Friends of Point Blue celebrated the 50th anniversary of our founding (as Point Reyes Bird Observatory in 1965) in 2015.  Read and view thoughts about the value of Point Blue from members, partners, donors, staff, volunteers, interns, and more.

Point Blue has some of the longest running data sets on birds that are so valuable to the San Francisco Bay Joint Venture partners. No other entity in our area has collected so much information about the status of birds whose populations we all work to protect. We rely on Point Blue to provide much of the science the Joint Venture needs to make informed priority recommendations for habitat protection, restoration and management. Your informatics and modeling tools will be so helpful to habitat managers as they plan and manage for species resilience as climate changes and population pressures on sensitive habitats increase. Thank you and congratulations on your 50th birthday! — Beth Huning, Coordinator, San Francisco Bay Joint Venture

Point Blue generates and disseminates some of the best environmental science in the Western Hemisphere. That, and my conviction that their education program for interns, kids, and the general public will raise awareness and promote future environmental stewardship are the reasons I wholeheartly support this extraordinary organization. — Bob Battagin, Point Blue member and Bird-A-Thon Committee member

When I first learned about Point Blue, I was immediately captivated by its science and the innovative use of bird data as an indicator of ecosystem health. Over the years, I have been further impressed by the depth and rigor of Point Blue’s science and the high quality of its scientists. Point Blue's application of its scientific data and its work with partners in bridging science and policy gives me hope that Point Blue will continue to help improve conservation outcomes and help alleviate the effects of climate change.— Brett Robertson, Point Blue Board member

One of the main strengths of Point Blue is the consistent, year-to-year research work and collection of data that provides other organizations with science-based trends data to evaluate the health of our avian populations and consequently the health of our environment. Nobody does that better than Point Blue. For me, the face of the organization was Rich Stallcup and I sure miss him! — Carlos Porrata, retired State Park ranger, wildlife photographer

One thing I have valued about Point Blue was its strong commitment to birding and ornithology ( thank you, Rich Stallcup!). Also that it has more recently expanded its reach to include other wildlife and that it has a strong scientific mission. The involvement of the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic young people, some of whom lead field trips and work on the Farallones, and of children with their teachers who work to restore watershed in the STRAW program make me hopeful. — Carole Dietrich, Point Blue member and supporter

Through thick and thin I persevered, and PRBO allowed me to do so, to set up a marine program, first involving the Farallon Islands, then the waters around the islands, then to waters elsewhere for comparison, and finally to land-based studies elsewhere, e.g. the Antarctic. These programs continue to this day.— David Ainley, PhD / Marine Researcher and past Point Blue (PRBO) senior biologist

Point Blue continues to provide the best science available. As we celebrate their 50 years, it is appropriate to acknowledge that current and future generations owe a debt of gratitude to this powerful organization. One such example, is their Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed (STRAW) Project which recently completed their 500th restoration and ranks as one of the most effective hands-on education efforts in the country. STRAW has educated thousands of school children on watershed principles. By incorporating new native plants varieties, designed to better adapt to a changing climate, into these restorations and by conducting extensive monitoring, Point Blue's scientists continue to improve this powerful program.—Grant Davis, General Manager, Sonoma County Water Agency

Wildlife monitoring data collected over the past 50 years is and will be invaluable to wildlife management decision making. But closer to my heart is the fact that Point Blue took the STRAW program under its wing (pun intended) thereby creating a synergistic partnership whereby youth (and teachers) have the opportunity to become part of wildlife habitat restoration, education, and the development of science-based research and monitoring. –Harold Appleton, professional forester, Prunuske-Chatham Environmental Consultants

Point Blue's long-term data collection is a tremendous resource for the scientific community, but the long-term commitment of the staff is equally important. Some of Point Blue's staff have been with the organization for decades, and this longevity and the institutional memory it provides is of great value both to new staff and to collaborators.—Ivan Samuels, Point Blue Board member

The Resource Conservation District has benefited greatly from having a Point Blue Partner Biologist on staff. We have personally used the biologist on a number of our own projects that have added to the success of those projects. Point Blue continues to grow with the times. Rather than continuing ‘as before’, they add and change things about the structure that allows us to use their expertise in such programs as our Land Health Assessment program. — Jan Blake, Conservation Biologist, Nevada County Resource Conservation District

I love that Point Blue’s always emphasizes the pragmatic solutions. Over the past five decades, Point Blue has evolved to address threats to wildlife and the environment always with an eye on what works, like involving rice farmers to find a solution that is win-win for both agriculture and migrating birds. The coming decades will present the earth with some serous challenges, and Point Blue has the smarts, the experience and the science to know how and where to roll up its sleeves and get to work. – Jeff Kimball, film-maker and Point Blue Board member

We joined PRBO because of our interest in birdwatching and the activities and people that supported that. As time went by, PRBO grew in their scope and in name, including conservation science and much more than just birds. And as a result, our awareness and interest grew with them and offered us a much greater awareness of the world around us. Now Point Blue encompasses not only birding interests, but all the supporting ecology surrounding birds and all the ecosystems required for all life. As they have grown, and because they have grown, so have we. – John and Cynthia Rathkey, Point Blue members and friends

