March 4, 2015

Happy Birthday Channel Islands National Park!

Tomorrow, March 5th marks the 35th anniversary of Channel Islands National Park!  Help us celebrate these five remarkable islands and surrounding waters that comprise the park with a deep dive UP the lookout tower at the Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center in Ventura Harbor.

In conjunction with the park anniversary the newly completed ocean exhibit will be officially opened to the public Thursday, March 5th starting at 4:30pm with a ribbon cutting at 5:30 pm.  Local dignitaries and park personnel will be on hand to welcome visitors and answer questions.  

Not to be missed, these new exhibits interpret the ocean resources and marine reserves found within the national park and surrounding national marine sanctuary.  The space lends itself naturally to transformation into an underwater world where visitors can climb through different sea levels from the deep sea to the ocean surface.  

So come celebrate with us!  And while here, stop in the book store and explore the tidepool exhibit or read about the endangered Island Fox and its remarkable and unprecedented story of recovery.

There is much to see and much to CELEBRATE!

January 21, 2015

Pirates of the Caribbean ala' Ventura Harbor!

Every kid out there remembers playing pirate!  Black patch over one eye, and a hearty drawl of 'Matey' completes the image for many of us with, of course, the imaginary parrot on our shoulder calling 'Polly want a cracker'!

So what's keeping you from playing kid again?  Now through February 1st, Ventura Harbor is hosting both the Hawaiian Chieftain and The Lady Washington.  These majestic tall ships are replicas of ships that plied the seas in the 1800's.  

Want to learn more or step on deck?  While the tall ships are at the harbor, dockside tours offer people a chance to peek around the ships and talk to the volunteer and paid personnel from Grays Harbor Historical Seaport, who dress in period clothing and answer questions about life at sea centuries ago.

The dockside tours run from 4-5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays on both ships and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays on one ship. 

So unleash your inner child and bring your kids too!  Its a great day of learning about life at sea.  And while you're at the harbor, take some time to visit Channel Islands National Park headquarters at the very end of Spinnaker Drive.  Join National Park Service rangers in the visitor center as they show and tell about the many fascinating animals and plants in the marine life exhibit or have a seat in the auditorium and marvel at the beauty of the islands watching Treasure in the Sea. 

There is much to see and even more to learn!  Bring the family and make a day of it at Ventura Harbor!

October 21, 2014

Art & Poetry Extraordinaire!

Each year the California Coastal Commission hosts an art and poetry contest open to California residents in kindergarten through 12th grades.  And each year the talent and creativity of these young artists and poets is phenomenal!  

This year is no exception and you can see for yourself just how beautiful their work is by visiting the Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center on Spinnaker Drive in Ventura Harbor.  On display you'll see over 30 pieces of art and poetry that were selected as winners from 2,331 entries. 

The contest is held annually to encourage youth to reflect on the beauty and spirit of California's coasts and ocean. Through this effort the California Coastal Commission hopes to inspire a greater sense of appreciation and stewardship for these natural places.

Want to be a part of the contest next year?  Visit the California Coastal Commission website for more information!

October 7, 2014

Peregrin Falcons Experience Recovery on the California Channel Islands!

Biologist Dr. Peter Sharpe with the Institute for Wildlife Studies will discuss the recovery of peregrine falcons on the California Channel Islands during the October From Shore to Sea lecture. 

Today, there are at least 45 pairs of peregrine falcons holding territories with successful nests on eight islands following their extirpation in 1955 as a result of the effects of DDT.

Historically, peregrine falcons were common residents on all eight of the California Channel Islands. Their numbers plummeted across much of the northern hemisphere starting in the late 1940s. Banning of DDT and nearly 30 years of effort to recover peregrine falcons are beginning to show spectacular results.

Sharpe will give an overview of the history of peregrine falcons on the Channel Islands, including the cause of their disappearance from the islands and efforts made to restore a breeding population. He will summarize the results of the ongoing survey efforts that are helping us better understand their current status.

Sharpe received his PhD in zoology from Colorado State University in 1998. He has been directing the bald eagle restoration program on the Channel Islands for the nonprofit Institute for Wildlife Studies since 1997. Additionally, Sharpe has taken part in the research and management of other species found on the islands, including the island fox, golden eagle, osprey, and loggerhead shrike.

The talk will be held on October 8, 2014. The From Shore to Sea lecture series is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding marine waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 pm on the second Wednesday of March, April, May, September, October, and November at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive in Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

September 23, 2014

We Love This Project!

Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to marvel at the images captured by award winning environmental photographer Antonio Busiello.  We wrote about his efforts to crowdfund publication of a collection through a Kickstarter campaign and we excitedly watched as  backers committed to the effort.  Unfortunately time expired on the project before it could fund.

But now, Mr Busiello has reinvigorated the project and we are pleased to announce Underwater Colors of the Channel Islands Kickstarter campaign is live again!
By award winning photographers Antonio Busiello and Cesare Naldi Underwater Colors of the Channel Islands is a stunning, limited-edition photography book displaying the colorful and exotic marine life in the waters along the Channel Islands. And this book is more than just gorgeous photography.  Marine biologists Dr. Rachel Cartwright and Dr. Alison Wall, and ecologist Dr. Angela Chapman, have collaborated to provide descriptions and fun facts so readers young and old can learn about these fragile ecosystems.  For a limited time, the book is available exclusively through Kickstarter along with other items unique to the Kickstarter campaign

Because a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to Channel Islands Park Foundation you can help your favorite National Park while at the same time, explore its beauty and diversity from the comfort of your living room!

Photographed over a period of 3 years Antonio and Cesare captured moments at Anacapa, Santa Cruz, San Clemente, Santa Barbara and Santa Catalina islands. 

We asked Mr Busiello how the book's cover image came to be:

"The idea was to show in one single picture the beauty of Anacapa Island above and below the water. It took me many attempts. I needed great visibility, strong sun in the sky and calm water for the reflection of the arch on the ocean surface. After many visits and many failed tries, finally on a beautiful day in October the conditions were perfect!  I jumped in the water and got the shot I had waited so long to capture!"

You can imagine the time and patience needed to compile the imagery for a project like Underwater Colors of the Channel Islands. And now through the power of crowd funding sites like Kickstarter you can be a part of bringing the project to print!  

For more information on the artists visit and be sure to explore his Facebook page!

September 22, 2014

A Polar Bear Costume?

Seriously?  A Polar Bear Costume?  Seems there is no end to the stuff that ends up on our local beaches rather than in a proper waste receptacle.  This year the 30th Annual Coastal Cleanup was again a great success for our waterways and marine life... over 54,000 volunteers picked up over 576,000 pounds of trash and another 110,000 pounds of recyclables.  

And right here in Ventura Harbor at our very own Harbor Cove Beach Clean Up hosted by Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands Park Foundation, 212 volunteers collected nearly 500 pounds of trash and over 100 pounds of recyclables!

This year there were over 20 cleanup events sponsored throughout Ventura County with 2,785 people participating. Preliminary results show they covered nearly 38 miles of coastline collecting 7,290 pounds of trash and 1,174 pounds of recyclables.  Oh.. and somewhere in Ventura County, one of these amazing volunteers found a polar bear costume!

Not everything collected is so exotic though.  Since 1989, cigarette butts are the top item collected during California Coastal Cleanup Day, accounting for 39% of every debris item ever picked up.  While they may look soft and cotton-like, cigarette filters are made of plastic (cellulose acetate).  Wildlife may eat them causing the animal to choke or starve to death because the plastic isn't digested.  And toxic chemicals leach out of cigarette butts into our waterways—in a study done recently at San Diego State University, the chemicals from just one filtered cigarette butt had the ability to kill half the fish living in a 1-liter container of water.

Read all the stats from the 30th Annual California Coastal Cleanup here, including the most unusal items found!

September 13, 2014

The Beach Just Flew the White Surrender Bag...

Every year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State's largest volunteer event, California Coastal Cleanup Day. 

In 2013, over 58,000 volunteers removed almost 750,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California's beaches, lakes, and waterways. Families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, service clubs, and individuals come together to celebrate and share their appreciation of these vital California resources.

This year, you can help remove debris from Harbor Cove Beach in Ventura CA!  Join Channel Islands National Park staff and volunteers as we comb this local beach for trash.  We'll meet at the very end of Spinnaker Drive in Ventura Harbor.  Bring a bag or bucket if you want and be sure to use sunblock or wear a hat.  Join us anytime between 9:00 am and noon. 

Vast amounts of plastic debris litter the world's oceans causing all manner of harm, and most of this debris comes from land. Our beaches are collecting spots for trash from city streets and highways. Trash travels - via inland waterways, storm drains, sewers, and on the wind, and eventually ends up on the coast. If not removed, this debris will end up in the ocean. Beach cleanups are a last line of defense - to prevent debris from causing harm to our oceans, to wildlife, to our coastal economies, and even to beach-goers.

For more information on the damage marine debris causes each year and how you can make a difference click here.