Hawk Mountain streamlines Science Department with promotions and new hire

Posted on June 25, 2019 in Science

This spring, Hawk Mountain revamped the Conservation Science Department with a series of internal promotions and an addition of a new research biologist to the team. These personnel changes have better streamlined the department and will expand the Sanctuary’s research efforts moving forward.

Following Dr. Laurie Goodrich’s promotion to Director of Conservation Science in January, the rest of the science staff shifted position titles, also allowing for the hire of a new research biologist. All positions are housed in the Sanctuary’s Acopian Center for Conservation Learning.

Dr. Jean-Francois Therrien, formerly a Senior Research Biologist, became the newly established Senior Scientist and Graduate Study Director position. Therrien joined the Sanctuary in 2011 as Senior Research Biologist, and has been leading research projects and overseeing graduate students studying raptor ecology worldwide for over 12 years. He assumed a key role in several conservation science initiatives including Hawk Mountain’s world-renown traineeship program, the long-term American kestrel nest box research, and helping with annual migration count. Therrien has also been leading an international research project on arctic raptors and is a main player in Hawk Mountain’s research initiatives on vultures worldwide.  

David Barber, formally a Research Biologist, was promoted to the Senior Research Biologist position. This is a core science position with primary responsibility for collecting data in the field and managing our natural history databases, including our long-term raptor, bird, and butterfly counts and general natural history. Additionally, Barber is proficient in GIS mapping and analysis techniques, which is vital in studying raptor movement ecology, training graduate students and trainees, and providing education materials. Barber has been with Hawk Mountain since 1999, will continue to use his knowledge of the Mountain and its wildlife to also assist land management goals and public programming. 

Most recently, local educator and dedicated, long-time Hawk Mountain volunteer Bracken Brown has joined the team as a Biologist-Naturalist. Brown grew up in the shadow of Hawk Mountain, and since his childhood has been engaged in the Sanctuary’s local trapping and monitoring projects, including the American kestrel nest box program, new world vulture research, and seasonal counts and surveys. In this new position, Brown will be able to continue his efforts full time. He will assist in natural history monitoring and long-term research, conduct migration counts and surveys, and maintain avian and GIS databases. Additionally, he will help with volunteer recruitment and public outreach. Brown adds another set of very capable hands to the Sanctuary science team.

When Bracken accepted this opportunity, he described it like “a merlin crossing in front of the lookout, something you always hope for.” With his addition to the staff and the adjustment of responsibilities amongst the department, the Conservation Science team is set up for success, soaring forward.