Fly, Fly, Birdie!

Saving the Northern Bald Ibis

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

The Northern Bald Ibis was a common sight throughout Europe until the 17th Century when widespread hunting made the large migratory bird, known for its red face and curved red bill, virtually extinct.

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But the Ibis is flying high again as part of the European Union’s mission to “rewild” Europe and create natural spaces where wildlife can flourish. It’s doing this through a series of Reason for Hope: Life + Biodiversity Projects designed to stop the decline in various wildlife species, including the Ibis.

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SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel were excited to learn that the Ibis population is now up to 80 birds with a projected goal of 120 birds by 2019.

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This wouldn’t be possible without the Austrian-based conservation group Waldrappteam, which is breeding Ibis chicks in captivity at the Salzburg Zoo.

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Made up of scientists of all types – zoologists, environmental engineers, avian medicine specialists, and more – plus researchers, technicians and volunteers, the team raises and nurtures the chicks, getting them ready to be introduced into the wild.

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The group’s work isn’t easy, by any means. Especially since the new chicks need to be taught to migrate from their home in Austria to wintering grounds in Italy…a journey of 800 miles, flying over the Alps.

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Without adult birds to show the fledglings what route to take, their human “foster parents” at Waldrappteam have taken on the task, bonding with the baby birds and building trust until it’s time for the migration.

Then, in August – in a feat that’s amazing to accomplish and even more amazing to see – the foster parents literally guide the Ibises to Italy, leading the way in paraplanes (motorized ultralight planes with parachute canopies).

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It’s hard to imagine – the human guides, literally floating in the air high above the mountains, unprotected from the elements, surrounded by the birds. With the Ibises flying in formation and the brightly-colored parachute keeping the open-structured plane aloft, the trip takes 20-days.

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It’s incredible what can happen
when birds of a feather – and man – flock together.

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Ron Croci Book is Bodacious!

The Illustrated Atlas of Surfing History

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

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Famed surf artist Ron Croci is a multimedia artist with over 40 years of commercial and fine art experience whose paintings are in galleries around the world.

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Ever since meeting Ron a few years ago at the International Surfing Museum in Huntington Beach SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel have been big fans.

 

A true waterman, Croci’s love of surfing and diving comes through in all of his paintings, which are energetic blends of color and movement.

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So, when Croci told SurfWriter Girls that his new book, The Illustrated Atlas of Surfing History (written by Joel Smith and Illustrated by Croci), was out, we were excited to see his latest creation.

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For the Illustrated Atlas, Smith (a documentary filmmaker and TV writer-producer)) and Croci speculate on just how far back surfing goes. To before the early Polynesians.

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To ancient Egypt and Syria 10,000 years ago. Or maybe even to the Stone Age.

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With each page in the book, Croci’s illustrations vividly bring the history of surfing to life.

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Croci, who got his start in advertising and film, helped design over 200 ads for the likes of 7-Up, Swatch watches, and Quiksilver’s Roxy division and worked on the design teams for close to 50 films from The Blues Brothers to Planet of the Apes and Ghostbusters. He’s also been in high demand as a book illustrator.

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When it comes to using a pencil, brush or stylus, there isn’t anything Croci can’t do!

The Illustrated Atlas of Surfing History shows just how talented Ron Croci is… taking you right into the barrel of the waves.

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Kevin Nelson – Environmental Activist

Working to Conserve Nature’s Magic

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Environmental activist Kevin Nelson supports the causes he’s passionate about, such as keeping the 401-acre Banning Ranch in Newport Beach, California as a protected area for endangered wildlife, including the Burrowing Owl, California Gnatcatcher and Cactus Wren.

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This led him to found the non-profit Nature Commission in 2014, an organization focused on “sustainability, local habitat conservation, and wilderness preservation.”

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kn-4The commission has been working to protect fragile ecosystems throughout California in Orange County, Riverside, San Diego and San Luis Obispo. Nelson knows these places well.

Many times he slips away from the confines of the city to get close to the natural landscapes he loves… Sometimes he just goes where his feet take him.

Recently he was drawn to the desert and “simply picked remote pieces of land to explore and photograph. To me there is no better pastime. Not even close.”

