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2018 Homer Campbell Award Given to Bob Altman

Bob Altman has worked for decades on the conservation of birds across the Pacific Northwest, with particular attention to species inhabiting grasslands and oak woodlands in western Oregon and Washington.

He was the first to spotlight the decline of Western Meadowlarks, Horned Larks, Vesper Sparrows, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Chipping Sparrows. He organized and conducted a survey of grassland bird species that is now a standard reference for researchers and conservationists working on these species. He initiated and coordinated a large number of bird conservation projects, a few of these include: reintroduction of Western Bluebirds to the San Juan Islands; a Lewis’s Woodpecker nestbox project; a Black Swift waterfall nest survey from northern California to central Alaska; a population survey of the local Slender-billed subspecies of White-breasted Nuthatch in oak woodlands of western Oregon; and Flammulated Owl conservation in the East Cascades and Ochoco Mountains region. His work, both research and advocacy, was a primary force behind the federal government’s decisions in 2001 to make the Streaked Horned Lark, a subspecies native to the Pacific Northwest, a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and in 2013 to list it as Threatened. He has continued work to revise the listing to Endangered, which would provide even greater protection for the lark. He has worked similarly for the Oregon Vesper Sparrow, crafting the recent petition by the American Bird Conservancy to list it as Endangered under the ESA. In the Corvallis area, he has worked with Greenbelt Land Trust and other organizations on the restoration of oak woodland and grassland habitat.

Bob has also brought together non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies to cooperate on conservation projects. For instance, he worked on Washington-Oregon Partners in Flight to enable cooperation between NGOs – including regional Audubon societies, Oregon Field Ornithologists, and the Klamath Bird Observatory – and government agencies including US Fish and Wildlife, the US Forest Service, and both the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife.

Bob has also worked proactively to engage landowners in conservation. Recently he contacted landowners and pushed for an initial biological assessment that led to a permanent conservation easement on a property in Lane County of 1200+ acres with high-quality oak savanna and woodland. This property hosts the largest known remaining population of Oregon Vesper Sparrows in the Willamette Valley.

He has also promoted birds and bird-watching to the public. For instance, his leadership helped launch the Oregon Cascades Birding Trail. This effort not only brought together conservation groups and regional tourism agencies to work toward sustainable ecotourism in Oregon, but also inspired the creation of a still-growing list of birding trails across the state.

For these reasons and others too numerous to list, the Audubon Society of Corvallis is honored to name Bob Altman as the recipient of the 2018 Homer Campbell Conservation Award.

 
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Audubon Society of Corvallis
PO Box 148
Corvallis, OR 97339
Email: Audubon.Corvallis@gmail.com