I particularly admire the way Point Blue has successfully blended superb science and public outreach. Lacking an informed public, cognizant of the science underlying concern for the sustainability of biodiversity and the human enterprise, there can be little hope for our grandchildren’s future. – John Harte, PhD / Ecologist and climate scientist

I think it is pivotal that our work now includes land management to help with carbon sequestration and preserving the precarious environment. Our vision of hiring Ellie Cohen as CEO has brought us to the point where we are at the table with many crucial NGO and governmental forces working to save our habitats.Only through these partnerships can changes be made. – Katie Beacock, past Point Blue Board member

I love Point Blue’s dedication to excellence and serious science stands the test of time. I value the data sets that Point Blue has attained over the decades for birds and other wildlife and the dedicated work and research that has been done at the Farallones and elsewehre over many decades. Since I first learned about Point Blue (PRBO) in the 1980’s, it has always stood for serious science and excellence, and it still does today. Point Blue credibly faces and engages with the issue of climate change, in a way that is unflinching, honest and effective. Through research, restoration, and collaboration, Point Blue provides valid models that show the way to blunt the serious effects of climate change. – Laurette Rogers, STRAW Program leader at Point Blue

I greatly value Point Blue's growing emphasis in using data and analytical products to address conservation problems. Conservation problems have become more complex by an order of magnitude with the onset of climate change. In a world already driven by analysis of market data, it is only fitting that conservation science should use these technologies to understand environmental problems and help us make better decisions about investing in our environment into the future. Point Blue is a leading institution in this regard; we hold the largest datasets of scientifically collected avian monitoring data in the country, and provide analytical tools to many federal, state and non-profit institutions throughout the Americas. – Leo Salas, Quantitative Ecologist, Point Blue

Collaboration is at the core of Point Blue's STRAW program. STRAW creates and nurtures linkages at such diverse levels from landowners to schoolchildren facilitating the County's efforts to enhance urban Marin streams. With STRAW 's leadership and vision, we will continue to cultivate partnerships to support another 15+ years of creek enhancement! – Liz Lewis, Principal Watershed Planner County of Marin

Training many great young scientists and sending them out into the world is a huge contribution. Point Blue’s internship program gives starting biologists and restorationists a taste of working together with a network of scientists on projects and research that really matters. So does the integration of climate research into restoration and habitat protection. It is easy to despair in the face of global warming evidence all around us, but Point Blue’s “roll-up-our-sleeves” attitude and work on practical guidelines are both immensely helpful. – Liza Prunuske, Founder, Prunuske-Chatham Environmental Consultants

When I receive the annual report, I always first turn to the list of publications for the past year. The number of published articles, including many that are peer reviewed, point to the expertise of the scientific staff. I’m proud to be supporting them! – Mike Parmeter, Point Blue member and friend; past Board member and Bird-A-Thon Committee member

Point Blue is a strong science-based organization that has been at the forefront of many significant projects to inform us on the need to protect the natural world around us. I can certainly attest to the commitment and quality of work Point Blue has offered the California rice industry during my tenure helping to enhance the waterbird habitat benefits of California ricelands. Point Blue’s scientists have been there throughout offering the gift of their time and the tremendous value of their expertise on waterbird conservation issues. Point Blue has been a key part of the successes we’ve had in expanding the footprint of wildlife-friendly rice farming in the Sacramento Valley.—Paul Buttner, Manager of Environmental Affairs for the California Rice Commission.

I think having added STRAW is important, as today's youth will produce the leaders of tomorrow with the knowledge that areas can be restored, if done scientifically. The strength of Point Blue Conservation Science is that it continues to grow in ideas, science, budget and staff. That shows that Point Blue's science is being accepted by managers elsewhere and therefore it can get more funding. An organization has to have its science accepted; without this there is no science.—Robin Leong, past Point Blue Board member

I feel very strongly that Point Blue is a leading champion of science-driven conservation, and the many students I have sent there have benefited uniquely from their experiences. I first sent a student to (then PRBO) in 1974, most recently in 2014. I have called the organization "my finishing school."—Steve Herman, PhD / professor, Evergreen State College

I participated in the founding of Point Reyes Bird Observatory, in a one-room cabin on the Heims Ranch in March 1965; but I left California in 1966, and thus have since observed the growth of PRBO (now Point Blue) from afar (New Jersey). I was very involved with the Tomales Bay Christmas Count, and have paid attention through the years to its successor the Point Reyes count. In the beginning I think we expected to observe what birds were passing through and past Point Reyes, after the example of existing bird observatories in Europe (Helgoland, for instance). But very quickly, with the establishment of the Palomarin field station, attention shifted to study of resident populations of birds (Wren-tit, White-crowned Sparrow). Soon this expanded to study of the sea birds nesting on the Farallons (with the side benefit of noting stray migrants that turned up there), then to statewide programs, and now international. Two strengths I particularly value among present programs are the restoration of habitat along streams in the Central Valley, and preparation for global warming and sea level rise. We need to know what we can do to maintain the vital marshes around San Francisco Bay (and at Moss Landing, Limantour Estero, etc.) -Ted Chase, long-time Point Blue friend