Dr. Kurt and Dr. Jennifer Burnham will present Birds of the High Arctic: 28 Years of Avian Research in Greenland on Thursday, May 23 at 6:30PM at the Niabi Zoo. Photo: Kurt Burnham

COAL VALLEY, ILLINOIS (May 16, 2019) — While Niabi continues to bring conservationists from around the world to share the plight of species and habitats in peril, they also turn to experts in the Quad Cities to recognize their conservation work. On May 23, the husband-and-wife team of Dr Kurt and Dr Jennifer Burnham will present the results of long-term research on raptors, seabirds, and waterfowl from the High Arctic of northwest Greenland. Climate change is occurring at a rate 2-3x faster than the rest of the planet and has had a dramatic impact on the avian wildlife of our highest northern latitudes. The Burnhams will discuss these impacts along with the life-history of Gyrfalcons and Peregrine Falcons, migratory-strategies of Atlantic Puffins, and mercury-contamination of Arctic-breeding birds. 

Dr Jennifer Burnham is Associate Professor of Geography at Augustana College. She earned her PhD from the University Washington and has been working in Greenland since 2003. Her High Arctic research spans soil organic carbon-distribution, to methylmercury-contamination in birds, to biogeography studies of migratory-pathways of birds. Dr Kurt Burnham is President and Founder of the High Arctic Institute Inc. Kurt earned his PhD from the University of Oxford and has been studying birds in Greenland since 1991. His research includes long-term studies on the biology and ecology of Gyrfalcons and Peregrine Falcons and more recently has expanded to include work with seabirds, waterfowl, passerines, and shorebirds.

“As we look to bring conservation issues in to our regular discussions within our community, we don’t always have to go far to find passionate professionals to help drive those conversations,” said Curator of Conservation and Education Joel Vanderbush. Niabi has been building strong relationships with regional colleges and universities such as Augustana, Western Illinois, U of Dubuque, and more to become a conservation resource and to facilitate research opportunities.

Niabi Zoo’s Conservation & Science Speaker Series will feature Birds of the High Arctic: 28 Years of Avian Research in Greenland on Thursday, May 23 at 6:30PM. To RSVP and attend, visit www.NiabiZoo.com/Education/conservation-speakers. Zoo Members and college students can attend for free and Non-Members can make a donation of at least $8 to the Niabi Conservation Fund. RSVP is required for all attending. For more information, contact Curator of Conservation & Education, Joel Vanderbush at 309-799-3482 ext. 222 or jvanderbush@niabizoo.com.

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