Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network

Pablo Canevari Award Recipients

2015: Eduardo Palacios Castro, Mexico

In 2015, in honor of WHSRN’s 30th anniversary, Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Program issued a special edition of the Pablo Canevari Award and presented it to Dr. Eduardo Palacios Castro, Senior Researcher at Ensenada Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education (CICESE) in La Paz, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Dr. Palacios was selected (by committee) from among the several outstanding candidates nominated for this award in 2014.

For more than 25 years, Dr. Palacios has been an active and innovative member of the shorebird conservation community, particularly in Northwest Mexico. As a scientist, partnership builder, conservationist, and educator, the breadth of his contributions is second only to his generous spirit.

In 1990 Dr. Palacios, together with Pablo Canevari and other colleagues, organized the first shorebird field workshop in Mexico. His work has been foundational to the country's efforts to conserve these birds ever since. Several of his publications are the basis for many species' population size estimates, and his findings have further helped to inform shorebird management, conservation activities, and even national protections for four imperiled shorebird species. Dr. Palacios also helped develop the shorebird monitoring protocol and program being implemented at federal protected areas across Northwest Mexico, including many WHSRN sites. For two years, he served as a regional coordinator for Manomet’s Shorebird Recovery Project, helping to implement the first shorebird recovery plan for Northwest Mexico, which he coauthored.

Dr. Palacios is a founding member of several nonprofit conservation organizations and initiatives, and a teacher and mentor to many aspiring shorebird biologists and conservationists in Mexico and beyond.

Read the full award announcement published in WHSRNews.

2014: Mirta Carbajal, Argentina

Mirta Carbajal has shown an extraordinary dedication to research, environmental education, and especially to creating awareness and pride towards shorebirds within her community of San Antonio Oeste (Rio Negro, Argentina) and among decision-makers in various levels of government.

Ms. Carbajal’s pioneering efforts, undertaken largely as a volunteer, have been an essential source of motivation for actions in favor of conserving shorebirds and their habitats locally as well as regionally. She is known for her valuable work as President of the nongovernmental organization Inalafquen Foundation; involvement in the designation and stewardship of the Bahia de San Antonio WHSRN Site; and service as a representative of this site on the Argentine National WHSRN Council. Ms. Carbajal was also recently selected by her peers to serve as the Council’s president.

​“Mirta has for many years worked tirelessly and with great personal commitment and passion for the conservation of shorebirds in Argentina. As such, the committee felt she truly captures the spirit of the Pablo Canevari Award,” said Dr. Rob Clay, Director of the WHRN Executive Office. 

In thanking Manomet Center for this award, Ms. Carbajal said she has learned a lot from shorebirds. “Associating in large flocks offers us different perspectives and experiences, important for finding answers to problems we face; borders are to be crossed, keeping us united; and those that return show us the possibility of achieving what seemed impossible.” Mirta added, “How could I not work to conserve such wonderful creatures!?”

2012: Victor Pulido Capurro, Peru

Dr.Victor Pulido Capurro of Peru is one of the pioneers in promoting shorebird conservation in the Americas. His wealth of research projects on ecology, species distribution, conservation, and threatened and endangered species gave rise to his many publications. These works have been an important source of information for the management of shorebirds along the coast of Peru and for positioning shorebirds as a prominent subject in the region.

Dr. Pulido was instrumental in the formation and linking of international networks as well as the recognition of WHSRN sites in Peru in the 1990s. He was the founder and editor of the biannual newsletter El Volante Migratorio (The Migratory Flier) between 1983 and 1993, which reported activities and projects about shorebirds and other migratory birds in the Americas.

In 1999, Dr. Pulido received the Ramsar Award for his work towards the conservation of wetlands and waterfowl. Another highlight of his career has been in human resources training for the conservation of species and ecosystems at the Graduate School of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega University (Peru). Over the last ten years he has been working on the ecology and distribution of coastal desert birds; on bird conservation in agroecosystems; and on avian risk management at 11 airports in Peru. Currently Dr. Pulido is Peru’s Scientific Director to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) and the National Coordinator for the Neotropical Waterbird Census, facilitated by Wetlands International.

2010: Chile's National Petroleum Company's "Program for the Sustainable Use of Wetlands"

The Chilean National Petroleum Company's (Empresa Nacional del Petróleo de Chile, or ENAP) Program for the Sustainable Use of Wetlands receives this award in recognition of its strong commitment to corporate environmental responsibility and the conservation of shorebirds.

