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Wings Across America Awards Honor Intermountain Bird Observatory

curlew in flight.
Long-billed curlew in flight in the skies over Idaho. John Kelly photo.

The U.S. Forest Service International Programs and Environment for the Americas co-hosted a special event in Washington, D.C., on April 23 to recognize exceptional efforts in advancing conservation for migratory species. The celebratory evening honored the recipients of the Wings Across the Americas 2019 Conservation Awards.

The awards recognize the achievements of Forest Service employees and their partners in bird, bat, butterfly and dragonfly conservation.

The Intermountain Bird Observatory and the Boise National Forest shared the award for community involvement in research and monitoring.

The Intermountain Bird Observatory offers research-based community education programs that provide local children opportunities to learn about birds, migration and the importance of habitat, and to participate in projects that monitor songbird, hummingbird, raptor and owl migration. Beginning in 2015, the observatory has supported the Boise National Forest in hosting Wild Outdoor Week for local students. As part of that week, refugee teens build and install bird houses and learn about wildlife and watersheds, among other natural resource topics.

Three organizations received habitat conservation partnership awards: the Whitefish Lake Watershed Project, a partnership that is conserving 13,398 acres of high-quality forests, wetlands and endangered species habitat in northwest Montana; Grassy Cove Karst Forest, a land acquisition project in Tennessee to protect 956 acres of karst forests on the Cumberland Plateau; and the Gunnison Wet Meadow and riparian restoration project, which has built more than 1,500 structures to capture sediments and hold and spread water in order to lessen soil loss and erosion of wet meadows and ephemeral stream channels due to livestock and big-game. The Migratory Dragonfly Partnership won an award in the international research partnership category.