The Goleta Sanitary District (GSD) plant site is a well known and documented birding hotspot. Records go back to 1975, and currently sit at over 160 species. Management and staff have been very kind to the birding community over all these years, including opening the facility for us to conduct our Christmas Bird Counts. When the subject of their annual Open House with its Jurassic Park theme came up, it seemed natural and logical for us to partner and support them and conduct a photo contest as well.
So on a perfect day, Saturday the 23rd of September, David and Janice Levasheff, Jessica Alstatt, Jayne Wamsley and myself put together an impressive booth: Three canopies, five tables, display boards, museum specimens and lots of literature created a very attractive, accommodating and informative environment for approximately 1,100 members of the the public attending the event.
The winning photos were displayed at our booth, and can be viewed in the GSD offices when you go and sign in to bird. Winners are: Dave Furseth of Marietta California, and locals Betsy Mooney, Bradley Hacker, Glenn Kincaid, and Mark Holmgren.
At 10 AM, the stars of our booth showed up: Kisa the Peregrine Falcon with Chris Mersey, and Puku, our Western Screech-Owl, with Debbie Loranjo. They engaged with the public for two hours. Kisa dazzled with her majestic boldness while Puku just stole people’s hearts with her cuteness.
Jayne set up an amazing “I’ve Got a Bone to Pick” game for kids, created by this summer’s Teen Program at the Museum of Natural History. Since it involved the link between dinosaurs and birds, this game was a nice tie-in to the Open House theme.
EITS information boards set out on the lawn provided a lot of great information about our programs. Jessica Altstatt provided information on bird species seen at the GSD.
Our President Dolores Pollock and Executive Director Cherie Topper arrived midday to relieve the crew and mix it up with the public. Everyone in the booth made many great connections, including meeting the board members of the GSD.
At 1PM Ivan the Red-tailed Hawk was brought in by Griselda Velasquez, and Athena the Barn Owl was brought by Debbie Loranjo, her second shift. Again, the birds really pulled in the public and initiated a lot of great conversations about nature and wildlife.
At 3PM the crew started taking things down with the help of Kathleen Boehm, and before we knew it, we were done. A good time was had by all.
I believe we made a lasting positive impact on GSD management and crew as well as the thousand or so members of the public.
Board Note: Many thanks to Jeff Hanson for heading up this effort, and to our EITS bird handlers for taking the time to brave the wind, heat, and parking challenges!