Monday, August 10, 2015

Message From The Director

Although Bob Anderson is gone, the Raptor Resource Project is committed to continuing his work. We are dedicated to preserving and strengthening raptor populations, expanding participation in raptor conservation, fostering the next generation of preservationists, and educating people around the world about raptors and their habitats.

Our board met on Saturday, August 1st, to choose a new director and add additional board members. Bob wanted John Howe to succeed him as director.  John and Bob worked together on several projects, including the falcon cam installation and HD upgrades at Great Spirit Bluff, the Decorah cams, our bald eagle cam project with the Seneca Nation of Indians, and preparation for the Philippine Eagle jungle camera.  Bob was impressed by John's leadership and technical skills, his passion for using media to fascinate and motivate people, and his dedication to our mission. John will be a wonderful addition to the Raptor Resource Project and we welcome him as our new director. He will move Bob's legacy forward.

From left to right: David Lynch, John Dingley, Dave Kester, Laura Johnson, Neil Rettig, Brett Mandernack, Director John Howe. Not pictured: Board Chair Randy Christman, board members Jim Robison and Ken Mueller.
The Raptor Resource Project also added four new board members to the original five picked by Bob. Veterinarian Laura Johnson and film-maker Neil Rettig are our leads for carrying the Philippine Eagle Project forward, Dave Kester is deeply involved in our peregrine falcon banding and monitoring program, and David Lynch has been involved in a wide variety of projects, including eagle tracking, the kestrel nest box program, and social media. All nine of our board members were friends of Bob and are deeply committed to our mission. They will continue Bob's work, assuring that his vision guides us.

Message from the Director

John Howe
With the passing of Bob Anderson, renowned raptor expert and advocate, Raptor Resource Project friends and fans around the world are experiencing a profound loss. I want to thank all that shared their sentiments by cards or postings, or who traveled to Decorah to celebrate the life of a truly amazing man!  Bob was a visionary man, a humble man, and most of all a man with purpose.  He was an intelligent scientist, an expert raptor researcher, and breeder determined to help save the Peregrine falcon after decades of DDT use brought the species to the brink of extinction. Bob spent much of his life savings on Peregrine recovery efforts.  He challenged conventional ideas and developed an innovative program to release Peregrine falcons from the river bluffs where he found success in drawing the falcons back to their original nesting habitat.  He pioneered and perfected bird cams through his work with Excel Energy and RRP.  Bob also opened an educational window of awareness into the intimate daily lives of raptors for anyone to see, making it possible by partnering with an innovative company called Ustream.  His collaborative work with cinematographer Neil Rettig led to the installation of cameras in the famous cottonwood at the fish hatchery and the world famous Decorah Eagles!

What an incredible legacy Bob Anderson leaves behind, a legacy I am honored to have been chosen to move forward.  Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is John Howe; some of you may know me as GSBDweller.  I grew up in the scenic bluffs of the Mississippi River north of La Crescent, MN along Apple Blossom Scenic Drive.  Ironically, I never saw Peregrine falcons in the area growing up.  In 2004, Bob approached my father about installing a nest box on our family property.  He drew my father in to participate in his goal of returning falcons to this cliff that they inhabited decades ago.  The nest box has attracted falcons back each year since and our family, friends, and falcon enthusiasts band the young each spring.  I can’t tell you how rewarding it has been to work with Bob over the past five years.  It all started with a discussion at a banding event in 2011.  I commented to Bob “You have a wonderful bald eagle camera broadcasting to Ustream, but your life passion has been falcons. How would you like a falcon cam out on the bluffs of the mighty Mississippi?” Bob jumped at the chance to help my son Jonathon design and complete his Eagle Scout project.  It consisted of laying 1,000 feet of conduit and cables though the woods and he and Amy Ries did the hard part of hanging across the cliff and mounting the camera and cables to the nest box.  At the time, I thought - what kind of crazy people dare do this kind of work?  Now, after their expert training, I have been hanging around with them!

