For the past five years and five months — since January of 2010 to be exact — Judith Scarl has been a mainstay of VCE’s conservation biology staff. From Day 1, Jude has graced us with her cheerful energy, unmatched organizational skills, outstanding rapport with volunteers, and insightful approach to science-based conservation. Now, she’s moving on, leaving the Green Mountains to try her hand on the bigger bird conservation stage in Washington, DC. It’s an understatement to say that we’ll miss Jude, and that she has left a lasting mark here.
A few numbers provide a small, but telling measure of Jude’s tenure at VCE: 48 arduous Mountain Birdwatch (MBW) routes personally surveyed; >5,000 volunteers coordinated to collect ~27,000 Rusty Blackbird checklists over 38 states, 9 provinces and 3 territories — in just two springs!; some 600 volunteer-run MBW surveys across 4 states, with >3,000 individual point counts completed, many hundreds of Bicknell’s Thrush tallied and untold numbers of black flies swatted!
Beyond those statistics, Jude’s time at VCE has been marked by a deep engagement with volunteers and a willingness to throw herself into diverse efforts that have tangibly advanced VCE’s mission. Her signature accomplishments, of course, include directing Mountain Birdwatch and the Rusty Blackbird Spring Migration Blitz. These two core projects are among VCE’s most far-reaching in terms of geographic scope and extensive citizen science involvement. Perhaps less known (so far) is that Jude has spearheaded our development of an innovative plan for “mitigation across borders”, i.e., exploring possibilities to offset habitat impacts on the breeding grounds of Bicknell’s Thrush with mitigation on the species’ Caribbean winter range. This plan involves a partnership with the White Mountain National Forest and is nearing release — it will constitute an enduring part of Jude’s legacy at VCE and a significant step forward for Bicknell’s Thrush conservation.
Jude has tackled an array of other eclectic tasks at VCE, from overseeing our foundation grants process, to evaluating our Lakes program and future directions of our loon research, to serving as Principal Investigator on a 2012 field study of Rusty Blackbird habitat use in ME and VT. All this she has done with competency, thoroughness, and an unflappably positive attitude!
Jude will now apply her considerable energies and skillset to a dual role as Bird Conservation Coordinator for the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA) and Coordinator of the North American Bird Conservation Initiative. This will position her to provide leadership on national bird conservation issues in partnership with state fish and wildlife agencies, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Among other duties, Jude will support Bird Habitat Joint Ventures, develop the annual State of the Birds report, advance effective bird monitoring, support bird conservation efforts on private lands, and support policies that facilitate bird and bird habitat conservation. It’s a daunting slate, but if anyone is up to it, Jude is. We wish her well and look forward to staying in touch.
Thanks, Jude, for all you’ve contributed during the past five and a half years, both to VCE’s work and to staff camaraderie!