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What to Talk About When You Talk About Birds

A pragmatic approach to conservation is a win-win

If you’re a biologist and you want to save habitat for birds such as this Savannah Sparrow, how do you do it? You talk to people, says Ros Renfrew of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. And you listen. Ros meets with landowners in Vermont, New Hampshire, and across New England. “We might not even talk about birds when we have these conversations because that’s just not what’s going to pique their interest,” says Ros. “We might talk about water quality, we might talk about soil quality . . . keying into what that person’s going to be interested in.”

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Transcript: 

BirdNote®   

What To Talk About When You Talk About Birds

Written by Dominic Black from an interview with Rosalind Renfrew

This is BirdNote. 

So say you’re a biologist and you want to save habitat for birds. How do you do it? 

You talk to people, says Ros Renfrew of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. And you listen. Ros meets with landowners in Vermont, New Hampshire, and across New England. 

You know, we might not even talk about birds when we have these conversations because that’s just not what’s going to pique their interest. We might talk about water quality, we might talk about soil quality, but knowing that the conversation’s going to help the birds but keying into what that person’s going to be interested in.

The key point being that if you want to get the desired outcome you have to be pragmatic:   

I don’t think you can get everybody to appreciate birds, at least not as nearly as much as someone like me does. I don’t think we should expect that, because there are real economic constraints. And a landowner has different things they have to consider, even if they do appreciate the birds already. 

So you have to come to a meeting point where you’re appreciating their limitations and their need to actually make an income, you know, and they’re appreciating that you’re trying to conserve – not just the birds but the habitat and everything that goes with it.   

That’s Ros Renfrew of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies, who works with landowners to encourage conservation of habitats. 

For BirdNote, I’m Mary McCann. 

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Ambient sounds ‘NatureSound 84 Prairie Morning Birdsong’ recorded by Gordon Hempton of quietplanet.com
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black

© 2015 Tune In to Nature.org      July 2015     Narrator: Mary McCann

ID #: negotiation-01-2015-07-27 negotiation-01

http://vtecostudies.org/

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