Page 1

Community Problem Solving Project 2012 Canyon Crest Academy San Diego, CA


Our Mission

Phase One

With less than 50 pairs left, the Burrowing Owl needs all the help it can get. S.T.O.P. seeks to preserve, protect, and promote the welfare of the Western Burrowing Owl throughout Greater San Diego County.

Why Burrowing Owls We chose to involve ourselves in the saving of Burrowing Owls in part because they are labeled as “indicator species,” meaning that their population numbers serve as an overall indication of the success and condition of the surrounding environment. Thus the Burrowing Owl’s declining numbers have especial significance and the need to save them is even greater. The Burrowing Owl’s key ecological role does not end there. It also is important in regulating local insect and rodent populations, and losing it could disrupt our ecosystems. Moreover, the owl’s decline has been observed worldwide, including areas like Canada, Mexico, and Florida. This is a crisis confronting the entire hemisphere.

Underlying Problem Operation HBO Our process uses California ground squirrels to enhance habitat and success of burrowing owls, who need squirrels to dig tunnels and control vegetation surrounding their nests. A few hundred squirrels will be re-introduced to new locations (in natural preserves), where they will be held in a hundred underground burrow pens covered with thirty or so above-ground acclimation pens. Thus we combine artificial underground burrows and above-ground acclimation pens to hold the squirrels for one week before they are set free by removing above-ground pens. The burrows left behind when the squirrels leave will be colonized by owls we will introduce to the reserve. Operation HBO will have a positive, long-term effect on local burrowing owls because the creation of new, safe nests provides homes for owls, thus ensuring hundreds of baby owls will have secure, warm places to grow up in the years to come.

Merchandise and Fundraising Our participation at a local swap meet allowed us to meet start-up costs for the creation of burrowing owl themed merchandise. We are in the process of putting this merchandise in our school student store. They are available online at www.sdburrowingowls.weebly.com. Currently, we carry handmade plush key chains and t-shirts.

What’s Next Additionally, we have sent letters to local nature preserves and state parks asking them to carry our “Burrowing Owl Awareness” flyers and info sheets at their ranger stations and visitor centers. We are also expanding the array of merchandise offered at our online store (www. sdburrowingowls.weebly.com). In the future, we hope to offer stationery, jackets, and stuffed animals.


Timeline Sept/Oct ’10 – CmPS team formed. Picked area of concern. Nov ’10 –Named CmPS project “S.T.O.P.” – Save the [Burrowing] Owls Project. Began research on the species itself as well as prominent conservation groups. Dec ’10 Researched the Athene cunicularia. Looked for fundraisers Wrote letter to San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Created website and species profile factsheet/flyer. Jan 7 ’11 – The Zoo wrote back! *now officially affiliated with San Diego Zoo and Safari Park Prospective work with Otay Mesa owls (will involve habitat restoration, ground squirrels as ecosystem engineers, and studies of owls) Mid-Jan ’11 – We raised enough money at a local swap meet to make owl-themed merchandise, which we plan to sell to generate more money to donate to local owl conservation groups. S.T.O.P. has not yet begun any field work with the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park. However on March 14th, just a few days before the submission deadline for the California State Competition, we received an email from a researcher from the SD Zoo inviting us to partner up with them on a local CA ground squirrel/burrowing owl project. Basically, ground squirrels will serve as ecoengineers by building homes for owls. We named this new field work initiative “HBO”, or “Home Building for Owls”.


Our Goals

In the future, we hope to start Phase II of our field work initiative, Operation “HBO”, or Home Building for Owls. In addition, although the members of STOP are very educated on the Athene Cunicularia, there is still much to learn about this unique species. For example, one of the things we did in our fieldwork with the Zoo was observe the behavior of wild owls in San Diego through hidden video cameras in their burrows. We have gleaned a lot of useful information about their diet, family life, and habits that will definitely come in handy for Stage II, when we actually introduce the owls to Otay Mesa Preserve. We hope that they’ll acclimate well to their new homes! Additionally, STOP has begun to contact other conservation organizations, such as the Burrowing Owl Conservation Group. We hope to contact the San Diego City Council and perhaps even state legislature to educate them about the burrowing owl. We are also researching “passive relocation”. When a land developer has burrowing owls on property they want to build upon, one-way doors are attached to the burrow entrance so that the owl can’t get back into the burrow once it leaves. The burrowing owl is left without shelter from weather or predators. The California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) allows this "active eviction", even though there are no other burrows for the owls to "relocate" to. STOP plans to write educational letters to our State assembly and senate legislators informing them about this practice and asking that CDFG not allow it. Additionally, we’re currently writing letters/emails to local preserves (for example, The Torrey Pines State Reserve and the Penasquitos Preserve) asking them to carry our burrowing owl flyers.

Our Actions PHASE I: OPERATION HBO Use ground squirrels as eco-engineers to dig natural burrows for owls. There are two phases: I) create a ground squirrel habitat where they will build burrows, and II) introduce and establish a healthy population of burrowing owls in these newly built homes. Phase I involves four steps: Step 1. Step 2. Step 3. Step 4.

Construct temporary holding cages for squirrels. Capture + radio-tag squirrels for tracking purposes. Introduce squirrels to designated areas on the Preserve (a place called “The Pie”). Observe the way in which squirrels are adapting to their new environment (pay special attention to burrowing activities).

ACCOMPLISHMENTS STOP has created an educational website that raises awareness of the plight of the burrowing owl (www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ - it also carries our merchandise), produced STOP- related merchandise, and sold these wares at local swap meets, generating over $100. We’ve also made countless flyers and power point presentations that we’ve distributed to the public at various venues. In addition, we are currently contacting local preserves and sister burrowing owl conservation groups, for example, the Burrowing Owl Preservation Society, with whom we plan to hold a conference with to discuss ways in which we can help the owls. In terms of awareness, we have also educated ourselves more fully on the Athene Cunicularia and are able to communicate this to the public through our flyers, educational pamphlets, and presentations.


Phase Two Our Mission With less than 50 pairs left, the Burrowing Owl needs all the help it can get. S.T.O.P. seeks to preserve, protect, and promote the welfare of the Western Burrowing Owl throughout Greater San Diego County.

Underlying Problem Because there are less than 90 burrowing owls left in San Diego, how might we increase awareness of the plight of the Athene Cunicularia locally so that the San Diego City Council will pass stricter regulations than the MSPP (Multiple Species Protection Program) OR construction companies will take greater care with their urban development plans OR the California federal government will designate the burrowing owl as an endangered species in the year 2011/2012 and beyond?

Operation A Operation A is our acronym for phase two of our project. Our process included physical presentations at various local schools, including elementary schools, so we can educate our future leaders about the plight of the burrowing owl. Different presentations were created to engage different age groups. We also published an article in the high school science magazine, Catalyst, and we are also planning to upload an online game that will further educate players about the disappearance of the burrowing owl. Additionally, we sent letters of activism to officials and local corporations informing them about the effects of human activities on burrowing owls and the crucial role burrowing owls play in the environment. We are also in the process of creating a Youtube documentary about our work with burrowing owls and the importance of such involvement to further raise awareness.

Presentations We travelled all over the county giving presentations at various educational institutions, especially local schools. We presented using informational Powerpoint presentations, along with hands-on activities to aid and test the effectiveness of our presentations. We tailored each activity to the grade level of our audience, the unit the students were currently studying.

Online Activism STOP has campaigned extensively on the Internet as well to reach and educate a still larger audience. Through online petitions, emails and articles, STOP has connected with professional conservation organizations as well as those involved in said organizations, effectively widening its reach and spreading the word about burrowing owl conservation.

What’s Next STOP believes that it has not yet completely resolved its area of concern despite its accomplishments these past years. As the owl colony grows, STOP began to realize the importance of educating younger sisters on the value of the burrowing owl to their community. This early exposure would help them make better decisions concerning the San Diego ecosystem as they got older. In the future, we hope to keep adding rescued owls to our colonies and spreading the word about burrowing owls while expanding our merchandise and increasing our audience for presentations.


