Activities

Friends of California Condors Wild and Free is working hard to see a viable “wild and free” population of California condors once again soaring in the sky over California. We strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information about the condors to the general public to increase people’s awareness of both the successes and threats to achieving that goal.

Contact Stacey  e-mail: tours@friendsofcondors.org for information about our upcoming tours.

Here are some of the activities we engage in. We hope you will visit one of our information booths, lectures or refuge tours that occur throughout the year. You can contact us to provide a booth or speaker at your event, education in your classroom, or you can volunteer to help us out at one of our events. You are always welcome to drop in on our regular board meetings, the third Wednesday of every month at 7:00 PM at the Fish and Wildlife Office, at 2493 Suite A, Portola Road, Ventura.

Check the calendar for what we are up to now, or what’s coming up in the future. Or read on first, find an activity or event that interests you, then check the calendar for where and when. If you need more information, please contact us at activities@friendsofcondors.org

Look to our calendar to see our upcoming tours.  We continue to assist with projects at the refuges and engage in numerous outreach events educating folks about the California Condor.

Taking signals at CROP and talking about Hopper Mountain

Observing condors at CROP

Tours of Hopper Mountain and Bitter Creek Refuges

A recent tour (6-28-13) to Hopper Mountain featured a Pole Canyon nest entry.  This is the first time a tour has been given the opportunity to observe a nest entry.  All went well, the chick was healthy, the observers ecstatic.  Condor 111 came by to get a close view of us.  I think everybody was pleased that she had to do that several times before flying off.  The Pole Canyon nest has been fitted with a nest-cam.  When the final connections are completed off the mountain that nest will be featured as a live nest-cam.

Pole Canyon Nest Entry

Pole Canyon Nest Entry

The Friends of California Condors Wild & Free sponsors free lectures

At a recent event entitled, “The California Condor Recovery Challenge “.  Our guest speaker, Mr. John McCamman, is California Condor Recovery Coordinator for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. He spoke to the public in the Topping Room at the E.P. Foster Library in downtown Ventura from 3:00 to 5:00 pm on Sunday, February 24th.

John McCamman has served in this position since March 2012 and is responsible for coordinating the Service’s efforts to recover the endangered California condor, a species whose conservation affects thousands of square miles of Federal, State, public and private lands in the western United States and Mexico.  The Service-led California Condor Recovery Program is a partnership of public, private and non-profit groups, including zoos, tribes, universities, and government agencies in California, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Idaho, and Mexico.

Prior to joining the Service, McCamman served nearly six years with the California Department of Fish and Game (CDFG) as the Department’s Chief Deputy Director and Director.  He previously served as the chief of staff to California Congressman George Radanovich for nine years in Washington, D.C. and was involved in federal resources issues for the congressman, who was a member of the House Resources Committee.  McCamman has more than 15 years of experience as a local government administrator, including over seven years as county administrator in Mariposa and Shasta counties.

McCamman holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy from University of California, Santa Barbara and a Master’s in Public Administration from California State University, Sonoma.

The California condor was listed as an endangered species in 1967. The condor population dropped as low as 22 in 1982.  By 1987 California condors were on the verge of extinction with only 27 alive, as the last free flying condor, AC9, was taken from the wild. In 1992, the Service began reintroducing captive-bred condors to the wild to reestablish the population.

Current State of the Condor Population

Today there are 404 California condors alive with 235 flying free in California, Arizona, Utah, and Baja.   There are also 169 condors in the captive breeding program.

Friends of California Condors Wild & Free is a nonprofit 501 c3 organization that has the mission to enhance public awareness of the endangered California condor and ensure that they are protected, healthy, and free.

 Come learn about the endangered California Condor, North America’s largest bird. Learn how you can help the California Condor Recovery effort.  Sign up for a project!  Become a member!  Be informed!

 E.P. Foster Library is located at 651 E. Main Street in downtown Ventura.  Nearby free parking can be found at the parking structure located midblock on Santa Clara St. (enter from Santa Clara St.) between California St. and Chestnut St.

Information booth at Fairs, Festivals, and Earth Day Events; Kiosk on Hudson Ranch Road (name recently changed from Cerro Noroeste Rd), to provide public education

FCCWF regularly participates with booths during the fall months including Fall Color at the Kern River Preserve 10-27th, we recently participated in the Turkey Vulture Festival, Salmon Run and other celebrations throughout Ventura, Santa Barbara and Kern counties.

Seeing how she measures up to a condor – at the Oak Grove Earth Day Celebration in Ojai – April 21, 2012

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day on the first and third Saturdays of the month, FCCWF staffs an information kiosk (a mini booth) on Cerro Noroeste Road (Now called Hudson Ranch Road) next to the blue sign for Bitter Creek.  This is approximately 6 miles east of Hwy 166 between Cuyama and Maricopa.  Condors are frequently seen flying over the Bitter Creek Refuge from this spot.

Free Scientific and Historic Lectures

The lectures, which run about 1.5 – 2 hours, are scheduled on a weekday evening or on Saturday, two or three times a year.  Recent lectures, in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Thousand Oaks, featured scientists and academics knowledgeable about California condors and involved in different aspects of the recovery program.  Two recent speakers were Daniel George from Pinnacles National Monument and Mike Clark from the Los Angeles Zoo.

Dr. Curtis Eng, LA Zoo Veterinarian, speaking Thousand Oaks in 2010

Refuge Tours

FCCWF is permitted by the USFWS to conduct guided tours of the Hopper Mountain Condor Refuge and the Bitter Creek Condor Refuge.  We schedule at least 2 tours for each refuge each year, usually in the Spring and Fall.  The Hopper Mountain Refuge is located in the Sespe Wilderness near Fillmore, CA, and the Bitter Creek Refuge is located in the Cuyama Valley in southwestern Kern County.  http://www.vcstar.com/videos/detail/the-thrill-of-the-condor

A Condor Tour with 38 participants visits the Bitter Creek Refuge flight pen, Jesse Grantham and Vince Gerwe explain how the flight pen is used to help keep the condors healthy – April 7, 2012

Refuge and Condor Projects

We do just about anything else that contributes to the survival and growth of the condor’s wild population.  Activities have included helping the USFWS rebuild a blind destroyed in a 2007 wildfire in Ventura County, conducting cleanup campaigns of micro-trash sites, repairing the observation room and upgrading the flight pen pond at Bitter Creek, repairing the observation room at the Los Angeles Zoo’s condor breeding facility, volunteering as docents at the Santa Barbara Zoo’s condor exhibit and volunteering with the nest watching/guarding program administrated by the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Leveled up the ATV Storage Shed July-2013