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dsc06630-3abSurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel know that Nelson isn’t one to sit by when there’s a job to be done. Like protecting the habitat of this little burrowing owl.

kn-1Nelson, who grew up in Newport Beach, says, “As a life-long surfer and wanderer of lesser-known corners of the west, I founded the Nature Commission as a way to pay back for the many inspiring moments wilderness has given me.”

He notes that “many of those priceless experiences are due to the wisdom and work of individuals in government and the private sector who acted with immense vision to conserve large swaths of nature’s magic.”

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The Nature Commission is “working towards greater preservation of nature for its own sake, as well as the rights of future generations to their fair share of the planet.”

Banning Ranch (a former oil field where migratory birds stop now) and the San Mateo Creek wilderness area bordering Orange and San Diego County are just two of the sites that Nelson is trying to save from bulldozers and developers.

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Economists since the 19th Century have talked about the value of land in terms of its financial use and economic productivity. But, what about the natural and esthetic values of land?

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Growing up near the ocean in Orange County, Nelson appreciates the region’s raw, undisturbed coastal landscapes. Calling them “magnificent,” he’s worried about the damage “a few more decades of development like the last few will yield.”

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In a Los Angeles Times Daily Pilot article Nelson writes, “The relentless pressure for more development has been allowed to rule while other priorities and values are left to struggle.” He knows the Internet can bring people together and is “interested in using this platform to host issues, citizen activism, personal insights, great stories and big ideas” in support of the environment.

Ultimately, Nelson hopes we all become “Nature Commissioners” – people who care about protecting the environment – and help turn the tide against the drive to pave over the world’s wilderness locales.

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In 1865, when the West was mostly a vast, uncharted region, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley wrote these famous words: “Go West, young man, Go west and grow up with the country.”

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Now that the West has grown up we need to ensure that some of those open spaces where a man or woman can have room to dream and plants and animals can thrive are protected.

Kevin Nelson is just the one to fight for that!

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Thanks to the Nature Commission and other contributors for photos

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It’s SHAG Party Time!

Retro/Tiki Artist Has The Right Moves

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

With the holidays here, it’s time for parties.

josh-agleTo keep the good times rolling and jazz things up, all it takes is a little help from renowned 60’s retro and tiki artist Josh Agle (AKA “Shag“).

shag-party-book2SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel recently came across the ultimate party book SHAG Party – Cocktails and Appetizers to Seduce and Entertain.

Written by tiki and mixology expert Adam Rocke and illustrated by Shag, it has everything you need to host a cool party.

cocktail-shakerWhether it’s a Bongo Beat Bash you’re after, South of the Border shindig or Seduction for Two evening, this little gem of a book has you covered.

For your Bongo Beat Bash

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why not start the festivities off with a Kool Kat Cooler or shake up the perfect Mondo Martini?

That’s sure to put your guests in a party mood.

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Follow it with Crab Bake de Beauvoir and some Hot Dates appetizers and you will be ready to light the tiki torches.

 

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On South of the Border night

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there’s nothing like a pitcher of Sangria to get the joint jumping or a classic Margarita.

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Then heat things up with Old Baja Guacamole and Jalapeno Poppers.

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dsc06525To liven things up even more SurfWriter Girl Patti’s husband Greg Kishel makes his special quick and easy tostadas.

Just top a warm tortilla with heated refried beans and diced onions, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, salsa and cheddar cheese. Olé! It’s a fiesta! Perfect for one or big enough to share.

For your Seduction for Two evening

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Rocke and Shag have pulled out the stops with an array of cocktails – Love, Affair to Remember, and more.

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The menu is perfect for a battle (and truce) of the sexes – Hot Brie from Mars and Caviar from Venus.

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dsc01386-2-aAnd that’s not all, as they say in TV commercials. The SHAG Party book includes drinks and appetizers for five other parties to keep you going through the holidays and well beyond.

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Plus, if this isn’t enough, check out the duo’s other retro/tiki party books. In no time at all, you’ll be the “host with the most.”

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Wyland – A Whale of an Artist!

Painter’s Canvas is Larger than Life

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Big, bigger…Wyland! The paintings of world renowned marine life artist Robert Wyland are instantly recognizable, both for their vivid style and massive size.

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wyland-on-boat-divingIn the art world nobody does it bigger or better than Wyland, who just celebrated his 60th birthday this past summer (July 9th).

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Since 1981 when he painted the first of his Whaling Walls life-size whales on the side of a Laguna Beach, California building, Wyland has been enthralling audiences with his visions of the life beneath the sea.

