Melissa Pitkin

Outreach and Education Group Director

As the Education and Outreach Director for Point Blue, I work with our team of scientists and educators to plan ways to share our science findings and recommendations to inspire action for conservation. I also firmly believe in training the next generation of conservationists, scientists, educators, and advocates through education programs linked to science and nature.¬† I’m passionate about teaching and the need to connect people to nature.

I have an M.S. in Environmental Education from Southern Oregon University and a B.S. in Wildlife and Conservation Biology from UC Davis. I first came to Point Blue (then PRBO) as a third grader on a field trip to observe bird banding at the Palomarin Field Station. I distinctly remember walking the mist-netting trail in hopes of finding birds!  My educational career brought me back to Palomarin with my college ornithology class. In 1997 I became an intern studying songbirds at the Cosumnes River Preserve, then elephant seals on the Farallones, and then back to Palomarin where I began teaching and expanding our educational programs. Today, the education program has grown to reach over 3,000 people of all ages each year, through programs in the field and in classrooms, including the award winning program called STRAW (Students and Teachers Restoring A Watershed).

During my graduate studies I focused on the opportunity to teach science to students through mist-netting demonstrations at bird research stations. Drawing from my experiences at Palomarin and from surveying over 30 research organizations in North America, I produced the guide “Mist-netting with the public: A guide for communicating science through bird banding” which is now available for purchase¬†through Environment for the Americas.

I work primarily from my home office in Healdsburg, CA and also from our headquarters in Petaluma.