Leave it to Beavers!

Nature’s Builders Help Ranchers and Farmers

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Often viewed as pests by ranchers and farmers, nature’s dam builders, the beavers, are now being hailed by many as “ecopartners” whose dams are helping to provide water to parched lands.

The phrase “busy as a beaver” is well chosen given that beavers are non-stop workers who gnaw away trees and foliage in the blink of an eye and build dams overnight. But, when this happens in the wrong spot, flooding one field or drying another, landowners get fighting mad. By the late 1800s in the Northwest, trappers reduced much of the beaver population to get rid of them and make money from their fur.

Lately, though, landowners and the large rodents are forming alliances. Becoming “frenemies” of a sort. That’s because the beavers’ ponds are providing new water sources to augment scarce rainfall and snow runoff during the West’s drought periods.

SurfWriter Girls learned that the beavers’ ponds – created by damming rivers, streams, and lakes – are also improving water quality by helping to filter sediment and recycle nutrients. Fish and wildlife are benefiting, too, finding shelter and hydration in the cool, clear waters around the dams.

The beavers have useful skills to offer. The trick is finding how to work with them. Federal and state government agencies are helping landowners in western states, including California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Montana, Colorado, and Idaho, create environments that attract the beavers and to identify the best places for beaver colonies to do their work.

By moving beavers from one area to another and routing dam water runoff to maximize water storage and reduce flooding, beaver construction crews can be valuable allies. Rather than adversaries to get rid of. But, to maximize these alliances landowners and government agencies must be open to new ways of thinking about the beavers and existing laws and practices that affect them.

Now that’s something to build on!

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Ansel Adams – Nature’s Photographer

Nature Brought to Life in Black-and-White

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 

Fall – when tourist crowds are gone – is the perfect time to enjoy California’s natural beauty.

California’s raw coastlines and majestic forests are not only breathtaking to see, but through the lens of master photographer Ansel Adams, they are immortalized for all to enjoy.

Working primarily in black-and-white, Adams’ use of light and shadow and his fine eye for composition and detail turned nature’s landscapes into unsurpassed works of beauty.

Growing up, one of his favorite spots to wander was in San Francisco’s still-wild Golden Gate area and the nearby sand dunes along Lobos Creek. As a teenager, armed with a Kodak Brownie camera, he first discovered the wonders of Yosemite in 1916 and would spend a lifetime capturing all the facets of its beauty on photographic plates.

Starting in 1927, with his portfolio of photographs of the High Sierras, Adams launched a career that would encompass creating iconic images of Yosemite, San Francisco, Monterey, and other points throughout the Northwest, including Glacier National Park, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon.

Though he preferred black-and-white photography because it gave him more control over the finished picture than the limited options of the emerging color photography of his day, Adams did experiment with the new color medium – and got some amazing results.

A son of the West, who was born in San Francisco in 1902 and died in Monterey in 1984, Adams was an avid environmentalist and used his photographs to help build awareness and support for preserving natural landscapes. He also served as director of the Sierra Club from 1934 to 1971.

Once destroyed, nature’s beauty cannot be repurchased at any price.

– Ansel Adams.

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National Parks Offer a Sea of Adventures!

Eight Coastal Treasures to Discover!

national-park-service-logo-on-yellowstone

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Thanks to the vision of nature lovers who saw the beauty in America’s undisturbed landscapes from Yellowstone and Yosemite to the Grand Canyon and the Everglades, many of these have been preserved as National Parks for all to enjoy.

Today there are 58 national parks throughout the country. What’s more, SurfWriter Girls found out that many of them are right on the beach! Each of the eight parks below offers a unique coastal experience that celebrates the world of nature.

Coastal-California-National-Park-Map-Poster 

Eight National Parks On the Coast

california-redwood-national-park

 

Redwood Forest National and State Park, North of San Francisco, combines the majesty of the giant Redwoods with 40 miles of pristine coastline.

 

Santa Monica Cave National Park

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Malibu, is a breathtaking ocean retreat just a short drive from Los Angeles.

Channel-Islands-National-Park

Channel Islands National Park, off the coast of Santa Barbara, CA, encompasses five islands that are home to many rare species of plants and animals and archaeological and cultural sites.

Olympic National Park, in Washington, has close to a million acres of beautiful vistas from glacier-topped Mt. Olympus and old-growth rain forests to over 70 miles of raw coastline.

Olympic Nat. ParkAcadia Nat. Park

Thoreau

Cape Cod National Park, Massachusetts, has over 40 miles of beaches, marshes and ponds. Observing its tranquility, Henry David Thoreau said, “A man may stand there and put all America behind him.”

