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What Birds Can Tell Us About Conservation

A TNC volunteer and a Kenyan student are applying a novel approach to measuring river health.


bronze sunbird

Volunteers are critical contributors to The Nature Conservancy’s conservation work. They help build and maintain trails. They work to identify and remove invasive plants. They are community scientists who count migrating fish. They range from students to retirees to Chapter trustees.


And then there’s Dave Courtemanch. Since retiring from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) in 2012, Courtemanch has been an extraordinary volunteer with TNC Maine. His work is so important and consistent that he is recognized as a full-time staff member and holds a title: Freshwater Science and Policy Specialist. It’s no surprise, then, that Courtemanch has been instrumental in applying an exciting new approach to monitoring the effects of conservation strategies—a “biological condition gradient.”




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