Bob was clear about his plans for the future.  We are committed to bringing those plans to reality while coming to a better understanding about the unpredictability of Nature.  We did not expect to lose the current Decorah cams to lightning and we sure had no idea that a storm would topple the current bald eagle nest (N2).  It is interesting that Bob understood that unpredictability and we were already preparing for a backup Decorah cam location before that unfortunate event.

We have an aggressive and exciting agenda being put into motion and the expertise of our long time and newly appointed board members will be harnessed.  Here are the first four items of Bob’s “Top 10” project list that we are moving forward with:

  1. Restoring the Decorah Eagle nest. Bob was very excited by Neil Rettig's suggestion to build a starter nest near the ruins of N2 to see if the eagles adopt it as their own. Neil will be leading this effort and it is truly a remarkable idea. Will they come if we build it? The question has implications for wildlife management far beyond the Decorah eagles.
  2. Establishing a new bald eagle nest cam in Decorah.  We anticipate a September installation of cameras in a beautiful oak tree in the vicinity of one of Iowa’s treasured trout streams.  There are challenges in getting this nest instrumented and “on-air”, but everything is falling into place for an new pair of eagles to introduce.
  3. Partnering with the Seneca Nation of Indians to establish a bald eagle cam at one of their active nest sites. This is a wonderful opportunity for the Seneca Nation to continue its heritage of educational outreach.  This eagle cam will be hosted on RRP’s Ustream site.
  4. Establishing a live Philippine Eagle Cam at a wild nest. Bob’s initial RRP work with the Philippine Eagle foundation and Neil Rettig led to the installation and broadcasting of a captive eaglet produced as part of the PEF breeding program.  That video footage is still posted on the RRP Ustream page. RRP is collaborating with Cornell Lab of Ornithology to install nest cams in the dwindling forest habitat of the Philippine Eagle.  We are very excited about the impact this project will have in educating the Philippine people and the world about an amazing creature that is facing an uncertain future.  Just like Bob’s falcon work, this project could be the catalyst for the next great conservation success!

Wild Philippine Eagle. Photo by Neil Rettig
Thanks to all of you for your past and present support as we start on a very exciting year of raptor research, education, and monitoring!  We will keep you posted on our progress.

John Howe

30 comments:

swands said...

Welcome, John and for telling us of the upcoming plans for the Raptor Resource Project. We look forward to following the upcoming changes and welcome you on board.

Gail Johnson said...

Welcome John...Congrats as the new Director.

Nan Carol Manley said...

Congratulations to John Howe as he continues to carry on for Bob. Best of luck to Laura,Neil, Dave and David. This is going to be an amazing group to carry on the RRP dream.

talktome said...

Welcome to you all, we are so happy you can continue this important work with these magnificent raptors.

Lisa Kazmier said...

Congrats. You have mighty big shoes to fill. I cannot imagine how those close to Bob can channel their grief when I am still trying to cope with it; I wish you all well, much luck and success.

melo55 moss said...

Good luck to all of you. I know it is going to be hard for awhile.

Barbara said...

John, thank you for taking over this tremendous role and for pushing forward on the RRP agenda. Bob would be proud in his choice for director. Please know that you have the full support of all raptor enthusiasts from around the world. I have had the opportunity to converse with two of the RRP staff (Amy Reissue and David Lynch) so I know you have a solid team standing with you. I look forward to seeing all that is to come.

SC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rosie said...

Thank you for giving us such a complete explanation of how RRP will move on after Bob's death. I feel ever so much better knowing what is planned. Congratulations to you and best of luck in carrying out these plans.
Rosie LaLonde

Pamela Wetzel said...

Bob Anderson's work will never be forgotten. And I'm sure your continuation of that work will meet the same standards Bob has set! Bless you all for caring about our wonderful raptors!

Elizabeth Phillips said...

Thanks so much for this report and for introducing us to John Howe. I had hoped that there were plans for the future but I should have known that Bob had the foresight to understand the need. We will miss him greatly but I know I speak for many others as committed to helping support RRP in the future.

