BEX helps leaders in bird conservation in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

Birders’ Exchange is very pleased to have presented a new binocular to  Anderson, Jean, Robert Ortiz, Enold Louis Jean, and Abdel Abellard who were  bird conservation interns from Hispaniola at the The Vermont Center for  Ecostudies (VCE), in collaboration with the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology (CLO), during June and July of 2008.

Robert Ortiz Alexander – Robert is a longtime Vermont Center for Ecostudies  (VCE) associate in the Dominican Republic, having participated in VCE field studies in Sierra de Bahoruco and Cordillera Septentrional since 2001.  He is currently curator of birds and staff researcher at the Museo Nacional de  Historia Natural de la República Dominica.  Robert received a B.S. cum laude  in 2007 from Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, and he plans to enroll  in an international Master’s degree program within the next 1-2 years.  His longer-term plans involve a commitment to pursue avian research and conservation in the Dominican Republic.

Robert’s goals include increasing his hands-on knowledge in both field biology and curation of avian collections.  In addition to receiving training on VCE’s montane forest ecology field study, he spent time with curators at Harvard University’s Museum of Comparative Zoology and Cornell University’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Specifically, Robert worked with curators and collections managers at both museums to learn about their respective management protocols and curation techniques.  His goals are to gain an understanding of current database management of collections, so that he can establish a database for the Museo Nacional, and also to gain insights into how specimens can be optimally used for conservation research.

Enold Louis Jean – Enold participated in a VCE-led field expedition to the Macaya Biosphere Reserve of southwestern Haiti in February of 2006.  This was his first formal experience in avian field research, and it proved pivotal for him.  He has since completed his B.S in Agricultural Engineering at University Notre Dame of Haiti, and he is currently in Guadeloupe pursuing a M.S. degree in Conservation Biology/ Tropical Biodiversity.  He completed his studies in late June of 2008.

Since working with VCE in Macaya, Enold has shown strong initiative in advancing his career as a conservation biologist.  His recent experiences include working closely with Société Audubon Haiti (SOH) on several projects in that country;  participating with SOH during April 2007 in the Dominican Republic’s Parque Nacional Los Haitises on a conservation research project of Ridgway’s Hawk;  attending the 16th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds during July 2007 in Puerto Rico; attending the International Partners in Flight Conference: Tundra to Tropics: Connecting Birds, Habitats and People,  February 2008, in McAllen, Texas.

Anderson Jean – Anderson participated in a VCE /SOH field trip to the Macaya region in February of 2007 and assisted James Goetz in a 10-day field survey of breeding Black-capped Petrels in La Visite National Park during February of 2008.  He completed his B.S. in Agroforestry and Environmental Sciences  at American University of the Caribbean in Les Cayes during 2007.  He is an active member of the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds and attended its annual meeting in Puerto Rico during July of 2007. With Enold, Anderson participated during April 2007 in SOH’s conservation research project on the critically endangered Ridgway’s Hawk in the Dominican Republic’s Parque Nacional Los Haitises.

Anderson spent the month of June working intensively in CLO’s Golondrinas de  la Americas project, revolving around broadening his ornithological knowledge and field skills.  Specifically, he is eager to improve his bird identification skills, gain experience in banding and census methods, learn more about GPS and its application to GIS, and better understand the underpinnings of ornithological research.  Anderson is interested in
applying the techniques gained from his experience in Tree Swallow research to a planned conservation research project on Golden Swallows in Haiti.

Abdel Abellard
– Abdel is a Fulbright Scholar from Haiti and has completed his coursework for an M.S. in Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology from the University of Maryland, College Park.  He holds a BS in Agricultural Sciences with a focus on Natural Resources and the Environment from the State University of Haiti (UEH, 2002).  Work experience includes running a seven-month World Bank-financed project on soil conservation in the context of risk and disaster management in Fond-Verrettes, Haiti (managed by the UNDP under the LICUS –Low Income Countries Under Stress– fund) and an internship with the Central Caribbean Program of The Nature
Conservancy (TNC) on a post-fire recovery assessment of the pine forest in the Dominican Republic’s Cordillera Central.  He is currently completing his Scholarly Paper examining the socioeconomic aspects of conservation of the Black-capped Petrel, a project being conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division of Migratory Bird Management.

Abdel’s goals revolve around broadening his ornithological knowledge and field skills, as well gaining access and exposure to practicing conservationists.  Specifically, Abdel had an opportunity to engage with Chris Rimmer and Jim Goetz, who have experience working in Hispaniola. These interactions, and those with the three other trainees participating in this year’s bird conservation intern program, have supported their mutual interest in conserving the imperiled birds of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.  In particular, their training has enabled Abdel to contribute further to a global conservation strategy for the Black-capped Petrel.