Acadia National Park, Maine, a 47,000-mile getaway on a rugged coast, offers the chance to see moose, whales, and bears against a backdrop of deserted beaches and granite mountain peaks.

Haleakala postcard

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii, on Maui, is considered a sacred spot and offers the opportunity to see glorious sunsets over the Haleakala volcanic crater.

biscayneBiscayne National Park, Florida, is an ocean enthusiast’s dream with turquoise waters, barrier islands and vibrant coral reefs to explore.

These coastal treasures – and America’s 50 other national parks – would be standouts on any Bucket List!

Whether you want to swim, surf, hike, or just admire the view, there’s a National Park waiting for you to discover.

Everglades_National_Park

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Aloha to Tony – May 28, 2022

The Surfrider Tribe Gathers

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surfrider’s Huntington/Seal Beach tribe gathered above the sea at the River’s End in Seal Beach on May 28th to say good-bye to Tony Soriano, the chapter’s longtime chair and advisor.

When the conch shell sounded everyone came together to honor and celebrate Tony’s life (1947-2022) and to share stories about the dedicated and fearless leader who loved surfing, the environment, and the people around him.

Wearing Surfrider Ts, Hawaiian shirts, flower leis and leaf crowns, Tony’s ohana (friends and family) remembered his boundless energy and enthusiasm and countless acts of kindness.

Surfrider CEO Chad Nelsen said Tony helped chapters across the nation protect the oceans, waves and beaches. H/SB Chapter co-chair KC Fockler talked about how Tony’s generous heart and tireless work for the chapter inspired everyone.

Jeff Coffman remembered the way Tony got everyone involved and made them want to do more to protect the beach and environment. Joe (Samoa) McMullin said that Tony drew him into Surfrider when they met at the beach, remembering they both had been stung – many times! – by the stingrays at the River’s End.

Norma and Alex Sellers told SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti how much they would miss Tony’s smile and all the fun they had together at beach cleanups. We agreed that Tony had a smile as bright as the sun and a sense of endless possibilities.

A hula dancer performed in Tony’s honor. Guests looked at his photos and signed the memory book.

The trunk of Tony’s car was filled with mementos of his adventures and accomplishments. Many of Tony’s prized surfboards were lined up, as if waiting to go out again.

Alex Soriano, Tony’s son, thanked everyone for being there and talked about how his father made people feel connected. He said that whenever Tony saw trash on the beach, he picked it up. He knew that his father would want all of us to do the same. Then he and Rocky McKinnon led the tribe to the water’s edge.

The tribe gathered the flowers that had been donated by Surfrider sponsor Albertson’s and headed out into the ocean for the paddle out…

and one last aloha to Tony.

Thanks to those whose photos were included in this story. Mahalo! – Sunny and Patti

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Matson Lines Sailed to Exotic South Seas

Advertising Posters Lured Travelers to Adventure

Hawaii steamship

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Now that spring’s balmy breezes are here, we’re reminded that there are adventures awaiting and a world to explore. For decades the legendary Matson Shipping Lines turned people’s travel dreams into reality.

 

couple-in-moonlight

1963 Matson Lines Ocean Liner Cruise Ship Pacific

Paradise on beach

From the early to mid-1900s, long before we lived in a 24/7 global, connected world, the Matson Shipping Lines sailed to exotic places that most people only dreamed about.

tahiti

 

 

 

 

 

 

Its world-class luxury liners provided the fastest, finest and most elegant service available to the Hawaiian Islands, Polynesia, New Zealand and Australia.

girl with yellow floweraustralia

new-zealand

Offering the promise of South Seas adventures and tropical paradises, the cruise line commissioned top artists and photographers to create advertising posters that would lure travelers to book passage on its ships traversing the Pacific Ocean.

 

Artists Frank Macintosh, John Kelly, Eldridge Logan, Louis Macouillaird, Richard Moore and Eugene Savage all painted iconic island scenes for Matson.

luau

Even famed photographers Edward Steichen and Anton Breuhl got on board to celebrate the Matson dream.

Matson horizontal ship

samoa menu

Ladies with fruit basket

Steichen photo ad in VogueThe advertising posters were showcased in adventure and travel magazines ranging from National Geographic to Holiday and in glossy fashion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue.

1949-matson-cruise-line-lurine-captains-table

That era of glamorous adventures on the high seas may have come to an end, but the posters and the dreams live on.

honemooners A

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Puerto Rican Parrots Rebound!

Recovering After Hurricane Maria’s Devastation

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

When SurfWriter Girls first wrote about the parrots of Puerto Rico scientists were working hard to save the iconic Puerto Rican Parrots after Hurricane Maria decimated most of their jungle habitat in the tropical forest of El Yunque.

