Affiliate of the Week: Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña

In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our Puerto Rico affiliate, Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña, and their commitment to wildlife.

Logo SOPI

Who We Are

Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña, Inc., (SOPI) founded in 1995, is a non-profit NGO dedicated to the appreciation, study and conservation of birds in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. SOPI is recognized as an independent authority and objective resource regarding the island’s avian fauna.

What We Do

SOPI’s mission is to promote the preservation, conservation, restoration and sustainable management of important areas for birds. SOPI members actively participate in data collection for bird studies and provide technical and scientific based alternatives for actions that can impact bird populations. They focus on three main areas for their conservation work:

  • Frequent monitoring on Important Bird Areas (IBA’s) in Puerto Rico
    • Christmas Bird Counts
    • Caribbean Water Birds Census
    • World Shorebird Counts
    • Assisting on local surveys regarding species of concern like the Elfin Wood Warbler, Bicknell’s Thrush and Sharp-shinned Hawk.
  • Education
    • Endemic Bird Festival (April 22 to May 22)
    • International Migratory Bird Day, celebrated annually on the second Saturday of October
    • Certified Schoolyard Habitats
      • Recently, the certification of Luis Felipe Crespo High School as a Schoolyard Habitat has led to the creation of an on-going school project called “Bosque Aula” (School Forest) in which a one-acre area will be used as an interpretive trail and living biology lab area.
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School forest. Photo by SOPI

  • Clean Water Act:
    • SOPI is currently working on a legal campaign requesting the Puerto Rico Planning Board, Land Authority and the Natural Resources and Environmental Department of Puerto Rico (DRNA) to comply with the terms of 314 Act, a local legislation passed in December 1998. SOPI is looking to get total protection for the Caño Tiburones wetland area, the biggest estuarine wetland of the island, which those agencies failed to protect by declaring only half of its 7,000 acres as a reserve. This wetland is home to more than 240 species of native and migratory birds, two-thirds of the island’s list. Species of national concern like the whimbrel and bobolink are among the migratory species that use this area.

Making a National Impact

Many bird species, such as the American redstart and the black-throated blue warbler migrate from mainland United States to the Caribbean area. Recently, SOPI established the Cambalache Forest Ornithological Center in one of the most important forests on the Island, Cambalache State Forest. This center has become SOPI’s operational base for education and bird watching walks. It operates under a Memo of Understanding (MOU) with the Puerto Rico Natural Resources and Environmental Department. This center has helped facilitate SOPI’s work as one of the providers for the Puerto Rico Education Department program, “Contacto Verde.”

Elfin-woods warbler, one of the birds helped by SOPI. Photo by Gloria Archilla

Get Involved

Learn more about SOPI’s activities by emailing: actividades.sopipr@gmail.com

Become a SOPI member by contacting: membresia.sopipr@gmail.com

Connect with SOPI

Connect with Sociedad Ornitológica Puertorriqueña to get their latest news and keep up with their conservation efforts through Facebook, Twitter, or by visiting their webpage.

 

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