Meet Pam Toschik, Chief of Migratory Birds
Today we’re hearing from Pam Toschik, our new regional chief for the Division of Migratory Birds. I recently had a chance to ask her several questions about her past experience and what’s she’s looking forward to in her new position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
What is your professional background?
I have a passion for bird conservation that started at a young age. My grandfather was a wildlife artist, hunter and conservationist, and his paintings and sculptures of birds filled my home. I attended Audubon Expeditions Institute, learning about consensus decision making, and communities and conservation challenges across the United States. During my undergraduate studies at Cornell University I researched the impacts of contaminants on waterfowl habitat to inform management at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. My graduate work looked at how contaminants and habitat availability impacted on ospreys in the mid-Atlantic. As a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow, I worked on Antarctic policy with the National Science Foundation. I then went to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to work on international policy on Antarctic policy, trade and the environment. I also worked with international teams to prevent bycatch of seabirds and to develop large-scale marine protection initiatives in Antarctica. I am proud to now call myself a part of the migratory birds team here in the northeast.
What are you goals as the new Chief?
My primary goal is to support the outstanding team of people, including our Service staff and our many partners, working to manage, protect and understand migratory birds in the northeast. I will work with the team to continue their great work to address key conservation issues impacting migratory birds in the northeast region. Our partners in other programs of the Service, other U.S. government agencies, states, and non-governmental organizations are critically important to our success in conserving migratory birds, and as such, supporting and fostering these already strong partnerships is a priority for me.
How will you bring your international partnership experience to the program?
My experience in international policy gives me strong sense of the importance of consensus building to identify and achieve shared objectives. Migratory birds know no political boundaries, and therefore conservation requires successful regional and international partnerships. Many migratory birds in the northeast region spend the majority of their year in migration and wintering areas across North and South America, making international cooperation essential for effective conservation.
What priorities of the MB program are you most excited about sharing?
Conservation that works! As the State of the Birds 2014 reported, the northeast region’s migratory bird team and our partners have a successful track record of identifying conservation priorities and working with partners to address them. Some of our top priorities right now include:
- implementing landscape scale conservation
- implementing the Atlantic flyway shorebird conservation business strategy
- supporting strategic habitat conservation through bird joint ventures and partnerships
- supporting habitat and conservation through federal grant programs
- connecting with urban youth and engage people with nature
- supporting conservation of petitioned/listed species through full life-cycle planning
- supporting and informing decision making regarding energy development
- providing high quality public service through permit issuance and compliance
- looking to the future to identify future needs and priorities.
We are excited to have Pam leading our migratory bird team. Welcome Pam!