As Becky said, we –Becky, Emily, Tim, Kyra, and me – headed down to southern California to meet some folks down there and visit the facilities. After arriving at LAX, we dropped Tim off at the Ft. MacArthur Marine Mammal Center and the rest of us went south to Huntington Beach and the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center. Kyra and I had been there before for the Bridgemark spill in Placentia, and it was great to see Debbie, Sheila, Kelly, and the rest of their enthusiastic staffers again. Becky and Emily got to see the facility for the first time, and while we were there we checked out a few oiled common murres that had come in during the past few weeks. We all met Greg, their director, and he showed us around. Emily and I went over inventory and oil spill readiness with Debbie, and we all marveled at the beautiful marsh restoration that WWCC partner organization, Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, is working on adjacent to the rehab building. We also enjoyed gazing at beautiful Huntington Beach, although it was a bit chilly and windy for taking a beach walk. I purchased a great little book called “My Mother was a Feather Duster” for my 5-month-old; this book was written by one of WWCC’s dedicated volunteers, and is now being sold as a fundrasier for the center (Check out their website at http://www.wwccoc.org to order yours!).
The next day we met with David at the Ft. MacArthur Marine Mammal Center. We got a tour and met several California sea lions and a Guadeloupe fur seal pup who was quite feisty. It’s a small facility, but they obviously do a lot with what they have! We also went over oil spill supply inventory with David and they are well-stocked and ready to go.
Next, we took a few steps across the parking lot to the San Pedro oiled bird facility, and met with Julie and Adam. We also saw Kylee and Hayden and several volunteers as they were running around (figuratively speaking) taking care of the many, many birds they have in care now. For me, it was a bit of a reunion with Julie and Hayden, since I saw them last week in Albany at the National Wildlife Rehabilitator’s Association annual meeting (more on that next time). Adam has done a fantastic job with the landscaping and outdoor area of the facility, and we were all very impressed. We were also impressed (but not surprised!) at how organized Julie has kept all of the oil spill supplies. Unfortunately, they have enough experience down there with oil spills to know they have to be ready for the worst at all times, and they take that very seriously. On the other hand, it’s comforting to know that if a big spill happened tomorrow, they’d be all set up and ready to go in a matter of a few short hours.
After Tim chatted with Adam about some facility issues, we headed back to LAX and had an uneventful trip to Davis. It was a great trip and I especially enjoyed seeing the San Pedro facility, since I’ve heard a lot about it, but had never seen it. We all always like getting to chat with the staff and volunteers at our member organizations, since we don’t get to see them as often as we’d like. It’s great to work with such committed and caring people!