Above: Scott Rush, Ph.D. Photo courtesy of Scott Rush.
The Rocky River Important Bird Area conservation initiative was really more about people than birds because it would study the impact of conservation on the quality of life of people who lived in the Rocky River watershed.
I’m Tom Romito, former president of Western Cuyahoga Audubon.
We did a project called the Rocky River Important Bird Area (RRIBA) survey from 2006-2010. Our purpose was to collect data on trends and populations of birds in the Rocky River, Ohio watershed.
During the project, we located Scott Rush, an ornithologist then at Windsor University. Scott consented to writing a scientific article on our project. His article was published in 2014 in “Urban Ecosystems,” an international journal devoted to scientific investigations on ecology in urban environments. I’m proud that we have this documentation.
Scott’s objective in writing the article was to get the data about the project out to a broad audience. He synthesized what Western Cuyahoga Audubon did to show the trends that the data showed.
Scott believes that the paper is an example of what can be done in citizen science when people come together.
When organizations intend to do IBA projects like this, it’s important that they have an objective in mind. They should ask questions such as:
Western Cuyahoga Audubon can do a follow-up project in five to ten years to see how populations have changed. This would get new people involved who were not involved initially.
Scott is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries & Aquaculture at Mississippi State University. He works with students on research projects involving birds, bats, small mammals, water quality issues, and shoreline issues in the southeastern United States.
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