Timeline October: • Gather resources and research about the burrowing owl • Search the internet and the library for extra information that may have been overlooked the first time November: • UP chosen • Begin sketching out online game • planning educational presentations including dates and locations • making kits for different grades during presentations • creating presentation reports • practicing for presentations December: • practicing for presentations • writing article for print publication about the burrowing owl in school science magazine • start constructing online game January: • liaisons for different schools designated February: • liaisons contact schools to determine optimal times, subject matter, and setting for physical presentation • agreements made • more practice for presentation March: • 6th graders at local elementary school • (25 students, 25 letters of activism collected) • Video footage is gathered for documentary April: • late March/early April: burrowing owl article published in local HS science magazine with 500+ person readership • Spring Break and later weeks: 2nd graders at local elementary: (120 students, 120 drawings of activism collected) We sang, danced, and drew about the burrowing owl! TBA: • completion of construction of online game • distribution of game • organization/hosting of Hoot movie night at local recreation center, more presentations • documentary on Youtube


Our Goals

After our field work in Phase I of our project, we decided that it was necessary to involve more people in projects such as S.T.O.P. and increase public knowledge and awareness of the plight of burrowing owls, especially in San Diego, where their numbers are declining very rapidly. Thus, our goal in Phase II was to promote awareness of the Western Burrowing Owl’s plight in San Diego, CA, through various means and to reach as large an audience as possible. Eventually, we hope that our educating people about the burrowing owl will inspire them to actively participate in protecting and conserving this species by writing letters, signing petitions, and spreading the word to their friends and family.

Our Actions

As a result of our fieldwork last year with the San Diego Zoo, we’ve recently learned that 19 burrowing owls (19!) have moved into the Otay Mesa Preserve. Although our focus is no longer field work, we are still proud of our accomplishments, and hope that the local burrowing owl colony will prosper! We’ve educated about 25 local sixth graders and collected 25 letters of activism due to scheduling and availability issues. By April, we educated 125 local 2nd graders, using a different educational “kit”. We incorporated singing, dancing, musical chairs, and owl sketching activities as part of the learning process, collected 125 unique owl activism drawings and letters along the way. By this time of submission, we have distributed about 250 STOP owl awareness wristbands, as well. In total, we have personally educated 150 elementary schoolers and collected 150 letters/drawings of activism, and are in the process of educating more. We also recommended the book Hoot by Carl Hiaasen to the students as a further resource. Our documentary is currently in the works, as we don’t have enough footage from various presentations. It will be put on YouTube when it finishes undergoing a series of rigorous edits. Creating an online game proved a challenging task, and we are still in the process of working out all the kinks. We are beginning to beta test the game. Hopefully, by IC, we will be able to put our documentary and online Choose Your Own Adventure-esque game on display. These interactive, online resources will provide ways for local students and kids to stay involved with the burrowing owl, thus extending the educational process. We educated many of our peers at Canyon Crest Academy through an article that was accepted for publication in Catalyst, the school science magazine, which has a circulation of 500-2000 students. When it was published, in late March/early April, many of our peers approached STOP members to inquire further about our work. Several expressed an interest in joining, as well. Clearly, the article incited great interest and discussion about the significance of the Athene cunicularia to our community… which is just what we aimed for. We have solved our UP of educating our community and promoting awareness of the burrowing owl, because many of these students will also spread the word through word-of-mouth. In total, we’ve educated about 500-750 students about the burrowing owls, with more every week. We think that many of these students have gained an increased awareness of the burrowing owl and thus will make better choices in the future. We are going to mail our letters of activism soon. When the San Diego City Council, California State Legislature, or various construction firms receive them, we hope they will take action. For example, it is our hope that the San Diego City Council revises its MSCP program to better protect the burrowing owls.


rnals

J ou

Fieldwork Journal Entries Sweetwater Reserve Otay Mesa Reserve 2012


Today STOP members drove down to the Bravo Café in Otay Mesa to meet Jean-Pierre Montagne, a technician from the San Diego Zoo. STOP followed him onto a US Fishing & Game Federal Reserve (Otay Mesa Reserve), formerly a private ranch. We went into a run-down trailer which will hold ground squirrels after they are trapped with Tomahawk traps. STOP fitted cages together, attached water bottles, and placed tubing inside. These cages will hold squirrels for 2-3 days so they could be outfitted with radio collars and have numbers dyed onto their backs. Eventually, the squirrels will be set free to burrow. Then we will use Tomahawk traps to catch burrowing owls on construction sites and transport them to the Preserve. The Zoo advised introduction of owl “families” with fledgling chicks that cannot fly, so their parents will stay to take care of them. This will force the owls to make their homes here and encourage them to stay. Their presence might even attract other burrowing owls, researchers reasoned, though it is unsure whether this holds true.

Stephanie Guo

May 22, 2011


Alice Wu

June 5, 2011 Today we drove down to the Otay Mesa Reserve. We were checking the traps to see if any ground squirrels had been caught. The ground squirrels would help the burrowing owls by giving them pre-dug holes to nest in. Unfortunately, none of the traps contained the ground squirrels this week, which either meant they were smart enough to avoid them, or they have left the premises. With any luck it would only be the former. We did catch a frightened pheasant though. It flew out of the cage so fast! Not much success today, but at least the reserve is full of life. We saw many birds and some deer roaming around. I hope the ground squirrels are roaming around too!


Otay Preserve: We had to trap squirrels from around the community, like the Naval Air Base. We made note of where we took the squirrels so we could return them once they were done digging burrows for the owls. Today we were just feeding squirrels again. Afterward, we glimpsed more wildlife: mourning doves, magpies and crows. We also saw some wild squirrels and jackrabbits. Everything’s in harmony here, and we hope burrowing owls will thrive here too!

Amanda Ke

July 3, 2011


Alice Xie

July 10, 2011 After meeting JP, STOP drove out further onto the preserve and went onto the “Pie”, a circular plot of land that had been populated by nonnative species of vegetation. The “Pie” was divided into three sections: 1) a mowed area (no plants), 2) a ground dug out with holes, and 3) a control with only tubing that led underground. 1) and 2) were filled with cages. Specifically, a closed, top cage visible at the surface with tubing which led to a second cylindrical “living room” for the ground squirrels. The lower cage was surrounded by chicken wire for about one feet around to keep out hungry coyotes. We basically travelled around the preserve checking on our squirrels and feeding them again today, and noting the state of the new burrows!


On our way to Otay Mesa today, wxe observed the new burrowing owl residents to understand the extent of the damage humans had done to their habitat and how quickly it was disappearing. We also got to look at their burrows close up. Beside the reserve was a trucking company that was squeezing the owls to a tiny strip of dry dirt beside a gravel road. However, we counted some 20 owls living in this crowded little strip. This reserve demonstrated the extreme habitat loss burrowing owls were facing. It was a huge reality check for us, and we realized the importance and urgency of our work here.

Amy Chang

July 23, 2011


Cindy Liu

July 23, 2011 Otay Mesa: We drove in a Jeep up a steep mountain to our squirrel cages. One there, we first assigned Pie areas to the 3 different groups of STOP members, then designated amounts of food and a container of water before heading off into the field. The squirrels were housed in open bottom cages which already had well-developed burrows and a grass covering. We removed the leftover food and replaced it with fresh food, covering the fruit slices with grass so they wouldn’t dry up in the sun. We replenished the grass, noted the appetite of each cage, and deposited food accordingly. Eventually, we’ll be removing these squirrels and putting owls in. Hopefully these “natural” burrows will attract the owls!


July 20, 2011 Otay Mesa: JP suggests that this whole thing is an experiment. Even the professionals are learning new things every step of the way. Since most of the flora and fauna on the preserve are nonnative, they’re really trying to observe whether or not endangered species can thrive there. He stated that while some “specialist” species were very picky when it came to this, but ground squirrels and burrowing owls deal with what they have. A previous experiment involving man-made burrows instead of squirrel-dug burrows failed: the first year, only two pairs of owls made their home there. By the end of the second year, they were all gone. Hopefully that won’t happen with our experiment!


Owl Sightings


Resident Owls


Resident Owls


Resident Owls


e h t n I d l e i F


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Hard at Wor


rk


Fruits of Labor


r


Fruits of Labor


r


Fruits of Labor


r


Raising the Money


e


Fundraising


Fundraising


Fundraising


Presentations


Second Grade


Burrowing Owl Song

Y

You would not believe your eyes, if ten million burrowing owls, dive bombed your house as I fell asleep. 'Cause they'd fill the open air, and leave bird poop everywhere, you'd think me rude but I would just kick them out. I’d like to make myself believe, that owls can live without me. It's hard to say that I’d spend my day, with a flock of birds, but I have to find them a-a place to live. 'Cause I’d hear a thousand howls, from ten thousand burrowing owls, as they try to ask me why I’m there. An owl pellet above my head, a bunch of feathers beneath me bed, I’m so annoyed my face is turning red. I’d like to make myself believe, that owls can live without me. It's hard to say that I’d spend my day, with a flock of birds, but I have to find them a-a place to live.


