Collaborating for a Bird Safe Campus

By the Mt. Hood Community College Bird Safety Action Team

Photo of MHCC's Bird Safety Action Team
MHCC’s Bird Safety Action Team. From left to right: Troy Builta, Building Information Specialist, Facilities Management; Susan J. Spencer, Instructor – Anatomy & Physiology, Science; Mark Peterson, Faculty Librarian; Walter Shriner, Instructor – Biology, Science; Heather White, Library Technical Services and OER Coordinator

Having read the recent article “Decline of the North American Avifauna”¹ which explores and documents the alarming loss of migratory birds over the last 40 years (the U.S. and Canada have lost nearly 3 billion birds, a massive reduction in abundance involving hundreds of species, from beloved backyard songbirds to long-distance migrants), Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) Library Technical Services and OER Coordinator Heather White decided to take action.

She has organized the Bird Safety Action Team, which operates under the oversight of the campus Infrastructure Council. This team is composed of herself as well as Library, Biology, and Anatomy & Physiology faculty, which is working with various relevant campus stakeholders and governing bodies in order to make the entire campus a safer environment for both the birds that call our campus home, and for those that visit during their annual migrations.

The team’s short term goals are to raise awareness and gather data from our campus community so we can have anti-collision bird-proofing on highest risk windows by February 2020, in time for the spring migration season. Long term goals include getting the entire campus certified as Bird Safe, Bee Safe, Tree Safe, and maybe certified by the Audubon Society as a “Backyard Wildlife Habitat” through their Institutional program.

In 2016, MHCC became the first Salmon-Safe certified community college in the country.

As this initiative continues, the action team will be working with faculty and students from a variety of programs, including Biology and Integrated Media, in order to implement bird safety solutions such as professional grade anti-collision window treatments, hosting nature-scaping workshops for the east county community, and habitat restoration projects across campus.

As the site of two Sandy River tributaries (Beaver and Kelly creeks), Mt. Hood Community College’s 212-acre Gresham Campus serves an integral role in the encompassing 500-square-mile Sandy River basin. The campus has more than 40 acres of forested lands, as well as wetlands, a 1.62 acre pond, and is home to several endangered species as well as large numbers of migratory birds and waterfowl. The unique nature of our campus provides the Bird Safety Action Team with an opportunity to have a significant impact on east county bird populations through local campus efforts.

This project is a wonderful example of how applied information literacy skills, along with the cross-pollination of skill sets and areas of expertise from a variety of discipline areas, can be utilized to great positive effect on campus and in the local community.

More information about this project can be found at the following libguide:

¹Rosenberg, Kenneth V, Adriaan M. Dokter, Peter J. Blancher, John R. Sauer, Adam C. Smith, Paul A. Smith, Jessica C. Stanton, Arvind Panjabi, Laura Helft, Michael Parr, and Peter P. Marra. “Decline of the North American Avifauna.” Science. 366.6461 (2019): 120-124. Print.


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