Wildlife faculty member at MSU soars in avian conservation


By: Vanessa Beeson

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Posted: 5/4/2022

Wildlife faculty member at MSU soars in avian conservation Photo By: Beth Wynn

STARKVILLE, Miss. - A Mississippi State faculty member in the College of Forest Resources is being recognized by a premier ornithology organization for excellence in landbird conservation.

Kristine Evans, assistant professor in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, is one of three avian conservationists recognized in the Western Hemisphere with the prestigious Partners in Flight leadership award. Partners in Flight is a network of more than 150 partner organizations engaged in all facets of landbird conservation. Evans was honored recently during the 87th North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held virtually.

"Partners in Flight is one of the most comprehensive groups of professional avian conservationists in the nation. This award is a truly meaningful moment in my career," Evans said. "I feel honored and humbled to be selected by my peers."

Evans has been engaged in several projects throughout her career focused on avian conservation including finding ways to enhance bird communities in managed pine and grassland landscapes. As a scientist in MSU's Forest and Wildlife Research Center, she is a participant in the Tombigbee Forest Bird Partnership, a new initiative in Mississippi and Alabama that partners bird conservationists and the timber industry to raise awareness of the value of timberlands for birds.

She also regularly engages with the Southeast Conservation Adaptation Strategy, a large regional multiagency focus identifying places most primed for conservation efforts to support biodiversity and ecosystem health across the region for the next several years. She also has partnered to provide science support for the East Gulf Coastal Plain and Lower Mississippi Valley joint ventures promoting migratory bird conservation across multiple agencies and state lines.

Evans, who decided to be a wildlife biologist in kindergarten, always had a passion for birds, which she sees as a linchpin to broader conservation.

"Birds are excellent conservation ambassadors because they are so visible and familiar. People connect with them in their backyards, and a healthy bird community is a great indicator of a healthy ecosystem," she said.

"Dr. Evans' pioneering work on bird conservation and landscape ecology is shaping how biologists will manage populations and habitat long into the future. To be recognized with the Partners in Flight award by so many of her peers in federal, state, nongovernmental and academic organizations is a testament, not only to her great work, but also her personal and collaborative qualities that make her such a wonderful person to work with," said Andy Kouba, professor and head of MSU's Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture. "There is no higher recognition than being celebrated by your peers as a great partner."

For more on the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture in the College of Forest Resources, visit www.cfr.msstate.edu/wildlife. Learn about the MSU Forest and Wildlife Research Center at www.fwrc.msstate.edu.

MSU is Mississippi's leading university, available online at www.msstate.edu.


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