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Hard at Wor


rk


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Sixth Grade


Bingo

Burrowing Owl Callsheet

1. The leve l of concern California [answer = has assigne threatened d to the bu 2. The natu ] rrowing ow ral habitat l currently of burrowin [answer: d g a re a s ry , o p 3. How m any burrow en areas like plains a nd grasslan ing owls th ds] ere were in [answer = 1 1 5 9 0 21 ,0 4. Burrow ing owls lin 0 individuals] e this arou nd their bu [answer = rrows to att sc a t/poo] 5. These fu ract beetle rry rodents s and other create the b prey. [answer=g urrows of b ro u u rr n d squirrel] 6. When d owing owls o burrowin . g owls hibe rnate? [answer = winte 7. Burrow ing owls are r] most activ e during th [answer= d e day. Wha iurnal] 8. Numbe t is anothe r of burrow r terms for ing owls th this? e [answer = re a re in San Diego 90 to 100] 9. A novel to d a y about a bo y who tries to save the [answer = Hoot, by C homes of b 10. The sc a urrowing o rl Hiaasen] ientific nam wls e of the bu rrowing ow [answer = Athene Cu l 11. the lev nicularia] el of conce rn we hope to make th [answ e burrowin 12. How m er = endangered] g owl any burrow ing owls th [answer = e re were in 600 individ 1980 13. When uals] is the burr owing owl breeding se [answ ason? 14. How m er = early spring] any years c an a burro wing owl li [answ ve? 15. What is er = 9-10] the burrow in g o wl’s greatest [answer=h threat umans]


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Presentations


Communication


Phase One


San Diego Z


Zoo


Phase Two


Torrey Hills compose mail

compose mail

Hi Ms. Krishnan,

Hi Ms. Krishnan,

We (S.T.O.P.: Save the Owls Project - - subsection of Canyon Crest Academy FPS Club) are working to promote awareness of the local endangered burrowing owl in San Diego County. As former Torrey Hills hawks ourselves, we're interested in giving educational, interactive, and hands-on workshops at local elementary schools after school or on the weekends for anyone interested.

Thanks for your time.

It's probably most likely going to be a one-time presentation (unless more than one class expresses interest in it). S.T.O.P. can come to the science room at Torrey Hills Elementary on a school day (almost any school day in February and March) probably somewhere around 1:30 PM, and talk for about an hour to fifth or sixth graders about a local threatened species, the Western Burrowing Owl. It will be a presentation on San Diego's ecology as well as the way ecosystems work (which is a 5th grade/6th grade science standard, I think). We will have the kids complete word cross puzzles and play Western Burrowing Owl Bingo. If there is time, we might be able to guide the Hawks to write a few letters to local construction firms (asking them to reconsider inhumane treatment of burrowing owls) or to the San Diego City Council (asking them to designate greater funding to protection of this local "canary in the mine").

Sincerely, Stephanie Guo (Torrey Hills Class of 2008 - - CCA Class of 2014)

We're very flexible. Just let me know which day(s) work(s) for you, and I'll get back to you as soon as possible!

I know you're extremely busy with many activities for THers, but I was wondering whether you'd be willing to host weekly/biweekly/ monthly (depending your availability and the interest of participants) ecology workshops in the Torrey Hills Science Lab starting in February...

Sincerely, Stephanie Guo (S.T.O.P. representative)

new message!

new message!

Hi Stephanie,

Hi Stephanie,

Sorry for the late response. I am not sure if I will be able to do this. I need to know what I have to do and what it involves.

This is very doable......let me get back with you on the dates. I have 4 6th grade classes, so you may have to come 2 days.

Uma Krishnan Science Specialist Torrey Hills School ukrishnan@dmusd.org 858-481-4266 x 3790

Thanks, Uma Krishnan Science Specialist Torrey Hills School ukrishnan@dmusd.org 858-481-4266 x 3790


compose mail

compose mail

Hi Ms. Krishnan,

Hi Ms. Krishnan,

Hope you're having a great President's Weekend!

I think this Friday from 2-3 PM in the TH Elementary school science lab would be fine. I'll probably arrive around 1:45 PM. What do you think?

Here are some possible dates that work for STOP... (basically most Wednesdays and Fridays) This upcoming Wednesday (we'll arrive 1:50 PM, present 2-2:30 PM, 2/22), Friday (2/24), next Wednesday (2/29), and next Friday (3/2). Please let us know what your preferences are. See you soon! -Stephanie on behalf of S.T.O.P.

new message! [Stephanie,] School is out from 2/20 - 2/24 and Wednesdays school is out by 12:30pm. I will check for Friday....can you do Mondays from 12:45 -2:30pm Uma Krishnan Science Specialist Torrey Hills School ukrishnan@dmusd.org 858-481-4266 x 3790

Would it be possible for the kids to stay after school for about half an hour too? We might be able to give more presentations at Torrey Hills that way. - Stephanie So far, I have one class of 25 kids who will come to my lab at 1:45 for the presentation. Uma Krishnan Science Specialist Torrey Hills School ukrishnan@dmusd.org 858-481-4266 x 3790

notes after the fact S.T.O.P. presented successfully to a group of sixth grade students at Torrey Hills after this string of communication. Ms. Krishnan was kind enough to lend her science lab for our presentation, for which we prepared a PowerPoint presentation and letter-writing activity for the students to express their own opinions to the state and local legislatures, as well as to teach them that even young students could make a difference in their community. Thank you to Ms. Krishnan and all the students for contributing your voice and time to our project!


Sage Canyon compose mail

compose mail

Dear Mr. I:

Dear Mrs. Asselin:

Hello, I am Catherine Wu and I am a representative for STOP, Save the Owls Project. I am writing this to inquire whether ifSTOP could present to Sage Canyon about the endangered species, Athene cunicularia, or the burrowing owl. STOP is a community problem solving project started by four Canyon Crest Academy high schoolers. We work to inform and advance the cause for the preservation of the Burrowing Owl. Currently, we are collaborating with the San Diego Zoo and their efforts to preserve the Owl and its habitat.

Hello, I am Catherine Wu and I am a representative for STOP, Save the Owls Project. I am writing this to inquire whether ifSTOP could present to Sage Canyon about the endangered species, Athene cunicularia, or the burrowing owl. STOP is a community problem solving project started by four Canyon Crest Academy high schoolers. We work to inform and advance the cause for the preservation of the Burrowing Owl. Currently, we are collaborating with the San Diego Zoo and their efforts to preserve the Owl and its habitat.

The Burrowing Owl, a native species to San Diego and California, is most threatened by habitat destruction. Currently, there areonly 90 owls left in San Diego County. STOP hopes to give kids an educational workshop on San Diego’s ecology as well as the fate of the burrowing owl. It is probably most appropriate for 5th and/or 6th graders and either a smaller classroom or MUR setting is suitable. We believe that our presentation can both raise awareness about the plight of the burrowing owl and teach kids about ecosystems and its fragilecomplexities. The burrowing owl serves a great example of humans interact with surrounding environment and its consequences.

The Burrowing Owl, a native species to San Diego and California, is most threatened by habitat destruction. Currently, there areonly 90 owls left in San Diego County. STOP hopes to give kids an educational workshop on San Diego’s ecology as well as the fate of the burrowing owl. It is probably most appropriate for 5th and/or 6th graders and either a smaller classroom or MUR setting is suitable. We believe that our presentation can both raise awareness about the plight of the burrowing owl and teach kids about ecosystems and its fragilecomplexities. The burrowing owl serves a great example of humans interact with surrounding environment and its consequences.

Sincerely, Catherine Wu

Sincerely, Catherine Wu

new message! Hi Catherine, I'll have to talk with our principal and my team to see if we can fit that in. Unfortunately our schedule is very tight this year (we have 5 rotations and math each day). How much time would you need? Maybe I could have the presentation be part of my science rotation one day. It sounds like a very interesting topic. I'll also need to talk with our principal. We are leaving for 6th grade camp next week so I probably won't be able to get back to you for a few weeks. Thanks! -------------------Amy Asselin Sage Canyon, 6th Grade


Ocean Air compose mail Hi Ms. Leeder, I was wondering if you would be interested in hosting a presentation about the local endangered burrowing owls from us. We could give a presentation to a science class (with focus on ecology, etc.) or to FPSers (the state topic is trade barriers, so it may be difficult to connect to that, but we can probably explain how we used the FPS process in STOP) at Ocean Air. We're flexible when it comes to age group. For example, we've presented to 6th graders at Torrey Hills, and are going to present to 2nd graders at Torrey Hills in a couple of weeks. We can do both small settings (like a classroom, up to 25-40 students) and MUR settings (100-200 students). Possible activities (depends on setting, grade level, etc.): letters/drawings to San Diego City Council/CA legislature/construction firms, Burrowing Owl Bingo, Musical Chairs, Name the Owl Preferred time: we can do 8-9 AM or 2 - 3 PM. Fridays are preferred! If one of your classes is covering something else that we can possibly incorporate in our presentation, let us know, and we'll see if we can modify the presentation to fit it in. Thanks, Stephanie on behalf of STOP

new message! [Stephanie,] This sounds really cool. Let me connect with the science lab teacher at Ocean Air and see if she is interested. I will get back to you. :) [-Ms. Leeder]


Sycamore Rid compose mail Dear Mrs. Morris: Hello, my name is Amanda Ke and I am a representative for STOP, Save the Owls Project. I am writing this to inquire whether if STOP could present to Sycamore Ridge about the endangered species, Athene cunicularia, or the burrowing owl. STOP is a community problem solving project started by four Canyon Crest Academy high schoolers. We work to inform and advance the cause for the preservation of the Burrowing Owl. Currently, we are collaborating with the San Diego Zoo and their efforts to preserve the Owl and its habitat. The Burrowing Owl, a native species to San Diego and California, is most threatened by habitat destruction. Currently, there areonly 90 owls left in San Diego County.

new message!

