Archive | November, 2012

Havasi Wilderness Foundation’s Eco-Friendly Holiday Guide

Recycled wrapping paper. Via

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the holiday frenzy has officially descended upon us.  Although the holidays are often known as a time of generosity, they have a profound negative impact on the environment.

The nature of the technocentric society we live in today coupled with the economic systems that sustain multinational manufacturing amount to a considerable amount of waste generation over the holiday season, in addition to a surge in greenhouse gas emissions.  The holidays, however, don’t have to be such an assault on the environment.  Rest assured, you can still celebrate the holidays as you normally do and reduce your environmental impact.  All it takes is a few minor adjustments to normal holiday-time behaviors and rituals.

Look locally: we’re certainly not suggesting that you forgo giving gifts, and of course there are many items that currently do not have eco-friendly alternatives.  However, for some items on your holiday checklist, there are many viable options that have lesser environmental impact, such as handmade and artisan goods.

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The Dyemaker’s Puffball, aka the “Dog Turd” Fungus

Bizarre Fungus Resembles Animal Droppings

Pisolithus tinctorius: the Dyemaker’s Puffball, aka the “Dog Turd” Fungus

Fungi come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, though the most recognizable and familiar tend to be the toadstools, with the classic umbrella cap.  An incredibly diverse kingdom with somewhere between 1.5 and 5 million species , fungi are ubiquitous yet often quite inconspicuous.  Fungi often go unnoticed due to the bulk of their bodies, or mycelia, being located underground.  When we do notice fungi, it is often the fruiting body, or sporocarp, that emerges.  Commonly this fruiting body is a mushroom, although other forms include puffballs and morels.

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Welcome to our new site!

We are happy that you have made it to our new website!  2012 has been a pivotal year for Havasi Wilderness Foundation, and we wanted to mark the successes with a new and improved site.  We welcome you to take a look around.  Here on the home page you will find our newest blogs and articles.  Our wildlife galleries in the Explore section contain numerous species from California and worldwide, clearly labeled with common and scientific names for your referencing needs or simply for your viewing pleasure.  Don’t forget to check out the educational games: fun resources for kids and parents!  To learn more about the foundation and what we do, visit the About Us section.  Consider becoming a member, and join forces with a like-minded organization dedicated to inspiring people to preserve our ecosystems.  If there’s anything else you want to know, don’t hesitate to contact us!


Thanks for visiting Havasi Wilderness Foundation!



Carnivores Living in Fragmented Habitats

It comes as no surprise that natural areas are rapidly disappearing.  Urban and suburban sprawl continue to fragment open space into “islands,” or little disconnected pieces of intact habitat surrounded by human development.  Undoubtedly, this fragmentation has effects on the wildlife.  Several organizations and universities worldwide are studying the phenomenon of wildlife living in urban, suburban, and otherwise insular areas, with hopes of obtaining information to make wise and positive decisions for the future.

Coyotes (Canis latrans)

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has been conducting a carnivore study since 1996, with a goal of understanding how carnivores are living in an urbanized and fragmented landscape, and how they are affected by these forces.  Species of focus include mountain lions, bobcats, and coyotes.   Large carnivores inherently require vast home ranges, or tracts of habitats in which the animal lives and travels, in order to acquire resources and avoid interference with competing individuals.  This is more pronounced with solitary animals, including mountain lions and bobcats, who only live in the company of others during cubhood and mating.  In an area of limited connected natural habitat, the question arises, how are these animals with large home ranges making use of the land?  Do their home ranges encompass urban areas or require them to cross highways?  Are their populations affected by this limited amount of intact habitat?

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Fantastic Field Trips

Outdoor education programs funded by Havasi Wilderness Foundation underway at Topanga State Park

Since 2010, Havasi Wilderness Foundation has been helping to fund the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains’ outdoor education programs. Programs take place at Topanga State Park and Malibu Lagoon, each with their own unique focus. On Wednesday, October 17th, we visited a program at Topanga State Park, where children learn about the ecology and natural history of the Chaparral environment, and how the Native American tribes of the area lived off the land. Castlebay Lane Elementary’s 4th graders were participating in the field trip on this bright and sunny Wednesday.

Students from Castlebay Lane Elementary arrive at Topanga State Park

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Havasi Wilderness Foundation gives grant to California State University Channel Islands


The second largest of the California Channel Islands, Santa Rosa Island is a unique and invaluable site with a wealth of important natural resources and historical remains. The Arlington Springs Man, potentially the oldest remains of a human skeleton in the United States, was discovered on this island and is presumably twenty-six times older than American written history. Remains of the Pygmy Mammoth, a Pleistocene species unique to the Channel Islands, have been discovered on Santa Rosa Island as well. Presently, Santa Rosa Island is home to several species that are only found in the Channel Islands, including the critically endangered Island Fox.

This August the Havasi Wilderness Foundation gave a grant to California State University Channel Islands to support the initiation of a research and education project on Santa Rosa Island. CSUCI has begun a partnership with the National Park Service to collaborate on this project, however, additional funds were sought to provide logistical support and cover start-up costs for the project. Havasi Wilderness Foundation is enthusiastic about this project as it aligns with the foundation’s mission. Funds will help establish a research station on the island and implement hands-on educational programs in the fields of ecology, archaeology, and paleontology. Graduate and undergraduate students will gain fieldwork experience in this unique ecosystem and learn from professionals visiting the research station. Additionally, the project will provide information for making sound management decisions in the future regarding the ecology and natural resources of the island.