“Conservationists in Action” Interviews


Birds and Birding in Israel

NCTC Historian, Mark Madison, hosts a studio interview with Jonathan Meyrav. Jonathan is the tourism director of the Israel Ornithological Center.
He is also coordinator of the “Champions of the Flyway” project, an international birding competition that raises funds and awareness to combat the illegal killing of birds along flyways.
From the volcanic steppes of the Golan Heights to the jagged Granite peaks of the Eilat Mountains, over 540 species of birds have been recorded in Israel to date. Besides a wide range of regional specialty species, Israel also hosts one of the biggest and most important avian migration corridors in the world. This interview will discuss the tremendous richness of birds and wildlife of Israel and the work being done to protect the natural habitats and birds of this swiftly developing country.
Recorded October 3, 2019.

Travels with the Songbird Migration of Spring

NCTC Historian, Dr. Mark Madison, hosts a studio interview with Smithsonian ornithologist Bruce Beehler on his newest book “North on the Wing: Travels with the Songbird Migration of Spring”.
March 29, 2018.  In late March 2015, Beehler set off on a solo four-month trek to track songbird migration and the northward progress of spring through America. Traveling via car, canoe, bike, and on foot, Beehler followed woodland warblers and other Neotropical songbird species from the southern border of Texas, where the birds first arrive after their winter sojourns in South America and the Caribbean, northward through the Mississippi drainage to its headwaters in Minnesota and onward to their nesting grounds in the north woods of Ontario. In North on the Wing, Beehler describes both the epic migration of songbirds across the country and the gradual dawning of springtime through the U.S. heartland–the blossoming of wildflowers, the chorusing of frogs, the leafing out of forest canopies–and also tells the stories of the people and institutions dedicated to studying and conserving the critical habitats and processes of spring songbird migration. Inspired in part by Edwin Way Teale’s landmark 1951 book North with the Spring, this book–part travelogue, part field journal, and part environmental and cultural history–is a fascinating first-hand account of a once-in-a-lifetime journey. The book revels in the wonders of spring migration and serves as a call to conserve, restore, and expand bird habitats to preserve them for future generations of both birds and humans.
Bruce Beehler is an ornithologist, conservationist, and naturalist. He is currently a Research Associate in the Division of Birds at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and is focused on research and writing about nature and natural history. Beehler has spent much of his scientific career studying and working to conserve birds and their forest habitats. After conducting doctoral fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, Beehler worked for ten years at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, followed by stints at the Wildlife Conservation Society, U.S. Department of State, Counterpart International, Conservation International, and the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation. Beehler has published eleven books and authored scores of technical and popular articles about birds and nature. In 2007, Beehler was featured in a 60-Minutes piece highlighting an expedition he led to the Foja Mountains in the interior of New Guinea in which scores of new species of plants and animals were discovered. Today, Beehler carries out natural history studies and writing focused on wildlife and natural places in North America.

The Genius of Birds

NCTC Historian, Dr. Mark Madison, hosts an interview with nationally acclaimed science and nature writer​, ​Jennifer Ackerman on​ her newest book “The Genius of Birds”​.
In recent years, science has discovered that birds are much, much more intelligent than we ever supposed, capable of abstract thinking, problem-solving, remembering, learning by example, recognizing faces​ and ​even conversing in a meaningful way​.​
Jennifer Ackerman has been writing about science and nature for 30 years. Her most recent book, The Genius of Birds (Penguin Press, April 2016), explores the intelligence of birds. Her previous books include Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold (Twelve Press, 2010), Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body (Houghton Mifflin, 2007), Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity (Houghton Mifflin 2001), and Notes from the Shore (Viking Penguin, 1995). A contributor to Scientific American, National Geographic Magazine, The New York Times, her articles and essays have been included in several anthologies, among them, Best American Science Writing, The Nature Reader, Best Nature Writing, Flights of Imagination: Extraordinary Writings About Birds, and The Penguin Book of the Ocean. Jennifer’s work aims to explain and interpret science for a lay audience and to explore the riddle of humanity’s place in the natural world, blending scientific knowledge with imaginative vision. http://www.jenniferackermanauthor.com

The Birds of WV

Presented by Richard Bailey, State Ornithologist, WV Department of Natural Resources. June 2012..

The Monarch of the Americas: Chasing, Saving and Understanding our Most Iconic Insect

In this program NCTC Historian, Dr. Mark Madison, hosts an interview with Butterfly Expert & Author, Robert Michael Pyle. March19, 2015.
ROBERT MICHAEL PYLE was born on July 19, 1947 in Denver and raised in nearby Aurora, Colorado. His B.S. in Nature Perception and Protection (1969) and M.S. in Nature Interpretation (1973) from the University of Washington were followed in 1976 by a Ph.D. from Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. In 1971, during a Fulbright Fellowship at the Monks Wood Experimental Station in England, Pyle founded the Xerces Society for invertebrate conservation, and later chaired its Monarch Project. Bob has worked as an assistant curator at Yale’s Peabody Museum, as a butterfly conservation consultant for Papua New Guinea, Northwest Land Steward for The Nature Conservancy, and guest professor or writer at Portland State, University of Alaska, Evergreen State, and Lewis & Clark College. He has lectured for scientific, literary, and general audiences in many cities and countries, taught numerous field courses and creative writing seminars, been on the faculties of Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory as well as participating in the Port Townsend, Pacific Northwest, Sitka, and Desert writing conferences, and has appeared on NPR’s E-Town. He received a 1997 Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Conservation Biology. In 1979, Pyle moved from Portland, Oregon to the rural community of Gray’s River, on a tributary of the Lower Columbia in far southwest Washington. It was a deliberate migration, in the Thoreauvian sense, toward the requisite setting for confronting life’s bare essentials and to see what effect that may have on the creative act of writing. As Michael Pearsonhas commented: “For a man trained in natural history, science, and conservation much more than in literature, the transformation from scientist into full-time writer was a daring step into terra incognita, a metamorphosis reminiscent of the butterflies he studies.” As a professional writer, Pyle has published hundreds of papers, essays, stories, and poems in many magazines and journals in addition to 14 books.