STOP hopes to give kids an educational workshop on San Diego’s ecology as well as the fate of the burrowing owl. It is probably most appropriate for 5th and/or 6th graders and either a smaller classroom or MUR setting is suitable. We believe that our presentation can both raise awareness about the plight of the burrowing owl and teach kids about ecosystems and its fragilecomplexities. The burrowing owl serves a great example of humans interact with surrounding environment and its consequences.

Hi Amanda, It's so nice to hear from you. We actually dissected owl pellets in science this year, which also entailed conducting some very minimal background research on owls. We would love to hear your presentation. There are two fourth grade classes of 27-28 kids each. You could do two presentations, or one big one in the MUR.

Sincerely, Amanda Ke

Maybe the third graders would like to join for one big presentation? Questions: How long is the presentation? What dates and times are available to come? Hello Third and Fourth Grade Teachers: I am forwarding this email to you in the event you may be interested, since our feathered friends are part of your students' studies. Amanda is a past Stallion student! Emily


dge compose mail Dear Ms. Money, Which type of presentation would be most convenient for the 4th grade classes (and the 3rd grade too)? The presentation would be approximately 30-45 minutes, although we could adjust the length to fill the students' needs. Also, the type of presentation would affect the length of the presentation; if the presentation would be in the classroom then it would be shorter than the one in the MUR. We could present any day - can you send me any preferred dates? I think it would be easier to work around your schedule. Thanks for your time. [Amanda]

new message! Hi Amanda, The 3rd and 4th grade classes would love to attend. There are four 3rd grade classes (20 students a class) and 55 fourth graders. We would have to conduct the assembly in the MUR. 30-45 minutes would be a great. Let's shoot for a Monday between 8:15-10:15 or 10:30-11:30. If you give us a time and a date, we can work around your schedule. Thank you, and we are looking forward to seeing you soon. Sincerely, Ms. Money ************************* Meg Money 858-755-1060 ext. 3815 4th Grade Teacher


Publicity Contac compose mail

compose mail

Hi [Mr. Copeland and Ms. Davies],

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is Stephanie Guo, a sophomore at CCA. I'm part of STOP (Save The Owls Project). Did you know that burrowing owls were once as plentiful as seagulls in California, but that today, there are only 90 left? Last year, STOP did a lot of field work with the San Diego Zoo; this year, we've been focusing on awareness in our community. STOP recently started a petition (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/) for stricter enforcement of construction laws in San Diego in order to protect the western burrowing owl. We've accumulated 925 signatures so far, but we want to reach our goal of 2,000 before sending it to the San Diego City Council (as well as various construction companies). We were wondering if you would consider mentioning us on the CCA Raven Report, since it has a pretty large reach, and thus could be instrumental in our quest to persuade the San Diego City Council to take greater action to ensure that the Western Burrowing Owl will be around for later generations.

My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl around our community.

Thanks! Stephanie STOP: (S)ave (T)he (O)wls (P)roject Sign our petition @ http://www.thepetitionsite.com/174/554/099/ save-western-burrowing-owls/ Follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/STOPOwlsSD (@ STOPOwlsSD) Bookmark our website http://sdburrowingowls.weebly.com/index. html Beta test our educational, Choose Your Own Adventure game! http://www.owlgame.weebly.com/

At the moment we are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which has already attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness for this beautiful bird and prevent further encroachment on its habitat by petitioning against various construction projects and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment. We saw your website and were wondering if you could help us by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others, or perhaps publishing a short piece about us on your website, Twitter, or Facebook account. We were also wondering how to start our owl pledge on your website to help raise awareness for burrowing owl conservation. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at [email]. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon! Sincerely, Alice Wu Question Reference #120517-000080 Category Level 1: Membership Category Level 2: Conservation Action Network Date Created: 05/17/2012 09:26 PM Last Updated: 05/21/2012 01:21 PM Status: Solved


cts new message! Conservation Project [Incident: 120517-000080] Dear Alice: Thank you for your email to World Wildlife Fund. We have forwarded your email to the appropriate group at World Wildlife Fund for review and consideration. We appreciate you taking the time to bring this to our attention. As you probably already know our web site is a valuable source for information about the important causes our organization is involved with and what donations can fund. Our web site is: www.worldwildlife.org. One tool that some use to raise awareness and raise funds is to create a Panda Page. Panda Pages is an online destination for animal and nature lovers who would like to take a more active role in saving our planet. Panda Pages allows you to create your own wildlife- or wild place-themed web page and raise funds to help support WWF's conservation work. Use your page to share stories and photos of your favorite animals and places, to honor loved ones and to mark special occasions. Connect with other Panda Page members who are passionate about the saving the environment and learn more about endangered species and global threats. Panda Pages is a fun and simple way to get involved with WWF's conservation efforts and do your part to save our living planet. Check it out here: http://wwf.worldwildlife.org/site/ PageServer?pagename=trib_home Additionally, if you have not yet seen, the Conservation Action Network (CAN) is an electronic advocacy network that enables you to obtain concise information and take action quickly and easily on important issues such as endangered species, global warming, forest protection, fisheries conservation, and many others. You can communicate with the president, members of Congress, state legislators, newspaper editors, corporations, foreign government leaders, and international agencies. Please visit our Web site at http://www.worldwildlife.org for information about World Wildlife Fund, our activities, and how you can help. World Wildlife Fund’s Conservation Action Network provides opportunities for our members to get involved by electronic advocacy. Participants receive regular email messages offering them opportunities to take action on important issues including endangered species, global warming, forest protection, and many others. Lastly, should you hold a fundraiser please send any donations you may receive and information about your fundraising experience to: World Wildlife Fund 1250 Twenty-Fourth Street, NW PO Box 97810 Washington, DC 20090-7180 We appreciate you taking the time to write to us and we wish you good luck with your efforts! If you have additional questions or concerns please call 800-960-0993. Thank you for your commitment to global conservation. Together we can make a world of difference. Best regards, Nancy World Wildlife Fund


Publicity Contac compose mail Subject: San Diego City Council needs to enforce better protection of burrowing owls on construction sites Hi INECE, My name is Stephanie Guo, and I’m a representative of STOP (Save The Owls Project). We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community, mostly due to irresponsible construction practices. We would be grateful if you could consider the publication of an article about the western burrowing owl. It may suit the “Biodiversity>>>Wildlife” section of the INECE website. Our main objective is to spread awareness, and INECE’s large readership may be able to make a huge difference in our efforts. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ Thanks! Stephanie

compose mail Letter to Editor @ Del Mar Times Dear Sir or Madam: My name is Stephanie Guo, and I am a sophomore at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley. I am writing to ask if you are willing to help myself and a few other local teens with a project. We are a group of high school students who have formed a group called STOP, or Save The Owls Project, which specifically focuses on protecting the local burrowing owl species through a habitat creation project in Otay Mesa and local presentations to raise awareness. The burrowing owl was once as plentiful as seagulls in San Diego, but habitat loss has reduced its numbers to less than 90, and not all of the birds left are breeding pairs. The burrowing owl is also an important indicator species for the health of local ecosystems, so it is imperative that we preserve it. We are trying to get the word out to our entire community, and hope that you will help us by publishing an article about our work and the plight of the local burrowing owl on your website and/or in your newsletter. We also have started an online petition (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/174/554/099/ save-western-burrowing-owls/). If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at canyoncrestfps@gmail.com. STOP also has a website at http:// sdburrowingowls.weebly.com/index.html. I look forward to hearing from you soon! From, Stephanie Guo


cts compose mail Subject: 2012 PARADE All-American Service Team Award Dear Ms. Scott, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl around our community. At the moment we are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which has already attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness for this beautiful bird and prevent further encroachment on its habitat by petitioning against various construction projects and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment. We've educated almost 180,000 people about the plight of the burrowing owl to date. We've also donated money to various conservation organizations and partnered with some to raise awareness. We saw your PARADE All-American Service Team Award and were wondering if we could compete in it. Unfortunately, we were unable to find a functional 2012 application or 2012 competition information. How can we enter in this competition? Is the 2012 deadline already past? You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at [email] or call me at [phone]. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon! Sincerely, Alice Wu

new message! Good afternoon Alice, I do not have solid dates on our All-America Service team yet. I would continually check back on our website and look for our call out in an issue of PARADE. This process usually involves a call out in our issue for people to nominate a student in their community that should be on the “team�. They do not accept entries for groups of people. I hope this helps! Best, Jenna


Publicity Contac compose mail

compose mail

Hi!

