The Houston Endowment, the largest philanthropy in Texas, has contributed $100,000 to the operational support of the Gulf Coast Bird Observatory. The funds will be used to augment membership dues and other grants and donations received by GCBO.
GCBO is the only organization dedicated to protecting all stopover habitat along the Gulf of Mexico and the migratory birds dependent upon it. Many birds in North America migrate between their breeding grounds in North America and their wintering grounds in South and Central America. For the birds in the eastern part of North America, this migration involves getting around or across the Gulf of Mexico twice each year. Birds spend up to one-third of their lives in migration and 85 percent of bird mortality occurs during migration.
Birds lead a dangerous life and humans make it more treacherous with ill-considered development, deforestation and other destruction of habitat. This is especially true along the Gulf Coast, the single most important area for eastern migrating birds. They must rest after their 600-mile, 18-hour trip across the Gulf.
Birds play a critical role in human survival through their role in insect control, pollination, their place in the food chain as both predators and prey, their aesthetic beauty and song, and as indicators of the health of our own environment.
“We are so grateful to the Houston Endowment. This grant allows us to do our conservation work this year without fear of interruption,” Cecilia Riley, GCBO executive director, said.
The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory engages in a three-pronged approach to avian conservation: conducting scientific research, protecting habitat and doing educational outreach.
Riley also said that the Houston Endowment grant does not let other donors off the hook if they care about birds and the environment. “Conservation is expensive. The economic recovery is not yet obvious and corporations and foundations are still cautious. Responses to other grant requests have been mixed,” Riley said. Some of our corporate partners are still sitting on the sidelines. Our work is more dependent than ever upon individual donors. Migratory birds need the financial support of everyone along the Gulf Coast. But the Houston Endowment grant will make a huge difference in this difficult year.”
The Gulf Coast Bird Observatory is a 501(c)(3) organization. Its mission is to protect birds and their habitats around the Gulf of Mexico. GCBO is recognized as the authority on Gulf of Mexico bird conservation. It accomplishes its mission by building innovative and sustainable partnerships with communities, educators, governments, industries, universities, individuals and fellow conservation groups.