Les Fruits de Mer to Present at International Bird Conference

Hundreds of bird specialists from the Caribbean and beyond attend the BirdsCaribbean International Conference.

Every two years, BirdsCaribbean holds its international conference on Caribbean birds and their habitats. The meeting is the largest of its kind, attracting hundreds of delegates from the region and beyond. This year, it will be held in Guadeloupe from July 25-29. St. Martin will be represented by Jenn Yerkes, Mark Yokoyama and William Allanic of the Les Fruits de Mer association.

Jenn Yerkes will be delivering two presentations: Jumbie Trees and Spirit Birds: Connecting Cultural and Natural Heritage to Engage the Public and Helping People Engage with Nature After a Natural Disaster. Both presentations will highlight work done on St. Martin in the last two years. Mark Yokoyama will be leading a workshop on working with local media. William Allanic will be attending as a youth delegate.

BirdsCaribbean is the largest conservation group in the region. Its members come from nonprofits, forestry departments and universities all over the region. They do research, save wild spaces and share the magic of birds and nature all over the Caribbean. At the conference, over 200 members will gather in one place to share the latest in research and more.

Les Fruits de Mer has been a partner of BirdsCaribbean since 2013. The association became the first institutional member of BirdsCaribbean in the entire French Caribbean in 2015. Les Fruits de Mer members have presented at international BirdsCaribbean conferences in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

Mark Yokoyama leads a writing workshop during the 2017 BirdsCaribbean conference in Cuba.

The conference is important because it is the one time when people working in bird science, conservation and education all over the Caribbean come together to learn and share. Training workshops teach skills like how to do a bird survey. New research and techniques for helping birds are shared. Les Fruits de Mer members will bring know-how back to St. Martin where it can be used to raise awareness, improve nature education and protect valuable habitats.

This year’s conference is “Keeping Caribbean Birds Aloft” (or “An nou poté mannèv pou zozio karayib volé” in Créole). In keeping with the theme, the conference will feature many ways to help birds in the Caribbean.

“Our birds face many challenges, and we want to address them,” noted Lisa Sorensen, the Executive Director of BirdsCaribbean. “We will work on how to protect birds from threats like plastic pollution or habitat destruction. We are also working to promote birds for their value as a tourism attraction and the benefits they provide to people.”

You can learn more about the conference at http://birdscaribbean.org/bc2019/, including keynote speakers, workshop themes and field trips. Registration is open now.

The Guadeloupe Conference Poster features five special birds—four that are resident in Guadeloupe and one that migrates to the island. (Artwork by Guillaume Zbinden)

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