Hi Ms. Schwaiger!

I saw your very successful petition for burrowing owls in Canada, and I was wondering if you would help us publicize our petition as well!

Alright sounds great! How do we set that up?

We are STOP (Save the Owls Project) in San Diego, CA. Our petition is here: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/174/554/099/savewestern-burrowing-owls/

Sincerely, Alice

Thank you for your quick reply!

Please post this to your website and help us save burrowing owls in San Diego! You can find our website at sdburrowingowls.weebly.com or contact us at stopsandiego@gmail.com.

new message!

Thank you so much! Sincerely, STOP

Hi Alice,

new message! Hi Alice, Thanks for your note. This is a great action - we would love to see this petition take off! How would you like the chance to grow your list of supporters by collecting email signups off of this petition? This means that any traffic you drive to sign on the petition has the option of opting in to your email list. The sky's the limit - do as much promotion as you want! The only catch is that Care2 will not do any promotion of the petition; it will be entirely up to you. This benefits us because any new person who signs up for your list also signs up for ours.

All righty, I just got it all set up. How does 1 month for the duration of the partnership sound? Today is May 9 - so we will conclude on Friday, June 8. I will send you a report every week on Wednesday except for that last week, when I'll deliver your final report on Friday, June 8. One suggestion: you will attract more signers if you make make the target more specific. See if you can find the names/titles of the people at the specific construction companies and/or government offices that you will eventually will deliver this petition to. Since I caught your petition a little later in its process, I unfortunately can't give the 115 people who have already signed your petition the option to sign up for your list, but we will start from here! I have attached a document that highlights the best ways to integrate Care2 members into your organization. Make sure you promptly send them a message as soon as you get the names so that your petition is still fresh in their memory.

Anyway, let me know if you're interested!

We're excited to be working with STOP! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.

Best, Ellyn

Warmly, Ellyn


cts compose mail

new message!

Hi Ms. Schwaiger!

Hi Alice,

It sounds great! Thank you so much for all your help!

Here is your first delivery. Remember to get in touch with these people quickly, before you they forget that they signed your petition.

Yes I am currently talking to my team about narrowing the focus of the petition. We intended to save this petition to forward to any and all companies that were developing on burrowing owl habitats, so we wanted to make it have a broader scope. Do you think we should make a different petition for each incident? I'm just afraid that we would run out of time getting enough signatures... I noticed you sent an email message to people who signed our petition. However, I am so new to this site that I can't find where to send messages from my account. Sorry, would you mind helping me with that? Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu

When you're done collecting signatures in a few weeks, you can download a signature report from our site, and that is what you will hand-deliver (or email) to your target. Best, Ellyn

*Attached was a list of the email addresses and other personal information the signers of our petition entered when they also entered their signatures. STOP promptly sent a series of informational emails to these people about burrowing owls

new message!

new message!

Hi Alice,

Hi Alice,

Good question! I would suggest starting small, and targeting the government of San Diego County. You could ask them to tighten development restrictions pertaining to the Western burrowing owl. There is already an environmental review process in place in California both on the local and state level that affects what companies can or cannot do, and it seems best to target that process.

Here is your second delivery. Best, Ellyn

Does this help? Regarding emailing people who have signed the petition - unfortunately, you can only do that when you close the petition. However, I can send updates to anyone who has signed the petition if you send me the text for it. Best, Ellyn

*Attached was a list of the email addresses and other personal information the signers of our petition entered when they also entered their signatures. STOP promptly sent a series of informational emails to these people about burrowing owls


Publicity Contac compose mail

compose mail

Hi!

Hi Ms. Mia!

My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project)based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices.

Not a problem. I've pasted the email below: ________________________________________ Thank you so much for all your help! My team and I love your button. We were actually wondering if we could use it as our logo from now on. Would you be alright with that? Also, you have amazing burrowing owl photos on your website, and we're in the process of making a documentary right now, so we were wondering if you would be alright with us using some of your photos or multimedia in it. We would of course credit you for anything you will permit us to use. ________________________________________

We saw your beautiful photographs of burrowing owls and comments about their disappearance and were wondering if you could help us promote our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. Perhaps you could blog a bit about burrowing owl conservation efforts and let people know how they can help? You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/

Wow, that sounds great! I was surfing the BirdingisFun.com blog today and was so amazed at all the amazing photography and info on it. I'll be sure to share it with my teammates and fellow birders! Thank you so much again for all your help and support!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. Thank you so much!

How was your camping trip? It sounds like it was fun. What kinds of birds did you see there? I'm looking forward to seeing the photos up soon!

Sincerely, Alice Wu

Thank you again! Alice Wu

new message!

new message!

Alice,

Alice,

I know I saw the email you sent to me yesterday but for the life of me I can't find it in my email program.

What size images would you need for the documentary? BirdingisFun is a great site for birding information, images and more. I like participating there by being one of the authors.

I would be delighted for you to use the button I created on the web site, I have attached two different sizes for you. I wish I could recall what else you addressed but I was exhausted after from returning from a camping trip to Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area. I am an author on the multi-author blog BirdingisFun.com and my post tomorrow is about juvenile Burrowing Owls, I added the button to it yesterday evening. Best regards, Mia

The camping trip was great fun, Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is incredibly beautiful and not crowded. There weren't many birds but since the elevation there is 6500 feet they might be slower getting there. I did take some nice Osprey images. There are 2 Bald Eagle nests also but too far away to photograph. There were Turkey Vultures in the area and I took some nice images of them too. The Golden Eagles [unfortunately] weren't present. It is an amazing place, from desert areas to alpine slopes, heavily wooded areas to wide open locations around lakes. Mia


cts compose mail

compose mail

Hi Ms. Mia!

Hi Mia!

Sorry, I misspoke last time. I meant to ask if we could use your photographs on our educational materials, like our posters and brochures and powerpoints for when we gave presentations in and around our community. Again, we would credit you for anything we used.

Sorry for the long pause in communication. STOP has been scrambling to finish a presentation for an exhibit we have next week. Wow your trip sounds amazing! What wouldn't I give to see a golden eagle! By the way, I loved your burrowing owl post. It really captures the burrowing owls' personalities and essence. I was laughing so hard as I read your captions and looked at your pictures.

The post looks amazing too! Thank you so much again! The burrowing owls are so gorgeous... I'm always overwhelmed whenever I see them because they're just such beautiful birds, and so comical too. I think the best part of birding is just seeing birds being birds and watching all their antics. Not to mention the landscapes... which are incredible, exemplified by your camping photo. Even though the weather wasn't the best, the lighting and everything is just phenomenal!

It is not a problem for us to mail you a copy of all our materials at all! We would be delighted to send you a copy of everything in which we use your art. Thank you so much! Alice

How many Osprey did you see? Were there any chicks? Do Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles usually compete for resources? Is there fish in that lake for the Osprey? Sorry about asking so many questions, I'm just so curious about all things bird. Thank you so much for all your help! Gratefully, Alice Wu

new message! Hi Alice, I saw about 8 Ospreys at Flaming Gorge. The Flaming Gorge Reservoir and the Green River have tons of fish. Golden Eagles usually nest high on cliff faces or rocky outcroppings. I know that just north the Bald & Golden Eagles are in the same locations for the winter but during nesting season they may be far more territorial. Utah doesn't have all that many active Bald Eagle nests, between 11 to 17. We have far more nesting Golden Eagles. The Bald Eagles on Antelope Flats are probably eating and feeding their chicks fish which is something the Golden's don't usually eat. I adore Burrowing Owls and hope to find some more this summer. I can provide images for the educational materials, posters & brochures, etc., I would ask that I be mailed a copy (or copies) of anything that is printed for my portfolio, would that be an issue? Mia

new message! Hi Alice, Good luck with the presentation! I'm glad you enjoyed the Burrowing Owl post, they are the Clowns of the Owl World! I'm on my way to Montana this morning to spend the rest of the week camping & photographing in the wild. Should be great fun. Mia


Publicity Contac compose mail

new message!

