News Release Date: October 23, 2013
(Kingston, Jamaica) October 18, 2013 – Today the Society for the Conservation and Study of Caribbean Birds (SCSCB) , the largest single organization devoted to wildlife conservation in the Caribbean, announced the renaming of the organization to “BirdsCaribbean.” The name change reflects the proactive, multi-faceted, and inclusive nature of the organization, which continues in its role of assisting wildlife professionals, educators, and community members throughout the Caribbean in their efforts to understand and conserve birds and their habitats.
The organization also launched a new logo featuring the Bananaquit, a conspicuous and well-known bird common on most islands. “The shorter new name and lively logo reflect our interest in making our organization more accessible and well-known in wider Caribbean society,” commented Lisa Sorenson, Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean . “We need to reach more people and engage them in the wonderful world of birds and our mission to conserve the Caribbean’s rich but threatened natural heritage.” said Sorenson.
In the new strategic plan, which was presented and discussed at the organization’s 19th Regional Meeting  on Grenada (July 27-31, 2013), over the next five years the organization will shift from volunteer-led to one directed by full-time staff (an Executive Director, Programs Director and Administrative Assistant) under the supervision of an elected board of directors.
“Our new name and structure better positions us to serve as a leader in Caribbean conservation and support our partners,” said Dr. Howard Nelson, President of BirdsCaribbean . He added that, “We are very proud of our 25 years of service to the Caribbean conservation community and we are excited about what having full-time staff will mean for BirdsCaribbean.” Nelson remarked that under BirdsCaribbean’s new strategic plan the organization aims to work with a broader suite of partners, expand educational and monitoring programs, and promote best practices for the conservation of biodiversity more widely using the region’s unique birds as flagships for conservation.
Key elements of the new strategic direction include further developing BirdsCaribbean to work with and through its partners in the Caribbean and the rest of the world to promote conservation of birds and their habitats by:
§ Serving as the Caribbean’s primary forum for sharing best practices, tools, innovations, and lessons learned about the conservation of birds and their habitats.
§ Expanding and developing flagship programs, for example, the highly successful Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival that draws over 100,000 participants from 23 independent Caribbean nations each year  and the Caribbean Birding Trail, an economically beneficial program promoting nature-based tourism Caribbean-wide .
Generating core operational funds needed to sustain full-time staff, field projects and Caribbean-wide education programs.
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For more information, and to arrange an interview, please contact: Leo Douglas, University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tel: 1 876-807-4971.
Scott Johnson, Bahamas National Trust, Nassau, Bahamas. Email: email@example.com.
Tel: 1 242-393- 1317.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. BirdsCaribbean is the largest single regional organization devoted to wildlife conservation in the Caribbean. It is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization whose goals are to promote the scientific study and conservation of Caribbean birds and their habitats, and to promote greater public awareness of the bird life of the region. For more details, see: http://www.scscb.org.
2. Dr. Lisa Sorenson is Executive Director and Past President of BirdsCaribbean. She develops and oversees all projects and programs of the Society, including the Caribbean Waterbird Census monitoring program, Caribbean Birding Trail Project, Caribbean BirdSleuth, the West Indian Whistling-Duck and Wetlands Project, and others. Sorenson, an ornithologist and conservation biologist, has been working in the Caribbean for 28 years.
3. The theme of the 2013 conference, held every two years, is “Bird Conservation in a Changing Climate.” For further information on the conference program, keynote speakers and meeting report please visit: https://sites.google.com/site/scscbmeeting2013/home
4. Dr. Howard Nelson has extensive research, policy and teaching experience in wildlife ecology, forestry and biodiversity conservation. He was also the biodiversity specialist at the Environmental Policy and Planning Division of Trinidad and Tobago’s Ministry of Planning, Housing and Environment. Currently, he is the Coordinator for a Regional Biodiversity and Sustainable Development MSc Programme, and a lecturer at the UWI. He is also a member of the Board the Guardian Life Wildlife Trust of Trinidad and Tobago.
5. The Caribbean Endemic Bird Festival is a celebration of the region’s unique bird life. Celebrated for one month, the festival calls attention to the fact that more than 25% of the Caribbean’s bird species (148 of 564) are endemic—that is, they exist nowhere else on the planet. Local conservation organizations throughout the Caribbean celebrate through an array of events, including bird and nature walks, presentations, art and photography exhibits and competitions, radio quizzes, bird calling contests, beach clean-ups, tree plantings, distribution of materials, and more.
6. The Caribbean Birding Trail is a newly launched initiative by BirdsCaribbean  with funding from the Critical Ecosystems Partnership Fund. The mission of the CBT is to create and promote nature-based, authentic experiences that engage visitors and locals with the unique birds of the Caribbean and connect them to the extraordinary places, diverse cultures and people of each island. The CBT is a metaphorical trail that, when complete, will include important birdwatching sites throughout the entire region; using birds as a focal point for engaging birders and non-birders with the local nature and culture that lies beyond the beach. For more information, visit http://www.caribbeanbirdingtrail.org.