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Not one to be limited to an artist’s canvas, Wyland’s paintings of whales, sea turtles, dolphins, colorful fish, and more have adorned all types of buildings (the 100th Whaling Wall was painted in 2008) …

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books, calendars, clothing…

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jewelry and even specialty license plates and postage stamps.

In addition to being an artist, Wyland is an explorer, scuba diver, entrepreneur and educator.

Whether it’s hosting Wyland’s Ocean World on the Discovery Channel, working with the United Nations or the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Wyland can be found enjoying and sharing his love of the ocean.

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SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that Wyland believes in promoting conservation and giving back. In 1993 he created the non-profit Wyland Foundation to help “children and families around the nation to rediscover the importance of healthy oceans and waterways through public art programs, classroom science education, and live events.”

wyland-foundation-logoThe foundation has worked with more than a million children, giving them tools to “become more creative, positive, and solution-oriented.” The Annual Wyland National Art Challenge encourages children to create murals, artwork and photographs that highlight environmental awareness.

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Now Wyland is celebrating his 20th anniversary of collaborating with a partner that’s also larger than life and known for boundless imagination – Disney.

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The Little Mermaid Ariel, Clownfish Nemo, Mickey Mouse, and other Disney characters have all been immortalized in Wyland’s signature style.

In the song Under the Sea Sebastian, the Jamaican crab, sings to Ariel:

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Just look at the world around you
Right here on the ocean floor
Such wonderful things surround you
What more is you lookin’ for?

 

This is a song that’s clearly music to Wyland’s ears.

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Find Your Fall Fashion Style!

Classic Tips from Belinda Barnard

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

autumn-leaves-fashionWith autumn leaves on the ground and the smell of pumpkin spice latte in the air, it’s time to think of fall fashions. Even in laid-back SoCal – where no one dresses formally or needs winter coats – it’s still nice to pull off a little style.

So, SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel went to a fashion expert to get some style tips – our friend Belinda Barnard, a former high-fashion model with photo credits in Glamour and other top fashion magazines.

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Barnard, a competitive swimmer who grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and studied and worked in Seattle, started modeling at thirteen and was represented by the prestigious Wilhelmina talent agency.dsc06737

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She worked with some of the world’s leading photographers, including the highly respected Jim Hadley and internationally-known Billy Pegram.

She also did something almost unheard of in the youth-obsessed fashion industry – maintain a successful modeling career for 30 years.

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The secret to Barnard’s success is something we all can do – developing her own look. Rather than trying to copy others or going with the “flavor of the month” styles, she was herself, unique and one-of-a-kind. That made photographers and designers want to work with her.

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“I always tried to add my own twist to a look,” Barnard told SurfWriter Girls. “A ‘Belinda twist’ that made the fashions stand out. It could be a hat, a flower in my hair or an accessory. A look or stance that caught people’s eyes.”

What’s your style? Beachy? Casual? Button-downed? Punk? Glam?

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Harper’s Bazaar agrees that it’s up to you, whether it’s retro chic or heavy metal. Style is personal. It’s nice to have so many choices.

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Whatever yours is, with California’s sun, surf and salty breezes taking a toll on everyone’s skin, SurfWriter Girls know skin care is critical. Talking to Barnard about this, we were surprised to learn what her favorite skin care product is. Nothing upscale or fancy, it’s Oil of Olay. “The glycerin in the cream keeps the moisture in your skin,” Barnard explained.

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“And always keep it simple,” Barnard advises. “Think of Grace Kelly. She was always elegant without appearing to try. One time she went to the Oscars with just one simple necklace as her accessory, while most of the other actresses were covered in jewels.”

Throughout Barnard’s modeling days she was always open to new opportunities. This includes representing Neiman Marcus as its Essence of Giving Model. Barnard also helped other models build their careers, giving them tips and advice. And, when she wasn’t modeling, she explored other creative careers. As a theatrical makeup artist for the Long Beach Civic Light Opera Youth Conservatory and the Courts Manager for the John Wayne Tennis Club in Newport Beach.

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Helping others has been a common thread throughout her life, dating back to her college days when she majored in pre-med. Now, after many detours along the way, Barnard has come full circle and returned to the medical field as a physician’s assistant, helping patients prepare for and recover from surgery.