Subject: Becoming a Species Champion

Dear Alice

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thanks for your email enquiry and information about your organisation. It looks like you are doing great work through STOP raising awareness for the worrying plight of Burrowing Owls.

My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We saw your organization and were wondering if we could join. The following is a short introduction about our work. At the moment we are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which has already attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness for this beautiful bird and prevent further encroachment on its habitat by petitioning against various construction projects on burrowing owl lands and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at [email]. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon! Sincerely, Alice Wu

Dear Mr. Lawrence, Thank you so much for your prompt response and for your information! BirdLife International truly is an amazing program, and I'm very sorry we can't join it. However, we will be directing people we meet toward your site and telling them to donate! Thank you for helping to save the endangered and threatened birds of this world. Sincerely, Alice Wu

BirdLife International is a partnership of national NGOs and the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme - which I coordinate is a global initiative that tackles conservation of globally threatened species (Critically Endangered, Endangered and Vulnerable) as defined on the IUCN Redlist for which we are the bird authority. I’m afraid that while there is no doubt that Burrowing Owl is locally threatened (we categorise it as Least Concern globally). As such it is not a species our international programme can embrace. I’m not sure whether our USA Partner Audubon is actively involved with a national project for the species but I suggest a first step would be for you to contact Audubon California to investigate their interest in forming an affiliation. I’m sorry if this is not what you were hoping to hear but I know you’ll understand how we have to prioritise action. Very best wishes with your work and good luck helping to make a difference for a fabulous bird. Best regards Jim

notes after the fact The BirdLife International Partnership is a Partnership of over 110 conservation organizations around the world. BirdLife International the Secretariat to the Partnership is a UK registered company no. 2985746, registered Charity no. 1042125, registered address: Wellbrook Court, Girton Road, Cambridge CB3 0NA, UK. BirdLife International Secretariat Regional Offices: Amman, Brussels, Nairobi, Quito, Suva, Tokyo.


cts compose mail To: webmaster@defenders.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project)based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We saw the Defenders of Wildlife Website and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. Perhaps you could publish a short piece about us or about burrowing owls on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at alicewu20@sbcglobal.net. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu

compose mail To: ctuell@biologicaldiversity.org, ksuckling@biologicaldiversity.org, mstark@biologicaldiversity.org, bsnape@biologicaldiversity.org, rsilver@biologicaldiversity.org, rserraglio@biologicaldiversity.org, bproffer@biologicaldiversity.org, aparker@biologicaldiversity.org, bnowicki@biologicaldiversity.org, lmillet@biologicaldiversity.org, jmiller@biologicaldiversity.org, rmcspadden@biologicaldiversity. org, tmckinnon@biologicaldiversity.org, bhaskins@biologicaldiversity.org, aharwood@biologicaldiversity.org, ngreenwald@biologicaldiversity.org, pgalvin@biologicaldiversity.org, jevans@biologicaldiversity.org, tcurry@biologicaldiversity.org, bcummings@ biologicaldiversity.org, rbraz@biologicaldiversity.org, sbergman@ biologicaldiversity.org, aralston@biologicaldiversity.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl around our community. At the moment we are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which has already attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness for this beautiful bird and prevent further encroachment on its habitat by petitioning against various construction projects and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment. We saw you on the Rare Earthtones website and were wondering if you could help us by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others, or perhaps publishing a short piece about us on your website, Twitter, or Facebook account. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at alicewu20@sbcglobal.net. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon! Sincerely, Alice Wu


Publicity Contac compose mail

new message!

Subject: Zoo Footage Use Hi,

Thank you for your request to use this video. Can you tell me more about your group and how the footage would be used?

This is STOP. We hope the owls in Otay Mesa are still doing well. Actually, we're working on a documentary to raise awareness about the western burrowing owl, and we were wondering if we could incorporate zoo footage in our documentary (e.g. if we borrowed a 5-sec clip of a ground squirrel, we'd include "courtesy of the San Diego Zoo/etc." in the right hand corner") at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP5ael5U7oQ and http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=gZ1XofOJ0-4. We plan to upload our documentary to YouTube.

Christina Simmons csimmons@sandiegozoo.org Public Relations San Diego Zoo Global p. 619 685 3291 c. 619 318 3348 P.O. Box 120551 San Diego, CA 92112-0551

Please let us know what you think ASAP! Thanks, Stephanie on behalf of STOP

new message! Hi Stephanie, I passed your question on to Colleen Wisinski, part of our owl team. One of us will probably have to contact our PR department. Thanks for asking permission ahead of time, JP ----------------------------------------------------------------------------Jean-Pierre Montagne Sr. Research Technician Applied Animal Ecology Division San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research 15600 San Pasqual Valley Rd Escondido CA 92027-7000 (760) 291-5481 www.zooconservation.org "We are the science of saving species"™

compose mail I'm Stephanie Guo, and I represent a local organization called S.T.O.P. (Save The Owls Project). We're a group of high schoolers that seeks to spread awareness of the fate of local burrowing owls. We've given presentations at local elementary schools, created an online owl game, handed out wristbands and flyers around the community, and [organized local activities]. We are currently creating a documentary about the zoo's work (detailing the new hope burrowing owls now have), as well as about the species itself, San Diego's MSCP, and the failed 2003 petition to the CA State Legislature. We've started a petition at http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/, and plan to send it to city officials and/or local construction companies so they will enact measures to better protect burrowing owls. Our documentary will be shown at the Hoot Movie Night, as well, so we would be really grateful if you would allow the usage of several clips from the zoo's Youtube videos. We want to describe the zoo's work as accurately as possible, and while we have stills, when we helped out the zoo out, we forgot to take video footage of the field work. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon! Sincerely, Stephanie Guo


cts new message! Thank you for your inquiry. I am comfortable with this use of the video Christina Simmons Public Relations San Diego Zoo 619-685-3291 csimmons@sandiegozoo.org

compose mail Feedback for the The endangerment of the Burrowing owls in Saskatchewan petition Hi! My name is Alice Wu, and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. There have been drastic declines in the San Diegan burrowing Owl Population as well, and we started a petition designed for construction companies and local officials to convince them to most strictly enforce laws regarding development on burrowing owl habitat. We saw your petition and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition to your signers or if some kind of mutually beneficial partnership could be set up. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: www.sdburrowingowls.weebly.com

compose mail Feedback for the Please save the coyotes, pheasants, burrowing owls, etc. petition Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We saw your successful petition and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. Thank you so much! Alice Wu

Thank you so much! Alice Wu

compose mail Feedback for the Protect Saskatchewan's Burrowing Owls! petition Hi! My name is Alice Wu, and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. There have been drastic declines in the San Diegan burrowing Owl Population as well, and we started a petition designed for construction companies and local officials to convince them to most strictly enforce laws regarding development on burrowing owl habitat. We saw your petition and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition to your signers or if some kind of mutually beneficial partnership could be set up. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: www.sdburrowingowls.weebly.com Thank you so much! Alice Wu


Publicity Contac compose mail Feedback for the Relocation for Praire Dogs- Not Poison petition Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ Thank you so much! Alice Wu

compose mail Subject: Construction brochure? To: ubop@redrockaudubon.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent an organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. Currently we are focusing on raising awareness for burrowing owl conservation. We saw your Urban Burrowing Owl Monitoring Project and were wondering if you could provide us with guidelines for how to do so, and also wanted to ask if we could access your informational brochure so we could hand them out to our local construction companies as well. Thank you so much! Alice Wu

compose mail

compose mail

Subject: Burrowing Owl Conservation To: jmiller@biologicaldiversity.org Dear Mr. Miller,

Subject: Conservation Project To: bob@wildatheartowls.org, sam@wildatheartowls.org Dear Mr. Bob,

My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl around our community.

My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl around our community.

At the moment we are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which has already attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness for this beautiful bird and prevent further encroachment on its habitat by petitioning against various construction projects and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment.

At the moment we are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which has already attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness for this beautiful bird and prevent further encroachment on its habitat by petitioning against various construction projects and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment.

We saw your blog and were wondering if you could help us by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others, or perhaps publishing a short piece about us on your website.

We saw your website and were wondering if you could help us by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others, or perhaps publishing a short piece about us on your website.

You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon!

You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon!

