Melinda Pruett-Jones, Executive Director

Melinda Pruett-Jones applies her decades of experience leading mission-based conservation and science organizations to advance AOS’s vision for ornithology. Her previous roles include Executive Director of Chicago Wilderness, VP for Applied Research at Chicago Zoological Society/ Brookfield Zoo, and Director of Major Gifts at The Field Museum. Melinda also has a research background in the ecology and population biology of birds.

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Crystal Ruiz, Director of Operations & Administration

Crystal joined AOS in March 2015 and holds a BS/BA degree in accounting and Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential. Prior to AOS, Crystal worked as an administrator at a regional-based environmental non-profit and as an international accountant in a private firm. She enjoys looking at the big picture and figuring out how to successfully roll out programs while keeping the lights on and people smiling. Photo by KayBee Photos.

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Rebecca Heisman, Communications Specialist

Rebecca joined AOS full-time in January 2019 after four years as an independent contractor. Her experiences prior to her role with AOS include working as an ornithology field assistant in Canada and Australia, leading environmental education programs in Georgia, Wisconsin, and Oregon, and writing about conservation for publications including Audubon and Sierra Magazine.

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Chris Mulvaney, Member Services & AMS Coordinator

chris mulvaney photo

Chris joined AOS as in independent contractor in 2017 and transitioned to a full-time role with the Society in January 2019. Previously, he served thirteen years with Chicago Wilderness, a regional conservation alliance of more than 200 organizations, where he helped to foster partnerships, facilitate regional biodiversity recovery strategies, and develop and monitor metrics toward collective impact.

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Mark Penrose, Managing Editor

Mark originally served as managing editor for The Auk under three editors: Kimberly Smith, Spencer Sealy, and Michael Murphy. After a break, he rejoined the newly established joint publication of The Auk: Ornithological Advances and The Condor: Ornithological Applications in 2014. Over the years, Mark has worked on everything from journal management to design and layout to typesetting. He is a Jersey boy and a long-suffering Jets fan.

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    From the field

    I also use small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS, aka drones) in my work in conservation as well as in work for the electric industry unrelated to conservation. Drones can cause much less disturbance than traditional methods when checking the nests of raptors. Drones can also be used to install line markers to reduce avian collisions, to inspect nests for entanglement hazards, or to quantify wildlife. I even get to fly drones in high voltage environments where a person would be killed if they entered! It's been fun taking over the AOS Instagram account this week — if you have questions about my work, you can reach me at jdwyer@edmlink.com! #birds #ornithology #science #conservation #wildlife #drones #powerlines
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A big thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer for his posts this week! If you're an AOS member and would like to be featured here, please send us a message.The Avian Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), which I posted about earlier this week, is just one way of addressing avian collisions with power lines. Other methods involve “line marking,” which uses attachments on wires to increase line visibility. Unfortunately, these methods are not as reliable as we would like. In the attached photos, a Green-winged Teal in Colorado, a sparrow in Colorado, a sparrow in Wyoming, a warbler in California, and a Ring-billed Gull in California illustrate the range of species and habitats where collisions occur. #ornithology #birds #science #wildlife #conservation #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]Avian electrocutions can be prevented. Electrocutions can cause power outages, damage expensive equipment, start wildfires, and violate state and federal conservation laws. I tend to emphasize the first three concerns when working with utilities because unplanned outages, equipment replacement, and wildfire controls or restitution can be used in sound business cases for investing in avian electrocution mitigation regardless of the political climate. In the attached photos, an electrocuted Black-billed Magpie in Idaho (burned feet), Common Raven in California (burned beak), Bald Eagle in Colorado (burned neck and back), and Great Horned Owl in Arizona (burned wing) illustrate the range of species and habitats where electrocutions occur. All photos by me. #ornithology #birds #conservation #science #wildlife
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]I’ve had great opportunities to work in avian conservation internationally in Africa, Canada, the Dominican Republic, the Falkland Islands (Malvinas), Hungary, and Spain. In these photos, a Griffon Vulture in South Africa feeds in front of a power line (out of image frame) where numerous vultures have been electrocuted, a Ridgeway’s Hawk in the Dominican Republic jumps through the air gap around a power line to land on a conductor cover installed to prevent avian electrocutions, and an electrocuted Common Buzzard and Griffon Vulture can be seen on pylons. All photos by me. #ornithology #birds #science #conservation #wildlife #raptors #birdsofprey #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]In addition to my research, I give back by contributing to the leadership of the Raptor Research Foundation. I am the current Chair of the Conservation Committee, the former (and founding) Chair of the Code of Conduct Committee, a former Chair (and current member) of the Scientific Committee, and a former Board Member. I’m also an Associate Editor for the Journal of Raptor Research (JRR), and right now I’m working on a special issue of JRR focused on raptors’ interactions with power lines. Here are some photos of my experiences handling and banding raptors, by Angela Dwyer, Melissa Landon, and myself. #ornithology #science #birds #conservation #wildlife #raptors #birdsofprey
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]In addition to having a peer-reviewed scientific article on the Avian Collision Avoidance System published in The Condor (see my last post!), I was lucky enough to publish an article about it in an electric industry trade magazine. Though not always emphasized in academia, encouraging communications with industry can have important conservation implications! #ornithology #birds #science #wildlife #conservation #scicomm #sandhillcrane #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]I was part of the team that developed the Avian Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), described in a recent publication in The Condor. This system shines UV lights on power lines to make them more visible to Sandhill Cranes, and tests showed that it reduces crane collisions with power lines by 98%. The video clip included in this post shows what can happen when cranes encounter power lines WITHOUT a system like ACAS in place. Photos by me, video by Laura McHale. #ornithology #birds #science #sandhillcrane #wildlife #conservation #powerlines
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[Thank you to #AOSMember James Dwyer, who's taking over our account this week — keep following along!]
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