20 Memorable Events for 20 Memorable Years
Mark D. Gould Lecture Series—
The Passenger Pigeon: Lessons for Today from an Extinction a Century Ago
by David Blockstein, Senior Scientist, National Council for Science & the Environment
Swan Hall, Upper College Road, URI, Kingston.
The story of the passenger pigeon is unlike that of any other bird. With a likely population between 3 and 5 billion, it was the most abundant bird in North America and probably the world. Yet human exploitation drove this species to extinction over the course of a few decades.
Twenty-fourteen marks the centenary of this extraordinary extinction. Project Passenger Pigeon will mark this anniversary and promote the conservation of species and habitat, strengthen the relationship between people and nature, and foster the sustainable use of natural resources. The project aims to engage a broad audience through a documentary film, a new book on passenger pigeons, this website, social media, curricula, and a wide range of exhibits and programming for people of all ages.
Dr. Blockstein is a leader of Project Passenger Pigeon. Dr. Blockstein has a B.S. in wildlife ecology from the University of Wisconsin and a M.S. and Ph.D. in ecology from the University of Minnesota. He has conducted research on conservation of tropical pigeons and doves and on population and community ecology of forest birds. He is the author of the Birds of North America account of the extinct Passenger Pigeon. Dr. Blockstein is the founding chair of the Ornithological Council, an association of North America’s professional societies that provide scientific information about birds to policymakers and represents the interests of ornithologists in Washington, DC.
Dr. Blockstein joined the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) in 1990 and served as its first Executive Director until 1993. He has worked on a wide range of science and policy issues including increasing the representation of minorities in science, climate change education, mechanisms to improve the linkage between science and decisionmaking on environmental issues and electronic processes to communicate scientific information on the environment. He has delivered more than 50 public lectures and more than 20 scientific papers and is a frequent contributor to both technical and popular literature about science and environmental policy. In 2008 he received the American Institute of Biological Sciences Distinguished Service Award. Among all his other services to science and education, he also serves on the RINHS Board of Advisors.