Sincerely, Alice Wu

Sincerely, Alice Wu


cts compose mail

compose mail

Subject: Burrowing Owl Conservation To: info@wildcarebayarea.org, education@wildcarebayarea.org Dear Sir or Madam,

Subject: Burrowing Owls To: Carolyn@zandavisitor.com Dear Ms. Darrow,

My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices.

My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community.

We saw your website and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others.

We saw your article on The Petition Site after starting our petition... [and] were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others.

You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much!

You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much!

Sincerely, Alice Wu

Alice Wu

compose mail Subject: Burrowing Owl Conservation To: info@redrockaudubon.org, ubop@redrockaudubon.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We saw your Urban Burrowing Owl Monitoring Project and were wondering if you could help us promote our cause and our petition by featuring it and/or our website on your website. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu

compose mail Feedback for the Protect Canada's "Pocket Desert" as a National Park - Save Endangered Species! petition Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We saw your petition and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu


Publicity Contac compose mail Feedback for the Stop Prairie Dog Poisoning! petition Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We saw your petition and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu

compose mail [Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund - Electing Pro-Wildlife Leaders] Endangered Species under attack - please act today Subject: Another cause To: Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund email list <conservationists@groups.care2.com> The link isn't working for me, but if anyone wants to support another cause, please help us protect a local endangered species in our community by signing: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ Thank you all so much!

Subject: Protecting our future But sometimes animals need a little help from humans to survive. If you believe the best way to protect our future is to protect the environment and all the animals in it, please help us protect one key species by signing our petition: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/

compose mail Subject: Environmental Letters To: rachel.macmanus@sduhsd.net Hi Ms. MacManus! I just wanted to tell you about a project a few friends and I have been doing around our community for about 2 years now. We're focusing on preserving burrowing owl habitat and creating new colonies for them. Recently we've been trying to raise awareness for our cause and get the word out that burrowing owls are endangered in San Diego and we really need to strengthen enforcement of construction laws requiring companies to check for burrows and relocate owls before building rather than just sealing burrows. Basically, we've been giving presentations at various schools and local places and publishing our project in some local news. We've also been sending letters to construction companies and local government officials. I was wondering if you could talk about this to your classes and have kids help us by gearing their letters toward our cause too. This is our petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/174/554/099/ save-western-burrowing-owls/ This is our website (it's currently under construction, so some pages might be blank or not complete): http://sdburrowingowls. weebly.com/ Some good resources for letters: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/ species/birds/western_burrowing_owl/pdfs/petition.pdf (failed 2003 WBO or Western Burrowing Owl Petition), http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/birds/western_burrowing_owl/index. html Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu

notes after the fact These messages were sent after being posted publicly on the Defenders of Wildlife forum on the Care2 website, which effectively allowed nearly 180,000 members to receive these emails and understand how burrowing owls are affected by humans today.


cts new message! Subject: Your letter to the Los Angeles Times Thank you for your submission to the letters page of the Los Angeles Times. We have received your e-mail and will review it within seven days. A reminder about our guidelines: Submissions should be no longer than 150 words and must respond to stories that have appeared in The Times; please include the title of the article, preferably in the subject line. We do not accept letters that are part of letter-writing or petition campaigns. We also do not accept letters that appear to have been sent to more than one publication (including websites, web message boards and e-mail distribution lists). Note that you may have received this autoreply message as a result of signing an online petition or group letter. We require a name, a city of residence and a daytime phone number for verification. If you have not included this information with your letter, please send it now to letters@latimes.com. Please include the subject and/or text of your original letter as well. We will publish your name and city of residence only. Our e-mail system cannot process attachments. If you have sent your submission with an attachment, it will be deleted automatically. Please resubmit your letter in the body of an e-mail message to letters@latimes.com. Letters become the property of The Times and may be edited. They may be republished in any format. We will send another e-mail if your letter is under consideration to appear in the newspaper or on the website. Because of a quirk in our e-mail program, some letter writers have received messages reporting that their submissions to The Times were deleted without being read. In fact, we review every submission. We apologize for any confusion these messages may cause. Thanks again for writing to the Los Angeles Times. For more information, please visit www.latimes.com/letters (letters submission form and FAQ in right-hand column) or write us at letters@latimes.com.

compose mail Subject: Conservation Project To: mageditor@defenders.org, newsroom@defenders.org, defenders@mail.defenders.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project)based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We saw the Defenders of Wildlife Website and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. Perhaps you could publish a short piece about us or about burrowing owls on your blog, Facebook or Twitter account, or in your magazine. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu Subject: Help us save the Burrowing Owls! You may not know it, but the owl on the sidebar of this page is a burrowing owl. And you may not see it anymore in the future. The burrowing owl stands at less than a foot tall and lives in underground burrows, and plays a key role as an indicator species in an ecosystem. It is threatened by urban development, which leads to habitat loss. Recent trends in its population have haunting implications about the well-being our environment. Yet many do not know about its plight, and laws regarding its conservation are often ignored because of cost and hassle. If you believe that it is important to enforce laws to save this owl and protect our environment, sign our petition at: http://www. thepetitionsite.com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ Feel free to also visit our website at http://www.sdburrowingowls. weebly.com/ Please help us save this species!


Publicity Contac new message!

compose mail To: heather@Burrowing-Owl.org, larry@Burrowing-Owl.org, scott@Burrowing-Owl.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl around our community. We are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness and prevent further habitat loss by petitioning against construction projects and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment. We saw your website on the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network and were wondering if you could help us by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others, or perhaps publishing a short piece about us on your website or blog. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much and we hope to hear from you soon!

To: scott@journowl.com Hi Scott, We are STOP from San Diego, California. Last year, we used ground squirrels as eco-engineers for burrowing owls. This year, we've focused on awareness and legislative change. The San Diego City Council's Multiple Species Protection Program has proved ineffective in saving the owls, so we started an online petition at (http://www.thepetitionsite.com/174/554/099/save-westernburrowing-owls/) and have collected 825 signatures! In addition, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re giving educational presentations at local schools, gathering letters and drawings of awareness. We were wondering what your thoughts on our target were. Would it prove most effective to target the San Diego City Council, the CA State Legislature, or specific construction companies? We were also wondering if you could upload a link to our petition on your blog. Would it be possible for us to borrow some of the multimedia at http://journowl.com/index.php/video? We are currently working on a documentary, and we want to make it as educational, realistic, and informative as possible! Thanks!

Hello Stephanie and Alice, Thank you so much for contacting me and I am very excited to hear about your efforts to protect Burrowing Owls in San Diego. It is great to get back to the office and find positive emails from those working to save this incredible species. Stephanie, I understand you contacted me through my blog JournOwl, but I also work for the Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, a non-profit organization, through which I also received a note from Alice. I would love to learn more about your efforts, provide assistance where possible, and relay some insights regarding the target of your petition. Perhaps we can connect via telephone as there is definitely some synergy between your project and our organization. A conversation would be a great start and it would let me know how best I and BOCN can support your work. Please let me know if you are open to a conversation and what day/ time works best for you. Cheers, Scott Artis Executive Director Burrowing Owl Conservation Network Save Burrowing Owls, Preserve Habitat, Prevent Extinction http://BurrowingOwlConservation.org

compose mail Hi Mr. Artis! A conversation sounds great! We're very excited to talk to you! We are in school from Monday to Friday from 8 am to 3 pm except on Wednesday, when school starts at 9 am. Next week we are out of school on Monday for Memorial Day. Please feel free to call us after 3:30 pm on any school day, or on the weekends. You can also call us before 9 am on Wednesday. You can reach Stephanie at [phone], and you can reach Alice at [phone]. Please email us the general times you will call so we can make sure we are available. Thanks, and hope to talk to you soon!


cts compose mail Subject: Burrowing Owl Awareness To: contact@capecoralburrowingowls.com Dear Ms. Owl Lady, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl around our community. At the moment we are involved in a project using ground squirrels to construct a new habitat for burrowing owls, which has already attracted 19 owls in one of the first "artificial" colonies of its kind. We're also working to raise awareness for this beautiful bird and prevent further encroachment on its habitat by petitioning against various construction projects and informing local officials about the owl's role in the environment. We saw your website and were wondering if you could help us by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others, or perhaps publishing a short piece about us on your website or blog. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/. Thank you so much and we hope to hear back from you soon! Sincerely, Alice Wu

new message! Alice, I would be happy to support your Burrowing Owls efforts. I am in the middle of redesigning our club website (http://ccfriendsofwildlife.org), which is heavily involved with the Burrowing Owls here in Cape Coral, Florida, and I need to be out of town for a few days. When I get back I will look into your request and get back to you. Beverly Saltonstall The Owl Lady Http://capecoralburrowingowls.com PS have you seen my live webcam with the owls? The babies are growing quickly!! Check out my website

compose mail Subject: Save Western Burrowing Owls To: media@change.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project)based in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices. We started a petition on your website and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. We also started a fairly successfully petition on another website. Could we somehow be featured on the Change.org home page? You can find our petition at: http://www.change.org/petitions/ save-western-burrowing-owls and at http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu

notes after the fact We never expected to find do much support in the online or immediate community for our project! This has truly been an incredible learning experience for us, and we are so grateful to have been able to participate in this project and contact so many people. Thank you so much to the passionate conservationists that allowed us to ask questions and give requests and really tried to help us to the best of their abilities. Thanks to our community and supporters, and everyone that helped to spread the word about our project and our cause online!


