Partnership with Missouri Bird Conservation Intiative

Photo by Jason HarrisonThe Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative (MoBCI) is a partnership of organizations that "get excited about birds," care about bird conservation, and/or have formal legal responsibilities for bird conservation. It is an organization of organizations, a diverse partnership dedicated to the conservation of wild birds and their habitats. The MoBCI was formally established August 16, 2003 following the written commitment of 28 organizations to unite in the pursuit of integrated all bird conservation. A series of communication and consensus building meetings preceded the MoBCI's official formation. Now 62 organizations have agreed to participate in the initiative.

MoBCI has as its primary purpose to work together to conserve, restore, and protect bird populations. MoBCI members realize that our respective organizational interests in birds are varied, but also that these diverse interests, if unified, represent a powerful force of action and voice on behalf of birds and their habitats. Further, member organizations recognize that much more can be accomplished if we jointly engage in what are truly common goals. Moreover, communication and cooperation promote an understanding of our respective individual and organizational interests in birds. Accompanying that understanding is appreciation for the motivations of others. MoBCI is Missouri's "step down" of the hemispheric and international integrated bird conservation partnership--the North American Bird Conservation Initiative (NABCI). The NABCI vision is one where "Populations and habitats of North America's birds are protected, restored, and enhanced through coordinated efforts at international, national, regional, state, and local levels, guided by sound science and effective management." Like the NABCI, the Missouri Bird Conservation Initiative is about conserving birds across geopolitical boundaries, across taxonomic groups, and across landscapes. Also, like NABCI, the MoBCI is a partnership based affiliation; however, it is designed for delivery of conservation at the state and local levels.

Major activities of MoBCI are organized, coordinated and lead by the members of the MoBCI Steering Committee. Seventeen people, representing business-driven associations, non-profits, and state agencies, are on the Steering Committee. The Audubon Society of Missouri is represented on the MoBCI Steering Committee by Susan Hazelwood where her major contribution has been to serve on the MoBCI grants subcommittee.

MoBCI's major activities are an annual conference (historically held each August) which includes an annual meeting and a silent auction, an annual newsletter, a grants program that has awarded at least $100,000 per year between 2004 and 2010, and overseeing the issuance of a Governor's Proclamation declaring an annual Missouri Bird Conservation Day in May.

This year's conference addressed "Bird Habitat: Does a River Run Through It?" It was attended by about 65 people, held in Columbia, had excellent speakers, and lots of opportunities for networking with agency and non-profit leaders.

Lack of money at the state and federal levels has placed the MoBCI grant program on hold for the fiscal year 2012. It is hoped that funding might become available later this year and that the program could be activated at that time. ASM has provided dollars toward partner organizations' grant applications to MoBCI for habitat improvement since 2010.

Birds highlighted in the Governor's Proclamation for 2011 were the Cerulean Warbler and Wood Duck. Georganne Nixon, Missouri's First Lady, awarded this year's proclamation and declared May 14, 2011 Bird Conservation Day for the State of Missouri.