Mass Audubon Global Conservation Efforts Timeline

Bill Gette lecturing at Hill Bank in Belize by Dave Larson

1950s Mass Audubon's Hatheway School of Science and Education hosts ornithologists from the United Kingdom, Holland, and Germany to do behavioral studies and lecture on bird ecology at Drumlin Farm.
1969 Mass Audubon's International Natural History Travel Program is founded, which contributes to global research and conservation efforts.
1980 Coastal Waterbird Program (CWP) staff tries to discover the unknown wintering range of the roseate tern believed to be in Guyana and Brazil. (the staff returns in 1992).
1981 British Honduras becomes an independent country and changes its name to Belize. With the country's new status, several national parks are created.
1982 Christopher Leahy, who currently holds the Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology at Mass Audubon, first visits Mongolia (then known officially as the Mongolian People's Republic and to much of the western world as Outer Mongolia) and is astonished by its spectacular natural wonders.
1983 Mass Audubon sponsors its first tour to Mongolia (including Siberia). It was a great adventure, but the Soviet travel system was too restrictive to return.
1984 Mass Audubon is asked to provide financial aid to the struggling and all-volunteer Belize Audubon Society, which was charged with managing the country's park system. In November, Mass Audubon made the first of many donations.
1985-present Mass Audubon leads natural history tours to Belize, introducing participants to the marvelous reefs, ruins, tropical forests, and wildlife while supporting the Belizean ecotourism industry.
1988 Mass Audubon forms a nonprofit Belizean organization, Programme for Belize (PfB), with the goal of permanently protecting more than 150,000 acres of tropical forest in northwestern Belize. PfB now protects 260,000 acres.
1989 First of 3 exchanges takes place with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in the United Kingdom to compare best practices. Founded around the same time as Mass Audubon, the RSPB is one of the largest conservation organizations in the world.
1990 Domination of Mongolia by the USSR ends and the country begins a rapid transition to a democratic form of government and a market economy.
1992 CWP staff discovers the wintering ground of roseate terns in Suriname, South America.
1990s Mass Audubon supports land protection, carbon sequestration, and sea turtle tagging programs on Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica.
1993 Chris Leahy returns to Mongolia to help scout potential for ecotourism. The 3-week adventure explores remote forests, steppes, lakes, and deserts that few Western eyes had seen. As a result of this scouting expedition, Mass Audubon and the fledgling company Nomadic Expeditions offers the first broad-based natural history tours to sample the major ecosystems of Mongolia.
1996 Programme for Belize participates in one of the first-ever international carbon sequestration projects.
1998 Mass Audubon begins to raise endowment funds for Programme for Belize in order to ensure the long-term protection of its wildlife reserve, the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area.
1999 Mass Audubon works with the World Land Trust to preserve 17,000 acres of the Patagonian steppe habitat, including coastline, in Argentina.
2003 Mass Audubon begins a partnership with the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE) to protect land and marine resources in southern Belize.
2004 Joppa Flats begins the International Intern Program, in which interns from Latin America and elsewhere come to Newburyport, Massachusetts to learn about North American birds, participate in best-practice models of bird conservation and education, master conversational English, and strengthen Joppa Flats' relationship with international conservation organizations.
2007 Joppa Flats launches Certificate Program in Bird Ecology in Belize to educate naturalist guides and teachers about the fundamentals of ornithology, leadership skills (especially for leading birders from North America), and bird conservation.
2009 Mass Audubon launches a Mongolian conservation partnership with Nomadic Expeditions, Mongolia's premier tour operator and expedition outfitter. The program focuses on ecotourism, environmental education, interpretive publications, green building design, and earth-friendly operations.
2009 Mass Audubon creates the Belize Conservation Fund to support the conservation work in Belize, including the Programme for Belize (PfB) and the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE).
2010 CWP partners with the Canadian Wildlife Service at Sable Island, Nova Scotia, to study post-breeding roseate terns.
2010-present The Belize Conservation Fund assists Programme for Belize (PfB) in renovating and expanding its ecotourism facilities in Belize, both at the La Milpa Lodge and the Hill Bank Lodge.
2013-present Previously undisturbed land on the boundaries of the Programme for Belize properties are sold to farmers, clear cut, and burned, threatening PfB's borders.