Publicity Contac compose mail Subject: Burrowing Owl Conservation To: info@wildcarebayarea.org, education@wildcarebayarea.org Dear Sir or Madam, My name is Alice Wu and I represent a local organization called STOP (Save the Owls Project) located in San Diego, CA. We focus on protecting the Western Burrowing Owl, which is severely endangered in our community largely due to irresponsible construction practices.

compose mail To: “Kelle Kacmarcik” <kellekacmarcik@wildcarebayarea.org> Hi Ms. Kacmarcik, That sounds wonderful. Thank you so much! Gratefully, Alice

We saw your website and were wondering if you could help us promote our petition and our cause by signing our petition and/or promoting it and our website to others. You can find our petition at: http://www.thepetitionsite. com/174/554/099/save-western-burrowing-owls/ You can find our website at: http://www.sdburrowingowls.weebly. com/ If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. Thank you so much! Sincerely, Alice Wu

new message! Hi Alice, Thanks so much for creating the petition and for caring about burrowing owls! We’ll post a link to your petition on WildCare’s facebook page, alerting people to the STOP petition. We have quite a few active followers there. Thanks again for taking a stand for owls! Kelle

notes after the fact We were successfully posted to the WildCare Twitter and Facebook accounts, pictures of this can be seen on the opposing page. Since the WildCare Bay Area Facebook and Twitter pages have 1,486 Likes and 393,705 Followers respectively, we have effectively reached about 395,191 people through being featured on these webpages. Thank you so much to WildCare for supporting us and helping us spread the word about our cause!


cts


Community Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


Outreach


in the

CANARY

MINE

Written by Stephanie Guo


The Project

T

oday, breeding burrowing owls remain in only five areas of San Diego. In the 1980’s, urban sprawl took over much of the open areas of the county and 60% of California’s burrowing owls disappeared. In San Diego, the situation is far worse: since 1980, the burrowing owl population has dropped by 85%. Although San Diego instituted the Multiple Species Conservation Program (MSCP) in the late 1990’s, MSCP has proved largely ineffective, as construction still kills numerous owls by sealing them into their burrows. Worse, burrowing owls can be reluctant to move into new, artificial burrows. They prefer abandoned ground squirrel and other large rodent tunnels. Despite the name, burrowing owls don’t dig their own homes. But it can be difficult – and expensive - for a construction company to determine whether viable burrows are in the vicinity of its project. At any rate, MSCP only requires construction companies to make sure owls aren’t in the ground when they start work, which means owls can still be permanently sealed out of their homes. Either way, construction leaves burrowing owls without shelter, and they don’t survive for very long. Environmentalists describe the burrowing owl as a canary in the mine, or an indicator species for the health of its Southern California ecosystem, so its slipping numbers may hint at ecological imbalance. In April 2003, the Defenders of Wildlife and other owl conservation organizations petitioned the California state government to list the owl under the state’s endangered species act. Unfortunately, the petition was unsuccessful, and the Athene Cunicularia’s numbers in San Diego County and California have continued to dwindle… until now. Last year, CCA organization STOP (Save the Burrowing Owls Project) was given the opportunity to participate in the San

Diego Zoo’s latest project: an initiative to create new homes for local burrowing owls. The idea was simple enough: use ground squirrels as eco-engineers. Said Colleen Lenihan, PhD., leader of the initiative: “The re-establishment of California ground squirrels is a critical component of any long-term recovery plan for burrowing owls and the larger ecosystem because squirrels provide vital resources. Sites with ground squirrel colonies have a greater diversity of reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds.” Additionally, as burrowing owls refuse to populate artificial burrows, why not relocate ground squirrels to reserves and have the rodents build homes for them? Despite the simplicity of the plan, its execution was infuriatingly complex. The plan required the safe and ethical capture of ground squirrels from nearby ranches, but in order to make the squirrels comfortable enough to build burrows, the team had to create a convincing ground squirrel habitat, too. Thankfully, the reserves were already suited to burrowing owls, which were introduced later. Beginning last April, every Sunday morning, STOPers drove down to a burrowing owl preserve, which were usually on U.S. Fishing and Game property, where they took part in the first phase of the initiative, which involved only ground squirrels. Since then, STOPers have assisted Zoo staff in introducing rescued burrowing owls to their new habitats and increased community awareness through public presentations. Step by step, STOPers are contributing to the saving of this vital species. Someday, they hope that this canary in the mine will sing a different, more vibrant song, indicating that the ecosystem is thriving again.

What You Can Do Although things are definitely looking up for the Athene Cunicularia, there is still much that can be done… 1. Visit www.sdburrowingowls.webs.com/ for more information on the burrowing owl. 2. Pay a visit to the San Diego Zoo, and keep an eye out for their burrowing owl exhibit. 3. Talk about the Athene Cunicularia. You’d be surprised by how fast things travel by word-of-mouth. Additionally, awareness spreads quickly on the person-to-person level. 4. Keep your pets indoors, or outdoors on a leash, as burrowing owls may be living in your community... you never know. 5. Read Hoot by Carl Hiaasen. 6. Write a letter to the California government. 7. Write letters to major San Diego construction firms and educate them on the fate of burrowing owl. 8. Make a documentary about the burrowing owl. They are regal creatures, and may go extinct during our lifetime if we sit here idly. 9. Buy a “Save the Owls Pronto” wristband from STOP for $3. 10. Sign STOP’s petition. 11.Take part in one of STOP’s educational burrowing owl workshops. 12. Join STOP in our efforts to conserve the burrowing owl through both fieldwork and community awareness.


Field Trips


Field Trips


Outreach


Outreach


Global Impact


T

he burrowing owl is in critical condition in San Diego. There are less than 90 left, and construction companies threaten to totally eliminate this owl from California. Already, the Los Angeles and Orange Counties have lost their entire burrowing owl populations, and San Diego’s is rapidly shrinking. The loss of the burrowing owl could mean disaster for Southern Californian ecosystems. Not only is it key to pest control and ecosystem evaluation, but it also helps to maintain the biodiversity of ecosystems, and thus losing it could disrupt ecological cycles and environmental stability. Should California lose this owl, the natural environment would in essence lose the ability to support life from drastic reductions in productivity, which would eventually jeopardize the future of humans in this environment. At S.T.O.P., we have seen this effect firsthand. We have seen owls sealed into their burrows or injured by construction practices, and observed the havoc this wreaks on the ecosystem. Our work is important not only because we are protecting the natural beauty of our community, but also because we only have one environment, and it will be nearly impossible to restore once it is destroyed. Our goal is simply to preserve our environment and this species for future generations and global environment. As Carl Hiaasen, author of bestselling book Hoot, put it: “I would like my children and grandchildren to be able to grow up in a place where they can always see a bald eagle or a manatee or a school of dolphins – or a pair of little burrowing owls, for that matter.” At STOP, we are part of the solution. Our project can help revitalize the burrowing owl population, and has already rescued 20 burrowing owls from construction sites and resettled them onto the colony we built last year, thus accomplishing one of the first successes in the conservation of this species and setting a precedent for other organizations worldwide. We have reestablished the squirrel population as well, relocating over 350 squirrels and stabilizing 3 separate ecosystems. Our work can thus save ecosystems from destruction and secure the future of the human population in our community. This year, we have spread the urgency of our work to others. Through our presentations, we have instilled in our future leaders a respect for the environment and taught them the need to preserve burrowing owls so that they make correct decisions in the future. We have educated current officials about the burrowing owl’s importance and informed many national and international conservation organizations about our novel project so that they may build on it and join us in protecting this species. In essence, we have taken another step in the preservation of our way of life, and of the way of life of the 6,717 species in California. We have added new ideas and a new attitude to our community and helped to advance conservation in the larger society.


Save The Owls Project  

Community Problem Solving Project Scrapbook

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you