- Co-PI, Red Siskin Initiative 2013 -
- Program Manager, Interconnected Health 2020 -
- Co-director, Earth Optimism Youth Sustainability Leadership 2019 -
- Conservation Producer, Conservation Commons 2016 - 2020
Background And Education
Brian Coyle worked with the Smithsonian, USFS, and USFW on research and monitoring of endangered and threatened species before earning a PhD from the University of Maryland College Park, where he studied sexual selection and sensory ecology in Australian bowerbirds. He joined the National Museum of Natural History in 2013 as a postdoc to work on the Red Siskin Initiative, including integration of the Smithsonian Bird Friendly Coffee Certification program. He has also helped to organize two Smithsonian Earth Optimism Summits and worked with the Conservation Commons program to support and advance multi-disciplinary conservation focused programs. His present focus includes management of the Integrated Health program and co-directing a nationwide youth leadership training program focused on sustainability together with Smithsonian Affiliations. Brian lives with his family of people and animals in Maryland where he enjoys working with neighbors on grassroots sustainability initiatives locally.
Brian Coyle is a program manager and researcher with the Smithsonian's National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. His work involves multi-disciplinary collaboration with other Smithsonian science centers, museums and education programs and spans One Health, conservation of endangered species and habitats, sustainable agroforestry and training the next generation of sustainability leaders.
Coyle's projects include:
- Smithsonian Interconnected Health: a pan-institutional, multi-disciplinary program focused on One Health research and action that integrates across science, humanities and collections
- Earth Optimism Youth Action: training and empowering teens to research, design and lead community-based sustainability projects in collaboration with Smithsonian-affiliated museums in cities across the U.S.
- Red Siskin Initiative: a diverse international collaboration between zoos, environmental non-governmental organizations, and communities that employs a flagship approach to species and habitat conservation centered around the recovery of the endangered and iconic red siskin (Spinus cucullatus) and Bird Friendly® agroforestry in the world's richest biodiversity hotspot, the tropical Andes.
- Bird Friendly Coffee: promoting best practices in sustainable coffee agroforestry on a landscape scale that achieves biodiversity conservation, cultural preservation of traditional farming lifestyles, and economic viability for farming communities
Coyle sparked the integration of Bird Friendly Coffee certification in the Red Siskin Initiative conservation program in Venezuela and helped expand the RSI to a broad coalition of diverse partners internationally consisting of zoos, non-governmental organizations, civil associations, communities and more. He co-founded and co-directs a youth action program that has catalyzed youth leadership for sustainability in cities across the country, including dozens of community-based projects ranging from habitat restoration, to editorial campaigns designed to increase environmental literacy, to climate action summits. His work on Interconnected Health is helping to connect researchers from across disciplines and units at the Smithsonian to achieve much greater impact through interdisciplinary collaboration.
After receiving a bachelor's degree in animal science and pathobiology from the University of Connecticut, Coyle worked with the U.S. Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Smithsonian on endangered species and natural resources management. He then enrolled in the University of Maryland, College Park, where he received a Ph.D. in behavioral and sensory ecology in 2013. The same year, he started a postdoctoral research position on the endangered red siskin at the National Museum of Natural History and later moved to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute. Coyle also leads a community-based volunteer organization focused on local conservation and sustainability action in natural and built environments.
Coyle's work is motivated by a lifelong fascination with the natural world and by the accelerating climate and biodiversity crises. His efforts at the Smithsonian and in his community are driven by the urgent need for transformational change in our environmental values, behaviors and policies.