José Luis Rodríguez of ENAP (right) and María Rivera of Ramsar (left) inaugurate the new sign at Bahia Lomas, Chile / © Diego Luna Quevedo.

A clear example of this was ENAP’s articulation and facilitation of a 3-year process for the effective conservation of the wetlands of Bahia Lomas, Chile, as critical shorebird habitat. Today, that process has led to the initiation of a Management Plan for the area. This site is a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention and in February 2009—thanks to ENAP’s key leadership—was designated a WHSRN Site of Hemispheric Importance for its value as the most important wintering site in the Americas for the Red Knot subspecies Calidris canutus rufa, whose population is in serious decline.

For José Luis Rodríguez, ENAP’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility, “This valuable recognition by Manomet is an opportunity for us to reaffirm our business’ commitment to the conservation of wetlands and migratory shorebirds. In the case of Bahia Lomas, we are now progressing with our partners—the National Commission on the Environment, Saint Thomas University, and Wildlife Conservation Society-Chile—on the design of a Management Plan for the area, which would safeguard the quality of habitat for these shorebirds that fly more than 15,000 kilometers to be on our soil.” 

Since 2009, ENAP has been facilitating aerial surveys of the 58,946-hectare Bahia Lomas at different times of the year for researchers monitoring the imperiled rufa Red Knot subspecies. ENAP has generously provided the researchers with valuable hours of flight in its helicopter as well as logistical support on the ground. Information from aerial surveys is key to elucidating the reasons for this subspecies’ decline and in establishing the baseline data needed for its recovery and conservation. 

The Program was initiated by ENAP in November 2007 with the primary objective of promoting the sustainable use of wetlands that exist within the company’s area of operational influence.In 2008, it was distinguished with the “Best Corporate Social Responsibility Campaign” Award by the prestigious magazine Petroleum Economist.

2008: Asociación Calidris, Cali, Colombia

Asociación Calidris
(Calidris Association) is a nonprofit, nongovernmental conservation organization formed in 1989 by students of Dr. Luis Germán Naranjo at the Universidad de Valle in Cali, Colombia. Inspired by the fieldwork they began in Dr. Naranjo’s Ecology of Waterbirds and Shorebirds class, the students decided to form a group to continue their studies on migratory shorebirds, choosing the shorebird genus name Calidris. Now, 19 years later, Asociación Calidris has grown to 20 employees and 40 associates, and is a highly respected conservation leader in Latin America.

Asociación Calidris’ accomplishments are many, and include:

  • Conducting long-term waterbird and shorebird studies that have generated data about migratory and resident birds (natural history, distribution, breeding ecology, trophic ecology, and population estimates) in Colombia.
  • Supporting the efforts to designate Important Bird Areas (IBAs) and wetlands of international importance under Ramsar, and identifying key shorebird areas that will become the first WHSRN Sites in Colombia.
  • Building and implementing bird monitoring protocols for migrant passerines and waterbirds in protected areas (National Parks and Private Reserves).
  • Providing the information used in the management plans of several National Parks on Colombia’s Pacific coast, and other national policies.
  • Publishing identification guides, protocols, scientific papers, and educational material (posters, videos, and pamphlets) on birds, ensuring that the results of Calidris’ studies are widely available.
  • Co-publishing the Guía de los Chorlos y Playeros de la Región Neotropical, a widely used guide to the Plovers and Sandpipers of the Neotropics, authored by Pablo Canevari, Gonzalo Castro, Michel Sallaberry, and Luis Germán Naranjo;
  • Planning and running educational programs that involve local communities in research and conservation.

2006: Inês de Lima Serrano, CEMAVE, Brazil

Inês de Lima Serran
o is Brazilian shorebird biologist and researcher at CEMAVE (Centro Nacional de Pesquisa para Conservação das Aves Silvestres), part of IBAMA (Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente e dos Recursos Naturais Renováveis). Inês and CEMAVE are considered to be among the first, perhaps the first, to develop research and conservation projects for migratory shorebirds in South America. Inês is also currently a Ph.D. student at the Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi and Universidade Federal do Pará, under the supervision of Dr. José Maria Cardoso da Silva (vice-president of Conservation International in Brazil). Her thesis topic is “Distribution, Ecology and Conservation of Shorebirds in Brazil.”

