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Niemi receives recognition for ornithology career

Man sits in office holding award plaque
December 7, 2016

A career dedicated to avian science leads to ornithology award for NRRI Scientist Jerry Niemi.

Niemi is widely recognized as a calm, non-biased voice that all hold in high respect.

Natural Resources Research Institute Scientist Jerry Niemi's current book project dovetails a previous documentation of the state's bird species published in 1932. That earlier two volume tome was written by Thomas S. Roberts and Niemi was recently bestowed a memorial award in Roberts' name from the Minnesota Ornithologists Union.

"This award is especially meaningful to me because of Dr. Roberts' foundational work and my current project," said Niemi.

His project, the “Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas” established the status of Minnesota's breeding bird population from 2009 to 2013. Robert’s work in the late 1800s and early 1900’s provides the only basis for a historical comparison of changes on Minnesota’s birds over the past 100 - 150 years.

Niemi served 20 years as director of NRRI’s Center for Water and the Environment before returning to research and professor of biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Themes of his research have included forest and wetland birds, raptor biology, indicators of healthy ecosystems and sustainable natural resource management.

The Thomas S. Roberts Memorial Award was presented at the Minnesota Ornithologists Union annual paper session at the University of Minnesota’s Bell Museum on December 3 and was accepted by NRRI Graduate Research Assistant Annie Bracey on Niemi's behalf.

Niemi was nominated for the award by MOU members Janet Green and Lee Pfannmuller.

“Jerry’s intimate engagement with all aspects of forest management has been instrumental in promoting bird conservation in this critical region,” said Pfannmuller, “Among a very diverse group of stakeholders, who often have very polarized views about forest management, he is widely recognized as a calm, non-biased voice that all hold in high respect.”

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