In Memoriam: Joy Parkinson


Photo courtesy Brina Carey

By: Florence Sanchez

Joy Parkinson, long-time resident of Santa Barbara and enthusiastic birder and community activist, passed away Friday, August 9, 2013. Joy was a founding member of Santa Barbara Audubon and served several terms as its president, most notably during the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. For many years, she coordinated the Sierra Club’s cruises to the Channel Islands on the Swift of Ipswich (pretty much all we had for regular pelagic cruises before the Condor and Condor Express). She served on the Santa Barbara County Parks Commission and along with Charis Bratt and James Slater, was instrumental in getting Lake Los Carneros and the surrounding land dedicated as a county park for all to enjoy, rather than becoming a private housing development on the lake. She was the first Director of the Coastal Information Resource Center and in that capacity organized a conference on the past and future of the Goleta Slough. More recently, she served on the Committee for the Future of Bishop Ranch, an area she and her long-time friend Jan Hamber had surveyed on many Santa Barbara Christmas counts.

Joy was most noted for her gift of friendship. She loved to share her enthusiasm for birds and the natural world and was “mother Audubon” to many young birders in the county. She continued her interest and support of Audubon throughout these last few months. She was thrilled to be able to attend Audubon’s 50th anniversary celebration this summer even though her health was declining.

In accordance with her wishes, her family plans no memorial services. But when you are checking the trees around Stow House for vagrants or standing on the bridge at Lake Los Carneros watching for rails, please say “thanks, Joy.” It will be a fitting memorial tribute.