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Introducing the HWF Monthly Newsletter

We know that life can be pretty hectic sometimes. So we’re putting together a monthly newsletter to stay in touch with those of you that cannot find the time to read a full blog twice a month. Each month, we will highlight the work we are doing to protect and preserve our wilderness, stories from the field, and breaking news. We hope that you will continue to follow us on our journey in support of HWF. We know that it is readers like you who make a difference in the world!

From the Far Reaches of Space to the Bottom of the Ocean Floor— We’ve got you covered.

School is out and summer is in full swing! This past July was a busy month for HWF. We visited the California Science center to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, took photos of birds and sea slugs at the Bolsa Chica wetlands, went on two whale watching trips in the Santa Barbara Channel, and attended a screening of Violet is Blue, a movie which demonstrates the incredible work being done at the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita.

Buzz Aldrin walks the moon. Photo courtesy of NASA.

To The Moon and Beyond

During the CSC screening of the Apollo 11 film, HWF was fortunate enough to meet Poppy Northcutt, a mathematician and engineer contracted by TRW Systems to work with NASA on the Apollo program and one of the first women to work in the control room during Apollo. The first lunar landing paved the way for a total of 12 astronauts to walk the surface of the moon. While the last physical exploration of this celestial body happened more than 40 years ago, human curiosity remains a constant. We are a species whose science, literature, art, and culture have posited the mysteries that lie beyond our world. One can almost be certain, that the moon is only the first step in a continuous journey that will unfold the unknowns of the multi-verse.

Violet is Blue: An Evening in Celebration of Gibbons

This Past July, Our director, Alex Havasi, and his wife, Marilyn Fordney were invited by Gabriella Skollar, Director of the Gibbon Conservation Center to the premiere of a documentary, “Violet Is Blue.”

Gabrielle Skollar, Alex Havasi, and Marilyn Fordney

at the screening of Violet Is Blue.

This award-winning film production tells the story of Violet, A gibbon living at the GCC, and short tales from her fellow gibbons. At the film’s start, the audience hears the high-pitched sounds of the gibbon’s song as it resonates throughout the 10-acre campus. The song of the gibbons is an unforgettable sound that carries as far as 2 miles away! Watching this 40 -minute documentary truly brings you into the world of the gibbons. Located in the Santa Clarita Valley, the GCC houses a total of 38 gibbons spanning across five different species. We highly recommend this moving documentary and a visit to the Gibbon Conservation Center.To learn more about gibbons visit www.gibboncenter.org. If you are in the Southern California area, call Gabi and set up a tour to hear the songs of the gibbons in person. It is sure to be an unforgettable experience!

A Whale’s Tale

HWF Founder Alex Havasi and Volunteer Ashley Donovan have been on two whale watching expeditions this month and captured some amazing images while there.

Dolphins in the Santa Barbara Channel.

Photo by: Alex Havasi

The nutrient-rich waters of the Santa Barbara Channel attract hundreds of species of marine life and are one of the best spots in California to see orcas, dolphins, seals, and migrating whales. On their last expedition, Alex and Ashley captured enchanting footage of breaching whales, sea lions, and sea birds while they swam (and flew) around. It’s easy to see dolphins almost any time of year, but whale migration is seasonal, so if you’re interested in a trip to the sea make sure to plan ahead. On our whale watching excursions, we usually travel on the Condor Express because they guarantee a whale sighting or you get your money back! To learn more about whale watching in Southern California or to book your experience, visit their website.

Shrinking landscapes at Bolsa Chica

For over a decade Huntington Beach residents have watched as the wetlands around Bolsa Chica shrink. Increased demand for housing, oil wells, and urban development has pushed out several species and put pressure on ecological systems in this natural space.

Houses line the wetlands at Bolsa Chica.

Photo by Ashley Donovan.

Long before the Coastal Commission approved the development of 350 homes in 2005, burrowing owls (owls the size of squirrels) sheltered in the wetland’s hillsides. To get their plans approved, developers agreed to plant vegetation, build a hiking trail, and preserve owl habitats but to date, the projects have not been completed. Today, the once-booming burrowing owl population has vanished from Bolsa Chica and many are left wondering whether it is too late for them to return. Estuaries like Bolsa Chica act as the nesting and mating grounds for migrating birds and dozens of other species. As the demand for housing increases, it is important to provide alternatives for wildlife that allow them to survive and thrive alongside us.

Animal of the Month: The Brown Pelican

Have you ever seen a pelican on the beach and thought, “gosh that is one prehistoric-looking bird.” Well, you’re not alone! The earliest pelican fossil on record dates back 30 million years and while a lot has changed in over the millennia, pelicans today bear a striking resemblance to their prehistoric ancestors.

Brown Pelican photographed during HWF whale watch.

Photo by Alex Havasi

Measuring over 4 feet tall with huge beaks, webbed feet, and an expanding gulag pouch that is used to hold fish, pelicans evolved quickly and haven’t changed much since. These birds have sharp eyesight and can dive from a height of up to 65 feet to catch fish swimming below! Their gular pouches act as large fishing nets that expand to help them catch fish and contract when the birds are not hunting. Students from #KesterElementary have promised to help save pelicans and other birds by recycling plastics and keeping trash off the beach. Join us in protecting these impressive birds by curbing your own use of plastics and recycling! #HavasiWildernessFoundation #BrownPelican

Do You have Electronics you’d like to recycle? Help HWF and donate old electronics to Planet Green! Visit their website for details!

The Havasi Wilderness Foundation aims to expand conservation efforts, educate the next generation of environmental stewards, and encourage compassion for animals and the natural world. Help us achieve these goals by making a tax-deductible donation today. If you cannot afford a donation, that’s okay— take a walk outside, investigate the world around you, and share with others the importance of caring for our planet.

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