News

November 04, 2014

Hawk Mountain volunteer named Disney Conservation Hero

Sue Robertson, age 86, honored for 40 years service


Hawk Mountain Sanctuary, Kempton, is thrilled to announce that Sanctuary volunteer Sue Robertson, age 86, has been honored with a Disney Conservation Hero Award from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF) for her work in helping to monitor American kestrel nestboxes for more than 40 years at Hawk Mountain. The Disney Conservation Hero award recognizes local citizens for their tireless efforts to save wildlife, protect habitats and educate communities.

Keith Bildstein, the Sarkis Acopian Director of Conservation Science at the Sanctuary, says that Sue and her late husband Bob can be credited with the success of Hawk Mountain's long-term study on the American kestrel.

“Sue and Bob were always the backbone of the program's field efforts...cleaning the boxes in March, checking on their inhabitants in April and May, and banding chicks in June and July. When Bob passed away, Sue continued he work, and to say that she has made this study possible is not an overstatement," he explains.

"I sincerely congratulate her on this overdue recognition and look forward to working with her for a long, long time,” he adds.

During her lifelong commitment to kestrels, Sue estimates that she has banded more than 3,000 birds. Each summer she tends to the many nestboxes that surround the Sanctuary, banding, weighing and measuring nestlings, and working with Hawk Mountain biologists and trainees to collect and track data. She then spends the winters in Florida where she catches and bands adult kestrels near Fort Meyer's.

She also uses the kestrel as a model species to talk to school groups about wildlife conservation and has mentored hundreds of Hawk Mountain trainees from around the world. Recently, Sue oversaw the development of the American Kestrel Partnership, which has more than 650 partners and monitors more than 2,000 nests to better protect the species, and over the years, she and her late husband Bob have co-authored several scientific papers on their work.

The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund focuses on protecting wildlife and connecting kids and families with nature. Since 2004, Disney has honored more than 100 leaders around the world for their extraordinary conservation efforts.

For information on Disney’s commitment to conserve nature and a complete list of 2014 Conservation Hero Award recipients, visit www.disney.com/conservation.

 

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