Friends Support Bird’s Eye View of Rookery Bay

Feb 16, 2024

Florida’s Rookery Bay Reserve welcomed their 2024 “avian” intern, Zach Matchinski, thanks to the new Sue Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund. Established by the Friends of Rookery Bay to memorialize Miller’s many contributions to the Reserve, the scholarship supports education, conservation and research interns at Rookery Bay.

Zach is excited to use this experience to further his professional development. “I grew up in Michigan and went to college there as well, he says. “After graduating, I had been working on seasonal, bird-related jobs around the country, with a particular focus on shorebirds and seabirds, since that is what I really hope to make a career out of,” he says. 

Zach found an internship at the Rookery Bay Reserve in 2023—a great place for a Michigander to spend the winter! Thanks to the Miller Scholarship, he is able to continue his work this year. He assists the Reserve’s avian specialist with shorebird, seabird, and wading bird surveys. He also helps lead walks and helps out at events for the public. During the spring migration, he will help set up a songbird banding station.

“The Sue Miller Memorial Scholarship Fund was created with a $160,000 estate gift from a longtime friend and member, who volunteered with the Reserve for more than ten years and passed away in 2023,” says Athan Barkoukis, director of the Friends of Rookery Bay. “Sue was a staunch supporter of the Reserve, and was most often found working alongside staff, interns, and other volunteers to support the sea turtle monitoring program. It’s fitting that her gift will bring interns and scientists together for generations to come.”

Birds at the Rookery Bay Reserve.

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FriendsFriends Support Bird’s Eye View of Rookery Bay