Chris Allieri is on a mission to save the Piping Plover, a species of beach-nesting shorebirds at risk of extinction. Founder of the NYC Plover Project, Chris, tells us about these delightful birds, their habitat, and the factors driving their potential demise. Chris discusses how he, alongside his team of volunteers, helps ensure the birds’ safety as best they can in the shoreline areas of New York City and New Jersey. Chris also discusses the importance of activism and how vegan activists who see the big picture regarding animals can reach others by focusing their activism in a positive way on the members of a single, vulnerable species. He also shares the story of Bean, the lop-eared bunny he rescued in 2016, and how their bond set him on the path to veganism.
*We are thrilled to expand the accessibility of our podcast by offering written transcripts of the interviews! Click here to read Jasmin’s interview with Chris Allieri*
Chris Allieri is the founder of NYC Plover Project, a non-profit organization he began in March 2021 upon seeing a need to protect endangered Piping Plovers in New York City, who were otherwise left to fend for themselves. In just over two years, the organization has grown to a staff of 4 and a force of 250 volunteers who have performed more than 10,000 volunteer hours protecting nesting plovers and their chicks on the busiest beaches in the city. NYC Plover Project was awarded the 2021 Hartzog Award as the non-profit volunteer group of the year for the entire National Park Service, with whom they have a partnership. In 2023, the group forged a partnership with NYC Parks & Recreation, the largest city park system in the U.S.
Chris is also the founder of Mulberry & Astor, a communications firm focused on climate tech startups. A long-time resident of NYC, Chris grew up on the beaches of southern New Jersey, where he first saw a Piping Plover at a young age with his late father, Carl.
“My challenge to the birding community is that it’s not enough just to look at these birds. We have to do something about their survival.” – Chris Allieri
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Highlights for Episode 704:
- The rescue rabbit that was the catalyst to Chris becoming vegan, joining the Board of Farm Sanctuary and the Board of the Wild Bird Fund
- How Chris’ love for Piping Plovers is linked to his childhood at the South Jersey shoreline
- The vagrant bird Chris found in a Brooklyn park and how she saved his life when the COVID-19 pandemic came around
- Why Chris is so fascinated by his spark bird, the Piping Plover, and how they encouraged him to start the NYC Plover Project
- More about the Piping Plover—where they travel to and from, how they live, their connection to New Jersey, and why their situation is so dire
- How the NYC Plover Project brings people together to help protect the birds, especially in communities like Rockaway
- Why Chris believes that endangered species can help people see the bigger picture regarding animal welfare
- Why feral cats are such a huge issue for Plovers
- The difference between birders and people who volunteer to protect birds
- Why the NYC Plover Project never posts nest locations online
- Chris’ disappointment that climate activists don’t make the connection between animal agriculture, widespread species extinction, and planetary health
Connect with Chris Allieri:
- NYC Plover Project on Instagram
- NYC Plover Project on Twitter
- NYC Plover Project on Facebook
- NYC Plover Project on TikTok
Connect with Our Hen House:
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The Our Hen House theme song is written and performed by Michael Harren.
This episode is brought to you in part through the generosity of A Well-Fed World. A Well-Fed World provides the means for change by empowering individuals, social justice organizations, and political decision makers to embrace the benefits of plant-based foods and farming. Learn more at awfw.org.