The Conservation Award for 2011 was awarded to the Golden Eagle Project at the Annual Meeting of PSO in Bedford. The project goals are to monitor the migratory movements of eastern Golden Eagles along the migration corridors through selected Pennsylvania mountain ridges. The birds are fitted with a GPS telemetry device to allow remote monitoring of their movements in great detail. The highly precise information gathered over time can then be used to make scientific recommendations on the development of wind power to reduce the risk it poses to Golden Eagles and other migratory soaring birds of prey. Todd Katzner, Trish Miller, David Brandes, and Mike Lanzone accepted the award on behalf of the project.
“Todd Katzner is a Research Assistant Professor in the Division of Forestry and Natural Resources at West Virginia University and a co-founder of the wildlife telemetry company Cellular Tracking Technologies, LLC. Katzner received his B.A. from Oberlin College, his M.S. from the University of Wyoming for research on pygmy rabbits and Ph.D. from Arizona State University for work focused on ecology and conservation of eagles in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Today his research program focuses on conservation and ecology of birds of prey, especially eagles and vultures, in the USA and in central Asia. The golden eagle and wind energy work, in collaboration with the other awardees, is his most important project in North America. Katzner is also a co-editor and author of the book “The Eagle Watchers.”
David Brandes is an Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Lafayette College. In addition to teaching and research in hydrology and hydraulics, he has developed computer models of raptor migration, focusing on the interaction of wind and topography to simulate orographic lift used by golden eagles. This spring he also worked with scientists in Spain to model griffon vulture flight behavior near wind turbines. Dave is the founder of the Tussey Mountain Spring Hawkwatch near State College, and Chair of the Conservation Committee of HMANA. He began watching hawks at the age of 13 on the Allegheny Front in western Maryland.