The Richmond Audubon Society announces the establishment of the B. Lewis Barnett, III Award, to be given by the society in honor of the life and memory of Dr. Barnett. The award memorializes his many contributions and service to Richmond Audubon, the Virginia Audubon Council, and the greater Virginia birding community.
True to what was important to Lewis, the Barnett Award will be given annually in support of activities that will further education, research and conservation of birds and their environment. Nominations for and the awarding of the Barnett Award will be under the purview of the RAS Board of Directors. The Board, following a call for and review of proposals for this award, will fund one or more awards annually.
Donations in Lewis’s name, which will go toward funding the Barnett Award, can be made at on our donation page.
B. Lewis Barnett III Award to Support Warbler Research in Virginia
April 25, 2022: The Richmond Audubon Society awarded two inaugural Lewis Barnett Awards to graduate students conducting research in Virginia on two critical Warbler species. The Board of the Richmond Audubon Society established the Lewis Barnett Award in 2021 to honor the life and memory of Dr. B. Lewis Barnett, III for his long-time service to the Society and interest in birds. The award memorializes his many contributions and service to Richmond Audubon, the Virginia Audubon Council, and the greater Virginia birding community. Lewis, who passed away in 2021, served Richmond Audubon in many roles, including as President, many years on the Board of Directors, as an outstanding birding field trip leader, and as an all-around engaged, friendly, and supportive member.
For its first two recipients, the Board of the Richmond Audubon Society chose to award the Lewis Barnett Award to Garrett Rhyne, a graduate student studying Swainson’s Warblers, and to Samantha Fishman, a graduate student studying Golden-winged Warblers.
Garrett Rhyne is a graduate research fellow and Associate Wildlife Biologist at the Louisiana State University of Renewable Natural Resources. Garrett graduated from Virginia Tech in 2019 with a B.S. in Wildlife Conservation and Forestry. He also worked as a field technician for the Virginia Breeding Bird Atlas and conducted independent research on Swainson’s Warblers in the Appalachians of southwest Virginia.
For his research, “Determining Migratory Connectivity in Swainson’s Warblers,” Garrett hopes to gain a better understanding of Swainson’s Warblers non-breeding territory and migratory routes in order to quantify the migratory connectivity between breeding populations. He hopes the data he collects can help identify the species’ population structure which could aid in targeted conservation monitoring and management. In the spring and summer of 2021, Garrett oversaw the target-netting and banding of territorial male Swainson’s Warblers in six states and outfitted them with geolocator devices. This year, the Lewis Barnett Award will help Garrett and his team relocate, capture, and retrieve those geolocators so that the data stored on the devices can be accessed and studied. He also plans to collect samples for genetic analysis that can further inform his research.
Samantha Fishman is a graduate student at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Environmental Studies program, where she focuses her thesis studies on Golden-winged Warblers. Samantha earned a bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management in 2018, and she has been conducting field work relating to Piping Plovers in New York, Wood Ducks in South Carolina, and declining grassland bird species in Virginia.
For her research, “Uncovering post-breeding movements and survival rates of a rapidly declining species,” Samantha hopes to gain a better understanding of basic demographic rates in Golden-winged Warblers to inform population viability analysis. To gather that data, Samantha hopes to deploy nanotag devices on adult male and female Golden-winged Warblers, predominantly in Highland County, Virginia. The nanotags emit signals that can be picked up by hand-held receivers and tracking stations (known as Motus towers). The tags last approximately one year, and Samantha hopes to be able to resight tagged birds from May through August 2022 and again in spring 2023 when birds return.
Richmond Audubon Society intends to award the Lewis Barnett Award each spring. Contact us for details on how to submit a proposal for the Award.
Dr. B. Lewis Barnett, III