Thanks to the visionary founders of our organization in 1965 (then Point Reyes Bird Observatory), we now have the long term data sets, honed methods, and deeply rooted culture of collaboration to address the significant challenges of our time. We are leaders in developing climate-smart conservation science approaches to address severe drought, rising and more acidic seas, increasingly extreme weather events, and accelerating habitat degradation and loss. We are spearheading nature-based solutions to these and other threats to wildlife and our communities.
From writing the book on bird monitoring and using birds as indicators of ecosystem health, to protecting birds, sharks, whales and ocean food webs, pioneering climate-smart habitat restoration, and innovating on-line conservation tools, Point Blue has been at the forefront of protecting nature for half a century. In 2017, we were honored to be recognized as an official Observer Organization to the UN’s global body addressing climate change, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Our 160 scientists are experts in field biology, data management, climate change, and more. We record observations of the natural world using rigorous, standardized protocols. We then use these observations to deepen our community’s understanding of nature to improve conservation outcomes.
Together, we have published more than 2,000 technical reports and peer reviewed scientific articles. We use these findings to address real-world challenges, working hand-in-hand with land, ocean and wildlife managers to improve conservation outcomes.
Together, we have trained generations of conservation scientists, including many leadership staff at Point Blue! The vast majority of the 1500 interns we have graduated work with public and private natural resource managers, regionally, nationally and internationally.
Together, we have advanced our common mission of conserving birds, other wildlife and ecosystems, building on our core strengths of scientific rigor, collaboration, innovation, excellence and integrity.
In the past 20 years alone, some of our accomplishments include:
- Leveraging almost $100 million in agricultural land conservation on roughly 2 million acres of forests, meadows, rangelands and croplands, for water, birds, other wildlife, carbon sequestration and people. We engaged over 1000 ranchers and farmers, dozens of public agencies (including the Natural Resources Conservation Service and US Forest Service), land trusts and other NGOs, as well as over 50,000 students and teachers.
- Helping more than 70 city, county, regional, state, and federal agencies across 95% of the urbanized coast of California to plan for climate change through the Our Coast Our Future online planning tool.
- Playing a leadership science role in securing the world’s largest Marine Protected Area at the Ross Sea, Antarctica.
- Engaging scores of partners and over 1,200 volunteers across 12 countries across the Americas to advance climate-smart conservation for migratory shorebirds and coastal communities.
- Helping ensure the protection of over 800,000 acres of post-fire forest for birds and other wildlife.
- Expanding our renowned conservation science training programs, with a total of 1900 interns graduated and more than 100 graduate students who’ve helped to unlock our vast stores of ecological data.
Read more of our recent accomplishments in our Science for a Blue Planet blog post.
Over the decades ahead, with your continued support, Point Blue will:
- Assess, guide and improve climate-smart conservation;
- Maximize the use of long-term ecological data for problem solving worldwide;
- Advance the application of conservation science to protect nature’s benefits for wildlife and people; and,
- Train new generations of climate-smart conservation leaders.
Remembering Rich Stallcup
1944 - 2012
Rich Stallcup was an extraordinary naturalist and teacher who touched the lives of countless people. He played a pivotal role in the rise of birding as a national pastime—especially the love of birds as a motive for conservation. Rich was one of the founding biologists of the Point Reyes Bird Observatory in the 1960s – the organization that has now grown to become Point Blue Conservation Science; inspired thousands of people to dedicate their lives to conservation; participated in some of the landmark battles to save wild places in California; and was a source of endless wisdom about the living world. Although we lost a great friend when Rich passed away, in December 2012, Point Blue will forever carry on his legacy of devotion to conserving “all things wild.”
Our Strategic Approach
We are at a pivotal moment in the history of life on our planet. Unprecedented actions are needed to ensure that wildlife and people continue to thrive in the decades to come. As society transitions to clean energy and more efficient energy and water use, we must ensure that conservation of nature is an equal priority. To increase the pace and scale of our work isn’t simply to do more faster; we intend to do and learn more, at a more rapid pace, without compromising essential qualities of our work in conservation science.
5-Year Strategic Goal
We will increase the pace, scale, and impact of climate-smart conservation, and demonstrate successful approaches that catalyze solutions to the global climate, water, and biodiversity crises. Our vision is that, thanks to our collaborative climate-smart conservation actions today, ecosystems will sustain thriving wildlife and human communities well into the future.
Climate-Smart Conservation Initiatives 2019-2024
To make progress toward our vision and achieve our goal, we are engaging in 6 major initiatives. Below are brief descriptions of each initiative and a sampling of what we hope to achieve by 2024.
Catalyzing Climate-Smart Restoration
We partner to restore biodiversity, soil health, and water resources to prepare for climate change. We work with local communities and public and private partners to increase the pace and scale of restoration that is a solution for, and resilient to, climate change.
By 2024 we will:
- Expand the footprint of climate-smart restoration in California by implementing and guiding projects that create resilient ecosystems that benefit ecological and human communities.