Inês Serrano graduated as a biologist from the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil, in 1985 and earned her Master of Science degree in Animal Biology (seabirds) at the same university in 2000. She has been working for CEMAVE, a research center of the Brazilian Environment and Natural Resources Institute, since November 1987. In 1990, she became the head of coordination and execution in CEMAVE for projects related to migratory birds in Brazil’s areas recognized by Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network (WHSRN): the Environmental Protection Area of Reentrâncias Maranhenses, in Maranhão State, and National Park of Lagoa do Peixe, in Rio Grande do Sul State. From 1992 to 1996, and from April 2001 to December 2002, Inês was also the coordinator of National Banding System of CEMAVE/IBAMA. She taught over 20 bird-banding courses from 1988 to 2003 for Brazilians and other South American researchers. In this role, her influence on South American ornithology has been tremendous, as many active researchers began their banding work through these courses.

Beginning in 1997, Inês has been a key participant in a project entitled Hemispheric Migration of Red Knots (Calidris canutus), in cooperation with the Royal Ontario Museum, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Endangered and Non-game Species Program of New Jersey, Fundación Inalafquen (Argentina) and IBAMA/CEMAVE. She contributed to the status assessment of the species for the recent evaluation by the USFWS of a petition for Emergency Listing.

In addition to these shorebird efforts, Inês’s energy and commitment to conservation have been reflected in a variety of projects. These include monitoring colonial birds and the Jabiru, Jabiru mycteria, in the Pantanal, Mato Grosso do Sul; studies of the risks, problems, and solutions for bird-aircraft strikes at some of Brazil’s most important international airports including Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Manaus; and development of instructional materials about migratory birds for children. She has also been a tireless encourager of volunteers and new researchers.

2004: Xicoténcatl Vega Picos, Pronatura Noroeste, Mexico

Xicoténcatl ("Xico") Vega Picos
is Director of Conservation in Sinaloa, México, for Pronatura Noroeste Mar de Cortés, and Associate Professor of Ecology and Sustainable Development at ITESM Campus Sinaloa. He has been instrumental in promoting conservation and research interest in shorebirds in Mexico, and has been the moving force behind the nomination and designation of two WHSRN sites in Sinaloa state (Playa Ceuta and Bahía Santa María). He has been a central figure in the delivery of five training workshops in Sinaloa and Baja California.

These and other aspects of Xico's tireless work have helped create broad political support for shorebird and wetland conservation. As an example of not only "acting locally" but also "thinking globally," Xico has built relationships revolving around shorebird and wetland conservation with academic, governmental and non-government organizations in the U.S., Canada, Panama, and even Spain.



2001: Daniel Blanco, Wetlands International, Argentina

Daniel Blanco
is from Buenos Aires, Argentina and has worked on shorebird monitoring and ecology since 1987 when he received a grant from The William Belton Award of ICBP-PACS (now Birdlife International). Daniel worked together with Pablo Canevari for nine years. He helped support the three WHSRN Sites in Argentina, carried out shorebird research and helped with research on potential WHSRN sites throughout South America.

Now working for Wetlands International, Daniel continues his work in waterbird monitoring and conservation. He recently carried out shorebird research specially on grassland shorebirds like the Buff-breasted Sandpiper mainly in Samborombón Bay and its surroundings in central-east Buenos Aires province. Currently Daniel is studying shorebird distribution and habitat use in coastal environments.

2000: Patricia González, Fundación Inalafquen, Argentina



Patricia González
is from San Antonio Oeste, Argentina, and has been instrumental in shorebird monitoring and research along the Atlantic Coast of Argentina from the San Antonio Bay to Tierra del Fuego. With Pablo Canevari as her early advisor, Patricia’s many years of hard work have been vital to understanding the biology of shorebirds in South America. Her studies were the basis for identifying the San Antonio Bay as a WHSRN site.

Currently, Patricia is intensely studying shorebirds from Tierra del Fuego to Delaware Bay (USA) and the Canadian Arctic as a member of the International Shorebird Team coordinated by Dr. Allan Baker of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Canada. Further, she has successfully involved the local schools in her projects and works tirelessly to educate the public about the importance and beauty of shorebirds and wetlands.