Only two out of 56 wild parrots survived the massive hurricane that struck the US island territory in September 2017.

In the 1800s there were more than 1 million wild parrots in Puerto Rico. But, over a century of forest clearing and development virtually extinguished them, leaving only 13 birds in the wild in the 1970s until a breeding program increased the population to 56. Then came the hurricane.

It became more important than ever for the island’s breeding program to save the bird population. Birds in captivity were waiting to be released into the wild in the El Yunque and Rio Abajo forests, but before that could happen scientists needed to make sure that there was sufficient habitat and food to support them.

With many of the tall trees where the parrots would nest gone and the protective forest canopy of leaves and branches still thinned, it was a challenge to find safe places for the parrots.

Marisel ­Lopez, who’s in charge of Puerto Rico’s parrot recovery program, said at the time that “the priority now is to start releasing them” and hoped that in 2019 the first group of 20 parrots would be able to venture out. The birds were released and since then, due to the success of the program, other groups have followed.

Now more than 200 parrots are in the wild and the jungle is alive with the unique sounds that they make.

Parrot Love Haiku

by SurfWriter Girls Sunny and Patti

Vibrant wild parrots

of Puerto Rico still sing.

Two against the storm.

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Hail to the Monarchs!

Majestic Butterflies Return to CA

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

“For everything there is a season.” – Ecclesiastes

Along California’s central coast the majestic orange-and-black Monarch Butterflies have made this the season to return after years of declining numbers during their fall/winter migrations.

In Pacific Grove, a key resting stop on the butterflies’ migration from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico (November to March), over 12,000 butterflies were counted in 2021. In 2020 fewer than 2,000 butterflies were counted. Some areas had none.

Looking at the butterflies’ arrivals at other spots so far – Pismo Beach counted over 22,000 thru December – it’s estimated that there will be at least 100,000 butterflies throughout the West this season. A cause for celebration.

Seeing the butterflies arriving has been good news for California after growing fears that they might not come back at all. Given the obstacles they face – from dwindling habitat due to farming and housing development to lack of water and food – the Monarchs have a difficult journey each year.

Scientists aren’t sure what’s caused the bounce-back in the butterflies. Ironically, some have speculated that it may be because the state’s drought has created warmer, dryer flying conditions. And environmental groups have been working to plant more milkweed and nectar plants – sources of food – at the butterflies’ roosting sites.

Whatever the case, the butterflies’ return this season is encouraging. And, while it’s far from the highs of the 1980’s when there were millions of Monarchs, still it’s a stunning sight to see them in flight again.

Hail to the Monarchs! Long may they reign.

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Surf Artist Drew Brophy Needs Community’s Help

Creating Wonders, Making Waves

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Surf artist Drew Brophy has been creating artistic wonders and paying it forward to help upcoming surf artists his whole career. Now he is seriously ill with Covid and needs the support of the community to recover.

See Drew’s story below and find out how you can help:

A pen in the right hands can create wonders. This is especially true when it’s one of the Posca paint pens surf artist Drew Brophy uses to apply his electrifying images on stretched canvas and surfboards.

“The pens saved my life,” says Brophy, explaining that they enabled him to paint in an entirely different way, freed from the labor intensive and messy air brush methods he had used before. Paintings that took all day to do could be done in a fraction of that time. And the detail and clarity were far superior.

Brophy’s journey to becoming one of the world’s top surf artists wasn’t easy, filled with setbacks, rejections, and questions about whether he could turn his passion for surfing and painting into a career. But, through it all he never lost faith in his abilities and desire to create his own unique vision for all to see.

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are always in awe of Brophy’s powerful paintings and how they draw you into another world of color and excitement. You’re in a parallel universe where the suns are brighter and the oceans are bluer.

Raised in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, when Brophy was four years old his dad got him a Styrofoam kickboard and he wrote his name “Drew” on it with crayons. “It was the first board I ever painted,” says Brophy. Who would have guessed that this was the start of the surfing and painting life Brophy has made for himself?

Along the way, one pivotal event helped him to find his path to success. It was an act of kindness by a family friend. In 1992 Brophy was talking to his parents and their friends the Rosens about some colored ink pens he thought would be great for painting surfboards, but they were only available in Japan.

“Two weeks later I came home and was surprised to find a giant box on the kitchen table. It was full of Uni Posca paint pens of every size and color,” Brophy recalls. “Mr. Rosen had gone to Japan on business and searched all over the city to find them for me.”

With his wife Maria, who he met in 1996, by his side Brophy has achieved a level of success greater than he ever dreamed. His soulmate – the Yin to his Yang – Maria is also a marketing expert who has helped Brophy find his artistic niche and develop a global audience.