Belinda Barnard is living proof that true beauty is internal more than external. And, when you have your own style, fashion is ageless…especially when you add a “twist of Belinda.”

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New Sea Creatures in CA and Hawaii

Denizens of the Deep Surprise and Delight Scientists

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

Photographs from the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway in California.

This summer a googly-eyed, bright purple squid that looks like a child’s lost toy was found off California’s coast, 3,000 feet under the sea.

Scientists on board the Exploration Vessel Nautilus research ship, funded by the nonprofit Ocean Exploration Trust, could hardly contain their glee when they viewed the remote video feed of the adorable creature.

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The unexpected find was ultimately determined to be a stubby squid (Rossia pacifica). Its large eyes enable it to see better in the ocean’s depths by gathering as much light as possible.

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Meanwhile, across the Pacific Ocean other discoveries were being made just months earlier. A never-before-seen ghost octopus… and a giant, minivan-sized sea sponge.

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Researchers aboard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s ship Okeanos Explorer announced sightings of new sea life found in the deep sea waters of Hawaii.

They were found in Hawaii’s 582,578 square mile Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

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Using a remotely-operated vehicle to navigate the protected waters of this oceanic World Heritage site, the Okeanos Explorer crew recorded video of a pale, ghost-like octopus more than 40,000 meters under the sea. That’s more than 2.5 miles down and, according to NOAA, is the “deepest observation of this type of cephalopod (octopus).”

casper-the-ghost-octopusGelatinous in appearance with few muscles and no  pigmentation, NOAA says the octopus “may not belong to any described genus.” Its similarity to a well-known ghost has earned it the nickname “Casper.”

The little ghost octopus even made an appearance in Alex Hallatt’s popular cartoon strip Arctic Circle.

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The Okeanos Explorer‘s other new discovery, a giant sponge, is the size of a mini-van. It was spotted at a depth of 7,000-feet and and is so large that the crew had to keep panning the video camera to take it all in and figure out what they were looking at.

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“With a mass more than 3.5 meters long, 2 meters high and 1.5 meters wide, this creature may be centuries old,” says NOAA scientist Daniel Wagner, who made the discovery with biologist Christopher Kelley.

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The sponge may have grown so large due to the region of the ocean where it lives, Wagner suggests.

“We expect this environment to be very stable, one of the most pristine places on Earth — giving it a chance to flourish.”

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that making discoveries like this is what the E/V Nautilus and Okeanos Explorer were both designed to do.

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The 211-ft. E/V Nautilus, operated under the direction of Dr. Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic and the sunken German battleship Bismarck, is committed to exploring the uncharted parts of the ocean and making new discoveries.

NOAA’s 224-ft Okeanos Explorer has a similar mission: “to systematically explore our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge.” The former Navy ship has traveled the world – from the Indonesian Coral Triangle to the Marianas Trench, the Galapagos Islands and Mid-Cayman Rise, studying geological formations, marine life, and more.

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And now, because of these ships’ continuing journeys beyond the boundaries of civilization, a lovable squid and two new life forms have been found just beyond the camera’s lens…

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hidden in the ocean’s depths.

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America’s Newest National Monument!

Coral Canyons and Seamounts

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Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

pres-obamaEnvironmentalists are celebrating America’s newest national monument – New England’s Coral Canyons and Seamounts marine ecosystem, located 150 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. President Obama declared the 6,000 sq.mi. area a national monument site on September 15, 2016.

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The sea region provides food and shelter for numerous species of fish and other sea life and contains majestic seamounts rising as high as 7,000 feet from the ocean floor – higher than any mountains east of the Rockies.

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal, an advocate for the monument, said, “There is no better time than this year—the 100th anniversary of our national park system—to establish another ‘blue park’.”

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Making this precious ocean site a national monument will preserve and protect it against oil and gas exploration and industrial fishing and ensure that equipment and pollution don’t damage the fragile environment.

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More than 200 scientists, researchers, educators, and organizations, including the National Geographic Society, spoke out in favor of the monument designation.

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“Protecting special places like this provides an especially important buffer against the impacts of climate change,” said Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen, in reaction to the news.

Oceanographer Philippe Cousteau called it “A great day for our water planet!’

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that there are close to 75 types of coral in the Coral Canyons and Seamounts area and 1,000 different kinds of marine life.

