Category Archives: Press

Talking climate change at CES in Las Vegas

My three months on Cooper Island every summer for the past 45 years is characterized by long periods (up to 6 weeks) of being alone and with little dependence on the technological gadgets and infrastructure that dominate the lives of those living on the grid in the early 21st Century. The isolation and simplicity of my field camp are welcome perks of my study of an Arctic bird.    

My experience this past week could not have been any more dissimilar to my field seasons as I attended the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.   As if Vegas itself wasn’t enough to cause a cultural whiplash, the CES is the nation’s biggest convention, with over 170 thousand attendees.  During an average summer on Cooper I might see 20 people over a 90-day period.

I was at CES because of a NY Times Magazine cover photo taken by Joe McNally in 2001 and his return visit to Cooper this past summer. Joe is a Nikon Ambassador and talked Nikon into backing his recent visit with a video crew to document his retaking of the 2001 shot of me standing just off the North Beach of Cooper Island. As part of Nikon’s series of presentations in Las Vegas, Joe and I were on a panel discussing his visits, my work, and climate change with Mike Corrado for 45 minutes before a screening of the video. That conversation including the video is now online with the video also available here.

The response from those attending the CES session was especially gratifying – both for the appreciation of my research and outreach efforts, and the clear concern expressed about the ongoing climate crisis.

I have been very fortunate in having my research on the Black Guillemots of Cooper Island attract the attention of those wanting to inform the public about global warming – from the Late Show with David Letterman, to the NY Times Magazine, to the UK’s Royal National Theatre. The experience in Las Vegas was certainly unique and I thank Joe and Nikon for helping me make sure – What happens on Cooper Island doesn’t stay on Cooper Island.

World Wildlife Fund features Cooper Island research in Arctic Magazine

The 2019 winter edition of the World Wildlife Fund’s Arctic magazine, The Circle, features findings from the Cooper Island Black Guillemot study. The entire issue is well worth reading with articles on how the warming Arctic is affecting indigenous people, birds and mammals, and tundra vegetation.

The WWF website has additional text and links not available in the PDF of the magazine with the Cooper Island coverage available here.

Crosscut Article on Our Work

Last April I went to Barrow for a few days to prepare for the upcoming field season and, more importantly, to visit with my colleagues and friends in Barrow without the rushed atmosphere of my visits when I am there heading out to the field or back to Seattle.  Without the support and friendship of those in the community of Barrow I never would have been able to conduct seabird research for forty years on a sand and gravel bar 25 miles east of the village.

I was accompanied on my April trip by Eric Scigliano, a Seattle science writer, who is a frequent contributor to Crosscut, a Seattle-based online news magazine with “News of the Great Nearby”.  His story on our trip is linked here and at the image below.


Barrow, Alaska in mid April. Credit Eric Scigliano

 Eric’s piece is a good summary of the Cooper Island findings and includes (on page 2) a description of a unique observation I made on Cooper in 2014 which shows how climate change could be increasing romance and passion for some of the Black Guillemot pairs breeding on the  island.