Steve Kress receives National Audubon honor

The Golden Egret Award is for a staff member who by his or her continuous and consistent effort over the years displays leadership qualities and is an example to other employees of helpful, supportive, caring, and dependable service.  The candidate must have a minimum of ten years service at Audubon.

Steve Kress

The 2010 Golden Egret Award has been awarded to Steve Kress, Vice President, Bird Conservation, Seabird Restoration, ME

Steve is known by some as “the puffin guy,” others as Audubon’s rock star scientist, and others as that humble but passionate protector of seabirds and a great believer in the power of education.

Steve has had a long and distinguished career with Audubon.  He is internationally known and celebrated and has produced conservation results that are legendary not only in Audubon, but far beyond our borders.  Steve doesn’t just save birds — he’s a passionate educator who inspires and empowers others. Steve, with his 30-plus years of directing the Seabird Restoration Program, continues to demonstrate a record of leadership, team building, and financial ingenuity that is remarkable to all those who work with him.

After starting a small field program on one island, he has now grown the program to include seven Audubon-managed islands, where more than 8,000 pairs of mixed Terns and 1,000 pairs of Puffins nest each summer. Steve is a master of innovation, inventing ways to solve problems that may not have been used before, while building leadership among others who work with him.  For example, since he started his work with puffins and seabirds he has trained more than 500 college students who have served as “seabird island stewards.”  Many of these interns have gone on to successful careers in conservation, cherishing their unique experiences with the “puffin project” and Steve Kress.

Steve is not only a role model for so many of us at Audubon, but is truly an inspiration to anyone who cares about conservation and building the next generation of leaders.

Steve is known to his colleagues as having a wonderful sense of humor, and is thoughtful, wise, and an entrepreneurial leader who continues to create new opportunities that grow and promote the Audubon mission.  Since the late 1980’s more than 75,000 people have participated in this Audubon-sponsored venture.  With every trip, Steve and his team of interpreters inform, inspire, and entertain future conservation constituents who often go on to be Audubon members and supporters.

Steve has written books about birds, bird watching, and gardening for birds and wildlife.  And he’s organized a cadre of highly-motivated volunteers and staff who are currently helping to restore Hog Island programming and operations for new generations.  And the list could go on and on.

Steve is not only a role model for so many of us at Audubon, but is truly an inspiration to anyone who cares about conservation and building the next generation of leaders.

Video captures the spirit of Hog Island

Famed videographer Lang Elliott has produced a new 6-minute video about the ornithology and teen birding session at the Audubon Camp in Maine on Hog Island.

Elliott and co-videographer Martyn Stewart capture the spirit of the legendary camp which will celebrate its 75th anniversary next summer.

The video features well-known birders Kenn Kaufman, Scott Weidensaul, Greg Budney, Sara Morris and Steve Kress. Lang will join the field ornithology instructors for the 2011 Hog Island program.

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News from Egg Rock

In Puffin Project’s 30th year of working to restore the Egg Rock puffin colony, they tallied a total of 59 breeding pairs – a 13% increase since 2002. Egg Rock researchers, led by supervisor Ellen Peterson tallied a record high count of 101 individuals and an impressive fledging success of 0.86 chicks per pair.

Since most of the Egg Rock puffins wear numbered leg bands, observers discover detailed histories about puffin mating habits. For example, puffins are typically very faithful to their burrow and usually to their mate from one year to the next. Puffin Y54 (a 26-year-old male transplanted from Newfoundland in 1977) holds the record for retaining the same burrow: 22 years!

Eastern Egg Rock continues to host the largest Roseate Tern colony in the Gulf of Maine, as well as the largest Laughing Gull colony (1,458 pairs). For more info visit: www.projectpuffin.org.

2003 Eastern Egg Rock Nest Totals

  • Atlantic Puffins: 59 pairs
  • Roseate Terns: 164 pairs
  • Arctic Terns: 77 pairs
  • Common Terns: 992 pairs