Lori Anna Conzo: I was brought in to help the IFC figure out how to define critical habitat with respect to what are the highest-priority sites. So this is where the nexus of Mike and Lori was absolutely perfectly timed because what we did not want was huge regional areas that were somehow priorities because that doesn’t help us inform project-level risk. So when we came and I spoke to you, I was trying to understand how you were defining critical habitat. That was the question.
Mike: I mentioned bird watching, and traveling all over the planet. And when you do that you know there’s always one place to go which is the place to see whatever it is what you want to see – whether it’s a satyr tragopan or a long-whiskered owlet, or a marvelous spatuletail hummingbird, there is always one place that’s better. We were becoming concerned that the whole conservation movement was thinking too big. And we realized that if we keep thinking about these huge expanses like Amazonia, those special places might get missed. So, we started to map out where all endangered and critically-endangered species were known from single sites.
It started over pizza and beer in the basement, and something caught on. We started getting more interest from other groups and finally it kind of professionalized into our day jobs. That was kind of our opening, like the keyhole to the door, and then suddenly you kind of helped open that up for us.