The roots of The Center for Conservation Biology stretch back to the “bird lab” located in room 215 of Millington Hall on the campus of the William & Mary. Within this small room, many careers were launched in the fields of ornithology, avian research, wildlife management, ecology, and conservation biology. Over many years, scores of students with a common interest in birds and bird research worked with Mitchell A. Byrd. Dispersed throughout the world, these students have made critical contributions to our awareness and protection of wild populations and places.

The Center for Conservation Biology was founded by Bryan D. Watts and Mitchell A. Byrd in the spring of 1992 with the dream of developing the ecological equivalent of Thomas Edison’s famed Menlo Park – A place where a community of dedicated professional scientists, students, and citizens could be brought together to focus not on patents or profits but on developing lasting solutions to environmental problems. Our work continues to embody this ideal.

In early 2009, the presidents of Virginia Commonwealth University and William & Mary entered into an agreement to share CCB. This historic agreement represents a commitment by both universities to conservation and to the continued development of the Center for Conservation Biology and its work.

signing memorandum to share The Center for Conservation Biology between William and Mary and VCU

Virginia Commonwealth University president Gene Trani (l) and William & Mary president Taylor Reveley sign an agreement for the universities to share The Center for Conservation Biology. Looking on (l to r) are Len Smock (Director of VCU Rice Center), Bryan Watts (Director of CCB) and Mitchell Byrd (retired Chancellor Professor of Biology at William & Mary).

In 2019, The Center for Conservation Biology returned to being fully within William & Mary.