June 06, 2022

Audubon Alaska Brings Earthrise Student to Alaska to Present Legal Research

  • Matt Campa on Hartney Bay in Cordova, Alaska

Every year, at the beginning of May, professional and amateur birders assemble in Cordova, Alaska for the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival to witness one of the truly magnificent gatherings of migrating shorebirds anywhere in the world. This year, the human visitors included one of our own, former Earthrise student Matt Campa (’22). Matt, who began his time with Earthrise as one of our summer clerks in 2021, spent most of his Earthrise year working on wetland issues for Audubon Alaska. As Matt approached the end of his last law school semester, Audubon’s David Krause, made Matt an offer he couldn’t refuse. He invited Matt to Alaska to present some of his legal research and attend the Shorebird Festival in Cordova as Audubon’s guest.

Matt stated that “the opportunity to witness such an amazing spectacle of natural wonderment–one I had been working so hard to protect–was far too sweet a deal to consider passing up.”

So, on the first weekend in May, Matt packed his winter gear–temperatures in Cordova still hovered in the high 30s and there was plenty of snow on the ground–and headed north. While there, Matt observed copious shorebirds and also presented his wetland work to a diverse group of conservationists and lawyers, emphasizing the importance of public commenting on the proposed dredge and fill operations.

“By the end, I was able to identify around 8 species of shorebirds, and had observed more bald eagles in the span of 24 hours than in my entire life.”

“I want to thank Audubon and Earthrise for this truly one-of-a-kind experience. The work Audubon and its partners undertakes is imperative for the continued viability of shorebirds as the transcontinental ecological treasure we all love.”

David Krause, Director of Conservation at Audubon Alaska, had this to say. “Working with Audubon Alaska over the last year, Matt became a true expert on the implementation of the Clean Water Act’s compensatory mitigation requirements. It was wonderful to host him in Alaska, where Matt got a chance to share his knowledge and insights with tribal governments, conservation organizations, and scientists.”

We know Matt earned this unique opportunity with his hard work in the clinic, but we’d like to give a huge thank you to Audubon Alaska for providing such a once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of our students. And for future Earthrise students, you really never know where your work on an Earthrise case will take you!