Donna Dacy said...

Welcome John. I know how much faith Bob had in you and I know you will carry on and help fulfill his dreams. He chose you because he believed in you. Thank you to helping keep RRP alive.

Cindy Piacente said...

Welcome John. May you keep Bob's dream alive so that others can can also dream May RRP be strong and steady and continue this exceptional work.

Perleys said...

Congratulations on the new position and I am sure you will lead RFP to a great future. Thanks for the very thorough update! Sandy

Roxane Flamio said...

Congrats John ! thankyou for keeping the cams going in Decorah!i really hope you will keep our present pair of parents the top priority...Since we know them so well to me it would be very interesting if they got a starter nest!! Twiggy..♫

Darrel & Linda Ferguson said...

I look forward to getting to know youJohn and to see Bobs vision go forward. I will keep following and loving the raptors com my perch in Washington State.

Biba Imbault said...

Hello,
Congratulation on your new position John, thank you for information on future of Decorah. I wish you and to all new elected members best of luck. You have a excellent group of people at RFP!!!

SINCERELY,
Biserka Imbault
Los Angeles, Ca

Debbie said...

Welcome John! Thanks for the wonderful and exciting news that RRP is undertaking. I'm sure he is looking down with a big smile of approval. I, along with the world, stand behind you and RRP to continue Bob's vision.

Sincerely,
Debbie Kostolansky

shualatin said...

Congratulations, and welcome, John. It is a big relief to me to hear that people such as yourself are dedicated to continuing the life's work of Bob Anderson, and exciting to hear about the upcoming plans at RRP - it all sounds wonderful. Thank you to everyone involved!

Sincerely,
Holly Pilgrim

Jacki Granados said...

Welcome to the world wide family that Bob built. With our support and love we are
behind you and can't wait to see Mom & Dad again.
Jackie Granados
South Coast Oregon

Laura Coggeshall said...

Congratulations to you John and welcome. It has to be such an honor to be able to continue the work started by an amazing man - I am sure that Bob will continue to guide you and help RRP keep its message and goals strong. As an avid watcher, and as one who appreciates nature and all of her wonders, I am so excited to hear about the future plans, and send my most heart felt thanks to you and the other board members for keeping Bob's spirit and vision alive. Best of luck to you, and I can't wait to see our Decorah family again.

Best,
Laura Coggeshall
Aurora, Illinois

Jane said...

Congratulations and welcome to John and all the new Board members. What an all-star line-up! Bob left the raptors (and all their fans) in the very best of hands.

I can't help but wonder if Dad Decorah will drop by to rearrange Neil's stick placement...

Sherri said...

My heart has been so broken from all the losses....the cam, the nest and then Bob, that I stopped coming to the site to read about what might be next. I am happy to read the news about the nests and all the plans beyond....welcome aboard everyone, I again look forward to visiting here!

Sang Le said...

Where do we identify ourselves? Tish
Wow - if you build it will they come? Congratulations for such an amazing concept and the potential impact on wild life management in general. Thank you for letting us in on your future plans.

marby said...

From here. . .we must fly together more than ever.
Onward
and Upward.
~Marby Rufsvold (chatname shoshonemoonflower)

KESwan said...

Thank you so much for your dedication to this important work. I appreciate the update about exciting plans for the future. Best wishes!

Shar said...

Welcome John, I think we all agree that you have some might big shoes to fill. I am confident that our feathered family members going to thrive in your new position.

Say What said...

Lovely explanation of Bob's vision and it's support team. I now have an idea of your support of Bob's vision













Lovely explanation of your collective support of Bob's vision. Thank you for that. Your kindness is the strength that is the cause and affect of your feathered family members prosperity. And thank you for that too. xxoo









queentroll1955 said...

Cannot wait for your ideas and seeing our world famous eagles.. Welcome John to this worldwide wonderful resource and community of love of our nation bird.. In small town Iowa.. Hope you are as excited about this years upcoming babies.... Mary Retter from small town Iowa

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