working Group meeting I attended in Wellfleet, Massachusetts last week. This annual meeting brings together other managers, biologists, researchers, and policy experts from the Atlantic coast states that are specifically focused on oystercatchers. It is a chance for all us to share ideas, compare “notes” so to speak, build partnerships, and in general leverage the collective knowledge of the group.
This particular meeting is small by most standards, typically just 25-35 attendees, and much more informal than others I attend. It is also one of the most effective. Simply put, we get stuff done! Sure, we have spirited discussions and debate, but at the end of the day there is usually a cooperative spirit.
Projects move forward to benefit oystercatchers in individual states from Massachusetts to Florida, but through the prism of what is best for the range wide conservation of the species. This is how it should be. My job is to help monitor, manage, and protect oystercatchers in New Jersey, but since we only host a portion of the overall breeding population and they only spend a small part of each year in our state, we are just one piece of the puzzle.
You cannot effectively recover or conserve a species without partners. So we will keep telling you sexy, up-close-and-personal stories about wildlife, but once in awhile we will also remind you about the behind the scenes work we do to keep wildlife from disappearing from our state (and beyond).