Friday, October 20, 2006

Our First 18 Months

President Pat Meyer presents a Friends of the Island Fox t-shirt to Jane Goodall, Ph.D., DBE (Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace) at the Roots & Shoots 4th Annual Peace Day.

Friends of the Island Fox, Inc. has reached its 18-month milestone as a nonprofit organization working for the conservation of the island fox on California’s Channel Islands.

The year and a half has gone by quickly but with your help, much has been accomplished. We have:

  • Donated funding for 10 fox radio collars to the Channel Islands National Park so 10 foxes could be returned to the wild.
  • Provided educational programs to schools, colleges and community groups.
  • Established an island fox education and conservation website.
  • Initiated the “Fox Ambassador School” program to establish schools in Ventura, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara Counties as conservation friends raising funds and public awareness about the fox in their communities.
  • Participated in the annual Integrated Island Fox Recovery Team Meeting
Roots & Shoots Peace Day doves

Friends of the Island Fox has also been out in the community spreading the word about the endangered island fox at:
  • Santa Barbara Zoo Fox Festival 2005 & 2006
  • Roots & Shoots 4th Annual Day of Peace with Jane Goodall
  • L.A. Zoo and Botanical Gardens’ Island Fox Festival 2005 & 2006
  • Catalina Island Conservancy’s Earth Day celebration and the opening of the Nature Center at Avalon Canyon.
  • Moorpark Teaching Zoo’s Spring Spectacular
  • Ventura Whale Festival

As we meet people in the community, we are discovering approximately 30% do not know there are islands off California, let alone island foxes. There is much to be done introducing Californians to our local natural treasures. You can’t help save an endangered species or its habitat if you don’t know it exists.

How can you help the endangered island fox?
  1. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about the island fox and its story.
  2. Make sure your pets are vaccinated and not allowed to run free in wild areas.
  3. Support measures to restore island habitat.
  4. Donate time, talent, or funds to Friends of the Island Fox and our efforts to support education, research and conservation measures to ensure the island fox’s survival.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Experiencing Santa Rosa Island, CA

Island Journal - Summer 2006

What an adventure! Santa Rosa Island’s windswept hillsides met the sea with white sand beaches.

We went to the island for the day and were fortunate to catch a ride with a Channel Island National Park docent who took us up to the lone stand of rare Santa Rosa Island Torrey pines. The small gathering of pine trees huddles on a single slope to the sea and no where else in the world.

Different from their closest relative on the mainland, this island species has smaller cones with larger pine nuts. Each pine nut was nearly the size of a shelled almond.

Would an island fox eat a pine nut?

Like so many plants and animals on the Channel Islands these trees are unique. Their dark green needles are long and thick and form a domed protection from the wind. Sheltered in this conifer oasis were house finches, Pacific slope flycatchers and a pair of San Clemente Island spotted towhees. We looked for island foxes, but didn’t see any.

The hike back to the dock wandered across grassy slopes and the remains of ranching. For thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans, the island fox was the largest land animal on the islands. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the native landscape had been altered by large grazing animals brought to this delicate island by people.

It was a jewel of a day. - Keri

Keri Dearborn is a Friends of the Island Fox, Inc. board member and a writer living in Los Angeles, CA.

The Santa Rosa Island fox needs your help.

A recent amendment to a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives directly effects Santa Rosa Island. It proposes the continued hunting of introduced deer and elk on the island for the unforeseen future despite the fact the island is now part of a National Park. Read about the bill and its sponsor at