Brophy has painted surfboards and skateboards, T-shirts and shoes, music CD covers, event posters, giant canvasses, worked with brands (Liquid Force Wakeboards, Keen Footwear, Billabong, Google, Pepsi, Hard Rock Casino), exhibited in museums and his own gallery in San Clemente, CA.

SurfWriter Girls and Patti’s husband Greg Kishel were at the gallery for the launch of Brophy’s new book Painting Surfboards and Chasing Waves. Written with Maria, it tells his incredible story and message to artists: “Find you passion and pair it with your art.”

And, pay it forward. On his travels he always leaves some Posca paint pens behind so upcoming surf artists can use them to create their own wonders.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Drew heal. If you’d like to pay it forward back to Drew, click on this link: GoFundMeDrewBrophy

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Coral Reefs Dazzle with Color!

More Fall Colors to Sea

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With autumn’s red and gold leaves taking center stage now, it’s easy to overlook the dazzling colors hidden from sight below the sea in the ocean’s coral reefs.

Exotic and mysterious, coral reefs around the world, from Hawaii and the Caribbean to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef exist in an endless variety of color.

More than just objects of beauty, coral reefs are underwater living ecosystems that provide food and shelter to more than 25% of the ocean’s sea life. Coral reefs have been called the “rainforests of the sea.”

And like trees protecting the land from the elements, coral reefs protect the world’s shorelines from storms and erosion and help to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the air.

The different colors of the reefs – red, orange, yellow, blue, pink, and more – come from the mix of algae in their tissues and varying light conditions and water temperatures. The brighter and bolder the colors, the healthier the reefs.

Marine scientists are working to keep the vivid colors in the reefs – no easy task given the threats from climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and overfishing.

In her children’s book The Great Barrier Thief author Dr. Sue Pillans (AKA “Suzie Starfish”), a marine scientist and visual artist, tackles the problem of “coral bleaching” and the reasons that many coral reefs are losing their colors.

With the help of her protagonist, a pink fish named Anthia, Pillans hopes to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef doesn’t lose its dazzling colors.

From the tallest trees to the deepest coral treasures SurfWriter Girls are excited about the world of fall colors to sea.

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Frank Lloyd Wright Honored

Eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites

 

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

In the world of architecture, no name is more highly revered than Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959). So, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) recently designated eight of his buildings as World Heritage Sites it was cause for celebration.

A design genius inspired by nature to create iconic structures perfectly suited to their environments, Wright designed more than 1,000 structures.

The master builder of the 20th century, Wright changed the idea of how buildings should look with his open concept, unified approach that “brought the outdoors in.” Whether it was a home in the Midwest, the Guggenheim Museum in New York,

or the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Wright’s innovative style became instantly recognizable.

After starting in Chicago, Wright established his renowned architectural studio Taliesen in Spring Green, Wisconsin, where much of his creative output occurred. The name of the studio is from a character in Welsh mythology.

Honoring Wright’s contributions to the human experience, UNESCO stated that his buildings have “outstanding universal value.”

“The architecture reflects functional and emotional needs; the design is rooted in nature’s forms and principles; the works align with the evolving American experience, while being universal in appeal.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel are Wright admirers and have been lucky enough to see his works – including Hollyhock House (built in 1921) in Los Angeles and the Calori House (1926) in Glendale, CA.

“Hollyhock House is an architectural tour de force,” says Patti. “Massive in scale, it’s built out of hollow clay tiles and wood covered in stucco – revolutionary materials at the time. The walls are decorated with hollyhocks – the favorite flower of oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, who commissioned the house.”

Wright said that the house was inspired by Mayan temples and dubbed its style “California Romanza” – meaning “freedom to make one’s own form.”

Patti also saw the architect’s Taliesin West studio in Scottsdale, Arizona, where Wright spent the winter months. It epitomized his minimalist approach to non-essentials. The “closet” he and his wife shared was just a single rod that could only hold a few garments. Whenever they bought a new article of clothing, they discarded something on the rod to make room for it.

The eight Wright buildings designated as World Heritage Sites are: Unity Temple (Oak Park, IL), Robie House (Chicago, IL), Taliesin (Spring Green, WI), Hollyhock House (Los Angeles), Fallingwater (Mill Run, PA), Jacobs House (Scottsdale, AZ), Taliesin West (Scottsdale), and the Guggenheim Museum (New York).

Like Wright’s Fallingwater house, perched above the flowing waters, each site is unique and impressive in its own way and is well deserving of this highest honor that a cultural landmark can receive.

Representing a time of American growth and endless opportunities, Frank Lloyd Wright was as iconic as his creations.

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