Return to Penguin City

“William Sladen is Bi-polar” – An interview with Dr. William Sladen as part of the “Conservationists in Action Series” hosted by Dr. Mark Madison, Historian at NCTC.
Recorded in 2008. Mark Madison interviews Dr. William Sladen, an accomplished scientist, physician, filmmaker and expert on arctic and antarctic birds. His swan research program using ultralight aircraft was the basis for the film “Fly Away home”. The interview concludes with a showing of his film “Return to Penguin City”.

Restoring Endangered Seabirds: Lessons from Puffins and Terns

An interview with Dr. Stephen Kress, Vice President of bird conservation, National Audubon Society, as part of the “Conservationists in Action Series” hosted by Dr. Mark Madison, Historian, NCTC in 2003.
Dr. Stephen Kress of the Audubon Society discusses his seabird restoration work in partnership with the USFWS Maine Coastal Islands National Wildlife Refguge. The work was done on Seal Island, about 30 miles offshore. The Service’s primary focus at the Maine Coastal Islands NWR is colonial seabird restoration and management. Refuge islands provide nesting habitat for common, Arctic, and endangered roseate terns, Atlantic puffins, razorbills, black guillemots, Leach’s storm-petrels, laughing gulls, and common eiders. During the last 25 years, the Service and its conservation partners have worked to reverse the decline in these birds’ populations.

Pacific Sea Otter Conservation

Presented by Greg Sanders, Marine Mammal Biologist with Minerals Management Service in 2008 as part of the “Conservationists in Action Series” hosted by Dr. Mark Madison, Historian at NCTC.
Greg Sanders, a marine mammal biologist with the Minerals Management Service (previously with the USFWS for 18 years), presents sea otter recovery efforts underway in California up to 2008. He discusses both translocation and recovery for the southern sea otter along the northern California coast. The title of his presentation is “Southern Sea Otter Recovery – A Fragile Balance”.

Migratory Birds First Frontier

Scott Weidensaul, Author, Ornithologist, Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds. May 2, 2012.
Bird migration is the world’s only true unifying natural phenomenon, stitching the continents together in a way that even the great weather systems fail to do. Scott Weidensaul follows awesome kettles of hawks over the Mexican coastal plains, bar-tailed godwits that hitchhike on gale winds 7,000 miles nonstop across the Pacific from Alaska to New Zealand, and myriad songbirds whose numbers have dwindled so dramatically in recent decades. Migration paths form an elaborate global web that shows serious signs of fraying, and Weidensaul delves into the tragedies of habitat degradation and deforestation with an urgency that brings to life the vast problems these miraculous migrants now face. Living on the Wind is a magisterial work of nature writing. Author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul has written more than two dozen books on natural history, including Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, a Pulitzer Prize finalist; The Ghost with Trembling Wings, about the search for species that may or may not be extinct; and Of a Feather: A Brief History of American Birding. His newest book, The First Frontier: The Forgotten History of Struggle, Savagery and Endurance in Early America, will be published in February 2012. Weidensaul lectures widely on wildlife and environmental topics, and is an active field researcher, specializing in birds of prey and hummingbirds. He lives in the Appalachians of eastern Pennsylvania, the heart of the old colonial frontier.

Life Among the Monarchs

NCTC Historian, Dr. Mark Madison, interviews Lincoln Brower, Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus at the University of Florida and Research Professor of Biology at Sweet Briar College. May 21, 2015.

Life Among the Monarchs A Biographical Interview with Linda Fink

NCTC Historian, Dr. Mark Madison interviews Linda Fink on the early days of Lincoln Brower research (Distinguished Service Professor of Zoology Emeritus at the University of Florida. 05/21/2015.

Cerulean Blues

FWS Historian Mark Madison hosts an interview with author and conservationist Katie Fallon – May 16, 2013.
Katie’s first book, Cerulean Blues: A Personal Search for a Vanishing Songbird, was published in 2011. The book details the life history of the Cerulean Warbler, the fastest declining warbler species in the United States. Thirty-five percent of the world’s population of the species breeds in West Virginia. More information can be found at: http://www.katiefallon.com Katie teaches writing at West Virginia University and is one of the founders of the Avian Conservation Center of Appalachia. ACCA is an all-volunteer organization located near Morgantown, WV. ACCA is licensed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service to treat and rehabilitate injured, ill, or orphaned wild birds. The ACCA mission is: To conserve wild birds through scientific research; education and public outreach; rescue and rehabilitation. http://www.accawv.org

Black Footed Ferret Recovery A Conservation Success Story

NCTC Historian, Dr. Mark Madison, hosts an interview with Pete Gober, the Black-footed Ferret Recovery Coordinator for the USFWS. March 18, 2015.

Birds of West Virginia and Beyond

Presented by Richard Bailey, State Ornithologist, WV Department of Natural Resources. June 2012.

40 Years from the Brink of Extinction America’s Bald Eagle

NCTC Historian, Mark Madison, hosts a studio interview with photographer and author John D. Chaney on his new book, “40 Years from the Brink of Extinction: America’s Bald Eagle”. August 10, 2016.