- Drive innovations in restoration science and practice to increase the pace and scale of restoration. We will lead collaborative research to evaluate the importance and cost-effectiveness of climate-smart restoration.
Conserving Oceans for Wildlife and People
We use our expertise collecting, managing and analyzing long-term data to inform ocean management in an effort to reduce threats and ensure sustainable human uses, giving time for wildlife to adapt to climate change. We collaborate with agencies, universities, NGOs, and other partners to conduct applied science and implement actions that protect biodiversity and aesthetic and recreational uses, while promoting sustainable fisheries, alternative energy, carbon sequestration, water quality, and habitat connectivity.
By 2024, we will:
- Improve fisheries’ sustainability to benefit humans and ecosystems in the California Current and Antarctica. We will conduct science to inform fish take limits in management plans, assess fish trends for stock assessments, and guide realistic expectations for fish recovery in marine protected areas.
- Guide ocean zoning to protect wildlife and sustainable human uses in the California Current and Antarctica. We will conduct science and provide recommendations to protect critical wildlife habitat, decrease deadly ship-wildlife interactions, guide wildlife- safe offshore energy projects, and decrease whale entanglements in fishing gear.
- Connect the public to the ocean and build support for healthy thriving marine life by engaging citizen scientists in ocean research, increasing student participation in ocean research, and raising community awareness about ocean conservation.
Inspiring Conservation Action
Our education and training programs provide real-world experience, education, and inspiration for our ambassadors, students, and educators, by equipping them with the knowledge, tools, relationships, and skills necessary to address climate change and other environmental threats.
We will increase the number of people contributing to climate-smart conservation by graduating trained ambassadors into the conservation field, and empowering students and teachers to partner with their local communities to implement restoration projects based on the success of our Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed program (STRAW).
By 2024, we will:
- Ensure that a new generation of climate-smart ambassadors is prepared to address climate change and other environmental threats in their careers, because of our training efforts. In five years, we expect to have graduated 5,650 ambassadors from at least 15 different countries.
- Scale up our STRAW program, establishing new climate-smart restoration programs based on the success of the existing model. New programs may be established in California communities where Point Blue has deep community influence, or in communities throughout the U.S by leaders trained by STRAW in community-based restoration or in schoolyard native plant nurseries.
Protecting our Shorelines
We conduct and apply science to better sustain healthy coastal ecosystems along the Pacific Coast of the Americas in the face of current and future threats. Working with government agencies, NGOs and other key stakeholders, our approach is designed to identify and catalyze implementation of climate-smart management actions that benefit both wildlife and human communities. From primary data collection to science translation and engagement with coastal decision-makers, our work is expanding to address coastal challenges from the local- to landscape-scale with partners from Alaska to Chile.
By 2024, we will:
- Enhance priority coastal habitats from Alaska to Chile so they are resilient to sea level rise, erosion, and other threats while supporting a diversity of ecosystem functions and services. Point Blue will work to ensure that coastal managers have the best science available so that they can effectively direct conservation efforts.
- Promote effective nature-based coastal adaptation strategies so that they become the preferred option for addressing impacts from sea level rise and other threats.
Sustaining Working Lands
We work with land stewards and other partners to ensure that agricultural landscapes provide ecosystem services that support the needs of people and wildlife. We achieve this by: conducting science that informs metrics, practices, and strategies for thriving agricultural landscapes; evaluating and guiding implementation of innovative agricultural and land stewardship strategies to achieve multiple benefits and minimize undesirable trade-offs across scales; and leveraging our climate-smart restoration strategy to amplify benefits to working landscapes.
By 2024, we will:
- Work with producers to demonstrate and implement strategies to maintain and enhance ecosystem services and achieve multiple benefits of biodiversity, carbon and nutrient cycling, water resources, and food production.
- Become an essential resource to land trusts and local, regional, state, and federal agencies for guiding climate-smart implementation of multiple-benefit stewardship within agroecosystems.
- Innovate scientifically rigorous metrics, practices, resources, and strategies that, when used, lead to measurable increases in biodiversity and improved carbon and nutrient cycling and water management on target agricultural landscapes.
Point Blue’s Keystone Datasets are collections of ongoing, 10+ (in some cases 40+) year datasets that are a key element of Point Blue’s long-term strategy, mission, and vision, helping us to fill a unique niche in conservation science. They are an iconic part of what defines Point Blue’s past, present, and future. They are exemplary of taking the long view and have a proven track record of advancing conservation science. Analyses from these Datasets contribute to our baseline understanding of long-term processes and trends, and support shorter-term research or management needs, including strategic initiatives. Protocols and procedures are thoroughly vetted and documented, and data are analysis-ready and available for sharing.
By 2024, we will:
- Ensure that each Strategic Initiative utilizes Keystone Datasets to assess the impacts of our work and the effectiveness of management actions that we recommend.