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Meridian Institute

Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology Strategic Planning

Related: Environment and Natural Resources

At the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, scientists, conservationists, engineers, educators, and students all work together for a common purpose: to understand birds and other wildlife, to involve the public in scientific discovery, and to use the Lab’s knowledge to protect the planet. The Lab’s mission is to interpret and conserve the Earth’s biological diversity through research, education, and citizen science focused on birds. The institution’s hallmarks are scientific excellence and technological innovation to advance the understanding of nature and to engage people of all ages in learning about birds and protecting the planet. 

In 2017 and 2018, Meridian Institute designed and facilitated a strategic planning process to help Lab leadership and staff envision the Lab’s future impact and devise a path forward for 2018–2025 and beyond.  Working with Lab leadership, managers, staff, and other stakeholders over one year, Meridian supported the development of new, impactful strategic goals, objectives, and action areas. Meridian conducted extensive interviews, facilitated Board and staff leadership meetings, drafted and consolidated major components of the plan, and provided ongoing consultation to the Lab Director, Board, and other key staff.

After nearly a year of intensive consultation and internal dialogue, the Lab developed a far-reaching plan to use the power of birds and other charismatic organisms to generate long-term impacts on understanding and conservation of the Earth’s biological diversity, through innovative science, data-driven services, and creative public engagement around the world. The Lab’s 2018–2025 strategic plan will focus on the following five strategic goals to amplify its scope and impact:

  • Strengthen Cornell’s capacities as an unparalleled center of excellence in ornithological and biodiversity research and as the premier academic institute for students of ornithology.

  • Harness the transformational power of big data, from ingestion and curation to analysis; build capacity to provide data, visualizations, and insights for full-life-cycle comprehension of bird populations and human impacts upon them.

  • Increase the Lab’s impact on policy and public opinion, and inspire conservation action, through compelling, science-based biodiversity information and conservation media developed in collaboration with key partners and organizations.

  • Provide lifelong learners, citizen scientists, and students in and out of classrooms with the world’s leading resources and participatory experiences, to get people outdoors and to inspire nature enthusiasts of every generation.

  • Foster a culture that embraces diversity of Lab staff and audiences and integrates diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core strength of all Lab activities.