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About Us • About Us • How You Can Help

In North America we often take for granted the ease of obtaining resources needed for field work. In many of our neighboring islands of the Caribbean and in Latin America those resources are difficult to acquire, if not impossible.

Although we share migrant bird populations, monitoring and management strategies are much better funded in the United States. If we want to protect these birds, we need to recognize the need for international partnerships.

Optics for the Tropics was formed to facilitate partnerships between research and conservation groups in the wintering and breeding grounds.

On May 11, 2010, government officials from Canada, Mexico, and the United States, on behalf of the landbird initiative, Partners in Flight (PIF), released the report, Saving Our Shared Birds: Partners in Flight Tri-National Vision for Landbird Conservation.

Saving Our Shared (SOS) Birds is the latest effort by PIF to help species at risk and keep common birds common - its mission since 1990. Driving the report's creation was the idea of a shared continent of birds and a shared continent of people connected to birds, transcending the borders of our three countries for conservation.

Action is needed in each country, but the most urgent needs are in Mexico, where tropical forests important to many high-concern landbirds are threatened by continued clearing for agriculture, livestock production, timber, and urban development. Many migrants from Canada and the United States depend on the same tropical highland forests in southern Mexico needed by highly threatened resident species.

Saving Our Shared Birds recommends six essential conservation actions:

• Protect and recover species at greatest risk.
• Conserve habitats and ecosystem functions.
• Reduce bird mortality.
• Expand our knowledge base for conservation.
• Engage people in conservation action.
• Increase the power of international partnerships.

Saving Our Shared Birds concludes that we can achieve our goals to conserve North America's bird populations and the habitat they depend on, but the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

Conserving our shared birds will require a continental, and ultimately hemispheric, perspective and a commitment to international cooperation. Although this tri-national assessment is a major step forward for bird conservation in the Western Hemisphere, efforts in Mesoamerica, Caribbean, and South America must also address the highest priority conservation needs for the hemisphere's shared birds.

About Optics for the Tropics

Joni Ellis, Director

Joni became involved with bird conservation during her ten year tenure with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission where she was the statewide coordinator for bird education.

She is still actively involved with Partners in Flight; a consortium of academia, government agencies and non-profits that support bird conservation. Joni founded Optics for the Tropics in 2001 to expand partnerships for birds and their habitats throughout their range.

She currently serves on the board of Alachua Audubon and is restoring a 20 acre farm to longleaf pine.

Katie Sieving, Ph.D, Treasurer

Katie is a professor in Wildlife, Ecology and Conservation at the University of Florida. Her core research program focuses on conserving and restoring forest biodiversity, especially songbirds, in disturbed, fragmented, and otherwise human-dominated landscapes in historically forested biomes.

This focus on the 'matrix' (human habitat created around what remains of natural habitats) has naturally led her to integrating biodiversity conservation in both agricultural and other types of rural lands close and far from protected areas.

Current work is focused in fragmented forests, organic and conventional farm / pastoral systems in Florida, Chile, and Sumatra. Conceptually, her work is rooted in community, behavioral, and landscape ecology, and conservation biology.

Joy Hill, Secretary

Joy is a regional Public Information Director for the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission where she has been employed since 1994. She is a spokesperson for the agency and is frequently quoted in the media locally, nationally and internationally.

In addition to her media relations role, she coordinates and participates in information and outreach efforts in the region, including fishing derbies, conferences, meetings and speaking requests from the general public and other agencies.

Optics for the Tropics, Inc. is a not for profit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida and is a tax-exempt organization under the Internal Revenue Code. A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll free 1-800-435-7352 within the State. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendations by the State.

William R. Ellis: Technical Support

Will has worked in and around computers since the mid 1970's. With a B.S. in electrical engineering, Will is currently hanging his own shingle for web site development and web applications.

How You Can Help Optics for the Tropics

Optics for the Tropics is committed to supporting the Tri-national Vision. For the next two years, we will focus on getting equipment to the four Regional Alliances that act as Joint Ventures in Mexico in order to carry out bird monitoring essential to this conservation plan.

We are a 501(c)(3) charity organization providing quality optical equipment in the Caribbean and Latin America where resources are very limited. We distribute equipment to ornithologists and educators working to further bird conservation.

You Can Help!

• Tax-deductible donations can be made on-line using PayPal and a major credit card. Checks can be mailed directly to Optics for the Tropics, Inc.

• You can purchase optical equipment and other products from our store section. Optics for the Tropics, Inc. receives a percentage of all sales made through our website.

• Your organization can sponsor a specific conservation effort in the Caribbean or Latin America by providing the matching funds for equipment you would like to send to the project. Keep in mind that all funds raised are matched dollar-for-dollar by Eagle Optics.

Optics for the Tropics is a partnership providing quality binoculars for ornithologist in the Caribbean and Latin America that don't have access to quality binoculars and research materials for bird conservation.

You can help bring back the birds with a donation to this meaningful project. Thanks to Eagle Optics, your contribution will be doubled and will make a difference in bird conservation. Eagle Optics will match donation, dollar for dollar, with inventory.

Binoculars are distributed through an application process for research, monitoring, or educational projects. Your donation will provide quality binoculars for lifelong work on the wintering grounds while forging partnerships between bird conservation efforts in the USA, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Receive this t-shirt or hat free with a donation of $25 or more.

Send Donation to:

Optics for the Tropics, Inc.
2205 SE 23rd Pl
Gainesville FL  32641-1474

PayPal Donations:

We accept online donations through the services of PayPal. PayPal lets you make your online donation using their secure online credit card processor. Please select a t-shirt size or hat as your thank-you gift.

Click here to visit our site and make an online donation

Last updated: February 22, 2020 · Charity ID: 918

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The Associated Press

When hundreds of birds were found dead along Mexico’s Pacific coast earlier this year, experts immediately suspected avian flu. But the government has said that the warming ocean currents of El Niño were responsible for the mass die-off. Read more >>>

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Contact Optics for the Tropics
Send us a message

US: 352-262-7300
Contact: Joni Ellis
2205 SE 23rd Pl
Gainesville, FL 32641, USA

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