American Bird Conservancy announced on January 24 that George Fenwick, the organization’s founder and president, is stepping down.
Fenwick said the decision to leave had not been an easy one but that the time felt right to take on a new challenge. “ABC is flourishing in all its programs,” he said. “The best time to change leadership is when the ship is steady.”
ABC partners with BirdWatching magazine on the popular column “Eye on Conservation,” which appears in every issue of the magazine. The column describes the efforts of ABC and its many partners to conserve birds throughout the Western Hemisphere.
According to ABC, the group has conserved nearly a million acres of habitat in more than 70 reserves for the rarest and most at-risk species, including Brazil’s stunning Araripe Manakin and Stresemann’s Bristlefront, as well as declining migratory species like Wood Thrush and Golden-winged Warbler.
The organization continues to work to keep Hawaii’s native seabirds and honeycreepers from extinction, and it has supported habitat restoration on a massive scale through the planting of more than 3.5 million trees in reserves and communities in Peru, Ecuador, and elsewhere.
“It is not an exaggeration to say that George revolutionized bird conservation in the Americas when he started the fledgling ABC in the 1990s,” said John W. Fitzpatrick, director of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
“With his passion and commitment, he’s turned ABC into a world-class conservation organization. The thing that characterizes ABC is that it’s about real conservation — in real places and concerning issues of real importance to bird populations — with measurable results.”
The organization has engaged Koya Leadership Partners, a national executive search firm, to identify and recruit a new president. A spokesman says the organization hopes to have a new president in place by summer 2017.