The Mission Valley

Charismatic Curlews, Citizen Counters, and Conservation Collaboration

Long-billed Curlew Photo Credit: Bob Martinka
Long-billed Curlew Photo Credit: Bob Martinka

The Mission Valley is one of rich and varied habitats, diverse and complicated land ownership, and growing development pressures. Over the past few years, Montana Audubon and key partners in the area, such as Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes biologists, have built a collaboration focusing on key species and the area’s mix of wetlands and grasslands. This area contains five Important Bird Areas notable for a diversity of shorebirds, marsh birds, waterfowl, raptors, and songbirds.

Within the Mission Valley, the Flathead Reservation contains almost 1.25 million acres of diverse wildlife habitats. Over 250 species of birds have been sighted on the Reservation. Although this area is home to many priority bird species, such as Trumpeter Swan, Sandhill Crane, and Flammulated Owl, the Long-billed Curlew has become a mascot for conservation in the valley as the Long-billed Curlew Initiative has been pioneered. Join Janene Lichtenberg and Amy Seaman on February 8 for a slide show presentation highlighting the charismatic Long-billed Curlew, how this bird is cultivating a culture of conservation, how to get involved, and what’s next.

Janene Lichtenberg is Chair of the Wildlife and Fisheries Department at Salish Kootenai College (SKC). Prior to this position, she spent almost 12 years as a Wildlife Biologist for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT). She is currently working on collaborative projects with Montana Audubon Society, SKC students, citizen scientists, CSKT, and other partners to enhance knowledge and conservation of wildlife on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Amy Seaman is Associate Director of Conservation for Montana Audubon and primarily works on the Important Bird Area (IBA) Program.  She is also Montana Audubon’s lobbyist during legislative years. Her teaching experiences are varied, but include several semesters assisting field ornithology. Avian studies have been a focal point for Amy, taking her, over the last seven years to Montana locations, such as the Madison and Missouri Rivers, Charles M. Russell NWR, Bitterroot Valley, and Bridger Ridge. She has traveled widely throughout the west, and currently resides in Helena with her orange cat.

Please join Janene and Amy at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 8 learn “What’s Next?” for the Long-billed Curlew and conservation in the Mission Valley.  We meet in the United Way Conference Room of the Gateway Community Center, off US Highway 2 West in Kalispell.