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NOAA’s ROV Deep Discover or D2 for short explorers an underwater “forest” of corals. It takes hundreds of years for corals to grow as big as the ones we found in Heezen Canyon. Some deepwater corals are believed to live as long as 6,000 years.

Sea turtles, sharks and endangered sperm whales populate the pristine waters.

Green Sea Turtle. Chelonia mydas. Maui, Hawaii, USA.

seamounts-mapThe four huge seamounts themselves are the only ones found in U.S. Atlantic waters…and are a critical part of this deep sea ecosystem.

Wilderness advocate Arlo Hemphill said, “I think the designation is fantastic, a long-coming win for many hard-working conservationists and organizations that have fought for this for years.”

“The Inland Ocean Community is thrilled,” Vicki N. Goldstein, Founder and Director, Colorado Ocean Coalition, told SurfWriter Girls. “This new designation provides needed permanent protection in a region that has unique formations, cold water corals , and a variety of whales and other marine mammals.”

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The monument got a warm welcome in other countries, too. Dr. Tomas Tomascik, former National Science Advisor for Canada’s Parks Canada Agency, said to SurfWriter Girls, “This is a great contribution by the USA to the conservation of Atlantic deep-sea coral communities and the biodiversity associated with these amazing but fragile deep-water systems.”

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In addition to the scientific community, more than 300,000 people signed petitions on behalf of the Canyons/Seamounts proposal.

Such broad support for the ocean monument is something that Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, Founder of Blue Mind Life, is excited to see. His organization’s goal is to connect people to water. “Beyond economic and scientific reasons for preserving our ocean, humans have a creative and calming connection with the big blue,” he shared with SurfWriter Girls.

Coral Canyons and Seamounts is an ocean treasure not to be wasted. And, now that it is a national monument, it won’t be. Thus providing a window on the sea and on ourselves.

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We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea,
whether it is to sail or to watch,
we are going back from whence we came.

– John F. Kennedy

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Banning Ranch Vote Is In!

Owls 9: Developers 1

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Written By SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

dsc06610Spartacus – a tiny rescue owl with an epic name – stood patiently on his perch surveying the crowds outside the California Coastal Commission meeting in Newport Beach on Wednesday, September 7, where the fate of the proposed Banning Ranch development project was being decided.

With his damaged eye and beak, Spartacus, a burrowing owl the size of a man’s hand who lives at the Orange County Bird of Prey Center, stood in silent testimony to the need to save Newport Beach’s 401-acre Banning Ranch property from residential and commercial development that would threaten the home of the burrowing owls and other endangered species that live on the coastal land.

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Hundreds of people turned out for the public meeting, which started at 9 a.m. and lasted more than 13 hours.

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Spectators stood along the walls and filled an extra, overflow room. More than 400 people signed up to speak.

 

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Prior to the meeting Steve Ray, Executive Director of the Banning Ranch Conservancy, told SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel, “All of us working together are going to save Banning Ranch.”

And, finally, when the vote was taken late into the night, demonstrators against the project cheered. The commissioners voted 9 -1 against the proposed development, which would have put 895 homes, 45,000 sq. ft. of retail space, a hotel, and more on the site.

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After a 20-year battle, environmentalists who want the oil company land restored and preserved, could breathe a sigh of relief and celebrate.

dsc06626Protesters of the development included the Sierra Club, environmental organizations and representatives of the Native American Nations, who view the Banning Ranch land as sacred.

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Darrel Ferguson and Tony Soriano, chairpersons of the Surfrider Foundation’s Newport Beach and Huntington/Seal Beach chapters, showed up to protest the development. Soriano said, “The Surfrider Foundation is about protecting the natural environment for everyone to enjoy.”

dsc06621Merle Moshiri, of local organization Residents for Responsible Desalination, said, “We share the victory of the Banning Ranch Conservancy, but we have to remain vigilant. There’s too much exquisite land for developers to give up on.” Quoting the late Peter Douglas, the commission’s executive director for 26 years, she added: “’The coast is never saved, It is always Being saved.’”

Information booths were set up outside the civic center including one where people could make their own handmade signs.

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The Coastal Commission’s acting executive director Jack Ainsworth told the audience he had made a promise that “our recommendations are based on facts, sound science and the law.” He emphasized “It is critically important that we get it right because we may not get a second chance.”

bird-in-flowers-2aAlong with the owls, 93 species of birds and many endangered wildlife reside in Banning Ranch and it is a resting point for migratory birds. (See SurfWriter Girls previous story in Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine. Just click: Owls)

In making its ruling, the commission said that the developer Newport Banning Ranch LLC can resubmit another proposal in six months.

