PRBO Conservation Science IV
Founded in 1965, the PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) is an award-winning bird ecology research organization that has created management tools and field training programs to advance biodiversity conservation on land and sea. PRBO’s scientists work in the field, monitoring and analyzing the ecosystems of wildlife, principally birds. PRBO’s work products guide government and private sector agencies in making scientifically sound decisions that optimize conservation efforts and money spent. Demand for PRBO’s unique contribution to environmental decisions and policies are strong and growing. PRBO has doubled its staff since 2000 and expects this growth rate to continue.
PRBO is at a critical transition point. In the next several years, it could become a major player in global environmental science and policy-making. An entity of that scale requires vision, leadership, and funding, as well as an internal organization appropriately structured and managed. At the same time, staff members want to maintain PRBO’s core values, which include a strong sense of community.
The ACT team facilitated a series of mission-values workshops with PRBO’s senior staff and several Board members in the first phase of the project. The workshops and follow-up discussions brought into sharp focus that pursuing sound, objective science is the core of the organization. The workshop participants affirmed the mission statement: “PRBO - working to conserve birds, other wildlife, and their ecosystems through objective, innovative scientific research and outreach.”
A major outcome of the workshops was to significantly expand PRBO’s vision statement. The vision statement adopted in 2000 was to ensure that “bird conservation science, led by PRBO, is an integral part of habitat management in the West. Following the workshops, PRBO’s expanded vision is that over the next ten years, PRBO Conservation Science will become one of the world’s leading avian research organizations providing ecosystem data, analyses, tools, and applications that will advance global conservation effectiveness.”
Once clear commitment to the mission and vision was established, the ACT team and PRBO’s staff and Board proceeded to develop strategic priorities for the organization.
The ACT team interviewed and surveyed a large sample of PRBO’s stakeholders, using the mission and vision statements to guide inquiries. Based on that input and its own observations, the team developed recommendations organized into five categories:
- Develop strategic programs proactively. PRBO’s research programs comprise many projects of local, parochial focus, some of regional focus and a few of global focus. ACT’s recommendation is that over the next decade the organization should define a small number of large-scale issues and align substantially all of its research with those issues.
- Enhance and expand scientific excellence. These recommendations relate to further developing the scientific capabilities necessary for projects of greater scope, greater complexity, and increased engagement with the highest levels of multi-disciplinary scientists internationally.
- Invest in informatics. The ACT report incorporates by reference the Informatics Vision statement of PRBO’s Data Committee and urges the organization to invest resources in informatics development.
- Strengthen organizational assets and structure. These recommendations relate to strengthening the Board of Directors and the Science Advisory Committee and to organizing the internal structure of PRBO to be more supportive of large-scale, multi-disciplinary projects.
- Get the word out. This addresses the need for an effective communications program that integrates marketing, public relations, publishing, and membership. Recommendations relate to the development of an overall communications strategy, working with other organizations, advocacy for PRBO’s science, and education.
Note: As of June 5, 2013, PRBO changed their name to Point Blue Conservation Science.