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Students help children learn about fish near Cal U. Students help children learn about fish near Cal U.


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Posted on March 22, 2012

Dr. Carol Bocetti with Krikland's Warbler. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has honored Dr. Carol Bocetti with its 2011 Recovery Champion award.

The award honors agency employees and partners who have made outstanding efforts to conserve and protect endangered and threatened species of fish, wildlife and plants.

Bocetti, an associate professor in the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Cal U, leads the recovery team for an endangered songbird species, the Kirtland’s warbler.

The 5- to 6-inch warbler is found only in Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Bocetti’s research and recovery initiatives have been a key factor in the growth of the warbler population from near record lows of about 200 pairs during the mid-1980s to the current estimate of more than 1,700 pairs, surpassing recovery goals.

Her research also documented the link between the size of jack pine stands — the warbler’s nesting habitat — and warbler productivity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says. 

A member of the Kirtland’s warbler recovery team since 1998, Bocetti became the team leader in 2006. Working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others, she spearheaded efforts to develop a conservation strategy and commitment to managing habitat, a significant step toward recovery and long-term conservation of the species.

“Thanks to Dr. Bocetti’s leadership and dedication, Kirtland’s warblers are making strides toward recovery,” said Tom Melius, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Midwest regional director. “That is a remarkable achievement for a species that was once on the brink of extinction.”

Bocetti says the nomination by her Fish and Wildlife Services colleagues came as a surprise, and she is honored by her selection for the award.

“It means so much to me to be recognized for my leadership on this amazing journey towards de-listing a conservation-reliant species,” she said.

“I share this award with all the dedicated, innovative partners who have contributed to this effort. I have not accomplished anything on my own! I simply took the reins from a visionary group of conservationists who started the recovery effort, and along with a phenomenal crew, steered the ship toward this new conservation horizon. 

“It has been a privilege for me to be a part of it all.”