Like his historical namesake who led a rebellion against the Roman army in 73 B.C., Spartacus, the owl, showed that he could win against a powerful force, too.

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The little owl and its endangered brethren prevailed, charming people’s hearts.

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Owls in Newport Sanctuary At Risk

Developers Have Eye on Banning Ranch

Give A Hoot!

burrowing owl

Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

save banning ranch banner

Banning Ranch, a 401-acre stretch of private land that parallels the Santa Ana River and ends at the Pacific Coast Highway above Newport Beach, CA may not look like much…just scrub brush, wildflowers, cactus, wetlands, and some oil pumps. But, to developers it’s a potential goldmine.

oil well in banning ranch

banning ranch site

 

 

 

 

And, to the Burrowing Owls that live there it’s home.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

BR Plan 7_11_2016

Now that home – where the owls nest, hunt for food and raise their young – is threatened by a ruling in May from the California Coastal Commission that deems Banning Ranch “appropriate” for development…

with 895 homes, 45,000 sq.ft. of retail space and a hotel possibly going on the site. Plus a sports park and skateboard park, two parking lots and 4-lane, 50 mph roadway.  (The developer Newport Banning Ranch LLC wants 1,375 houses.)

The ruling is controversial not only for going against staff recommendations to reject the project, but because it came after the firing of previous coastal commissioner Charles Lester, which upset environmentalists, who fear the commission is becoming politicized.

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Now, on September 7 the Coastal Commission is voting on whether or not to approve the project.

Steve Ray, executive director of the Banning Ranch Conservancy, says the commission’s current recommendation underestimates the amount of natural habitat the owls need to survive. He notes that it fails to consider the owls’ daily activities. “The birds don’t just need a place to sit on a bush where their nest is. They need to forage and disperse.”

group of owls foragingCentennial logo

SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel learned that the Burrowing Owls are federally protected in the U.S., Canada and Mexico by the U.S. Migratory Birds Treaty Act.

They are also considered to be at risk at the state level and, depending on the state, are designated as “endangered,” “threatened,” or a “species of concern” (in California).

What’s more, the owls aren’t alone.

To date 93 species of birds have been identified at Banning Ranch, including the endangered California Gnatcatcher and Cactus Wren.

Cactus Wren -- Tahana Chule Park, Tuscon, Arizona -- September 12th, 2006

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Assorted mammals, reptiles, amphibians and aquatic creatures live there, too. If the development proceeds, these animals and many of the site’s native plants could be threatened.

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In addition to serving as a home to the Burrowing Owls and other animals, Banning Ranch is an important stop for migrating and wintering birds, who are increasingly finding fewer and fewer places to rest and nest in today’s urbanized environment.

nigrating birds

After more than a century of development in Southern California, Banning Ranch is one of those rare stopping points and is the largest parcel of coastal open space and wetland property remaining in Orange County.

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Banning wetlands

Banning Ranch images by Nature Commission

Tongvaki

Along with this, SurfWriter Girls found out that Banning Ranch was once a ritual and trading hub for the Tongva and Acjachemen Native American Nations. Eight Native American cultural sites have been identified at the ranch.

Some sites, estimated to date back over 3,000 years, are so significant that they have been listed as “sacred land” by the California State Native American Heritage Commission.

Earth-Moving-Equipment

Any proposed development would have to ensure that these ancient sites are protected – a difficult task considering the project requires moving 2.8 million cubic yards of earth as part of the planned grading activities.

Given all this, do we really need another real estate development on Orange County’s coast? How many more shops, restaurants, coffeehouses and bars do we want?reduce-your-carbon-footprint

How big will our carbon footprint be? How much increased water usage, energy consumption and urban pollution can we tolerate?

Big_Yellow_TaxiNow is a good time to think about the lyrics in Joni MItchell’s song Big Yellow Taxi:

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

The California Coastal Commission is meeting again on September 7, 2016, at 9 a.m. in the Newport Beach City Council Chambers, 100 Civic Center Drive, N.B., 92660, to vote on the fate of Banning Ranch.

Will anyone speak for the owls? Hoo?

cactus flowers help banner

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

Please post your comment below. Comments will appear the next day.

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.