Lynne Stenzel

Senior Wetland Ecologist

Lynne Stenzel retired at the end of March after 50 years of being on staff with the organization! She is continuing her work in retirement on her important research on Snowy Plover ecology in the Monterey Bay area as a Point Blue Research Associate.

Lynne was a member of the Pacific Coast and Central Valley Group at Point Blue Conservation Science, and focused on shorebird ecology and behavior. Her interests range from the aquatic birds that use our coastlines for breeding, migration, and wintering; to the physical and biological dynamics of coastal ecosystems; to a particular shorebird found on our coast year-round, the Snowy Plover.

She first became involved with Point Blue (then, Point Reyes Bird Observatory) in September of 1971, when wetland biologist Gary Page was initiating  an ecological study, focused on shorebirds, at Bolinas Lagoon. This beautiful coastal estuary, very near our organization’s first headquarters, was also the site of her field work then ‒ in marine biology. Because Gary aimed to include not only the shorebirds but also their predators (raptors) and their prey (invertebrates), there was an opportunity for her to apply her budding expertise in sampling and identifying intertidal invertebrates. It was exciting to be invited to join this study, uncommon at the time.

Birds, especially shorebirds, soon displaced invertebrates as her primary research interest. That interest led her from the muddy shores of Bolinas Lagoon, to wetlands throughout the West that are integral to the Pacific Flyway and crucial to migratory shorebirds, to Mono Lake and the California coast in studies of the Snowy Plover, and especially to Monterey Bay where Point Blue works collaboratively to document the well-being of the plover’s population and ensure its survival.

In her career at Point Blue she has coordinated and worked with hundreds of citizen scientists in Point Blue studies. She has felt gratified to see how exposure to the scientific method ‒ and to counting and observing birds in the wild ‒ has touched so many participants and inspired them to become knowledgeable and enthusiastic advocates for the natural world. She hopes to continue such work in her retirement and as a Research Associate with Point Blue.