As part of the PIF Visioning Retreat in February 2022, Carol Beidleman provided a summary from the PIF Retrospective Team, looking to the past to inform the future. This Team, with Carol Beidleman as lead, included Carol Beardmore, Geoff Geupel, and John Alexander. Through meetings in 2020 and 2021, the group examined both the successes and challenges of PIF’s first 30 years.
Most impactful of PIF’s successes was providing direction and technical support for landbird conservation through developing guidance documents and other products. These included landbird conservation plans (state, regional, national and international), avian conservation assessment and population estimates databases, beneficial management practices, monitoring protocols, white papers, technical series, and content for the PIF website. PIF also developed effective outreach and engagement by providing leadership and support through a U.S. PIF National Coordinator, regional and state working groups, and PIF Committees, while remaining organizationally flat which encouraged broad participation. PIF was successful in influencing and integrating with efforts including NABCI, Bird Conservation Regions, Joint Ventures, full annual cycle conservation, and institutionalizing and expanding partnerships. Finally, PIF became a strong network through building relationships, providing assistance, creating impetus for projects, fostering an esprit de corps among interested and dedicated individuals, welcoming all and making it fun.
The PIF Retrospective Team also reflected on the challenges of PIF’s first 30 years. Work is still needed in institutionalizing capacity and representation, improving engagement and sustainability of international participation, filling gaps in organizational structure and partnerships, securing dedicated and supported leadership for the future, addressing funding needs, improving communications and tracking of efforts, and making PIF more relevant to new partners, audiences and perspectives. Lastly, in light of the recent sobering assessment of the loss of three billion birds, we haven’t adequately succeeded in rolling up PIF’s accomplishments from a population perspective, and our focus should be, and is, on how to address this urgent challenge most effectively.