Saturday, May 20, 2017

In Memoriam

Point Dume Natural Preserve is just 33 acres, but this wind-blown point of land preserves one of the last undeveloped coastal bluffs in Los Angeles County, and it is unimaginably rich in wildflowers, wildlife and natural beauty. To the Chumash it was a sacred place. To the millions of visitors who walk its trails and photograph its dramatic cliffs and the people who live here it is an enduring landmark. It will always make me think of my father, who helped to preserve it for all of us. All photos @2017 Suzanne Guldimann.

I always find that once I've walked into the preserve, worries and stress recede.

To the east lies Big Dume Cove and the wide sweep of the Santa Monica Bay.

On a clear winter day, you can see all the way to the snow mountains beyond Los Angeles.

If you are feeling adventurous, a staircase leads to Big Dume Cove, below. At low tide, you can walk for miles.

There are tide pools to explore.

Low tide is a window into an alien world that is strange and beautiful, always in a state of change.

If you visit early enough or late enough you may be more likely to meet an egret than you are to see another human being.

Just make certain you give yourself enough time to return before the tide comes in again.

Back on top of the bluff, a rickety boardwalk leads to a whale watching platform.

Looking south, the wild open ocean stretches away to the horizon, as far as the eye can see.

As you stand there, you might see sea lions playing in the water below you.

Or hear the sound of gray whales breathing.

If you stay there long enough, California brown pelicans may glide by at eye level.

And you might see dolphins, either on the horizon...

...Or in the water below you.

From the whale watch, a precarious path takes you round the outer edge of the Point.

Look down and you may see the Point Dume sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks.

Look ahead, and Zuma Beach, framed by the western Santa Monica Mountains, lies spread before you like a tapestry or a plein air painting—the colors almost too vivid to be real.

There's a path leading down to Westward Beach here, but today we're going to the furthest western point of the headlands, beyond ancient dunes, eroded by wind and rain.

Here, where the world drops away and the ocean reaches to the sky, there is peace, and a sense of timelessness, no matter what changes the dynamic tides and the passing seasons bring. But for all of the sense of continuity, this landscape is always changing.

After the first winter rains the giant coreopsis turns the bluffs to gold.

Living gold that smells like honey and hums with the music of the bees.

Later, there will golden poppies and bush sunflowers and evening primrose.

Even when the living gold of spring wildflowers has gone to seed, there's the golden light of the setting sun, and the gold of sand and sun-warmed stone.

And all year round there is beauty, and serenity, and wonder.

My father worked tirelessly to help save the Point Dume Headlands. He organized meetings, gave talks, wrote letters, gathered signatures, and even traveled to Sacramento to meet with state officials. It took years, but this place was important to him. He wanted this special place, where flowers bloom and whales pass so close to shore you can hear them breathing, preserved not just as a park but as a nature reserve, for all of us, forever. Thank you, Dad, for everything. I love you, and I miss you.

John Guldimann, 1929-2017

All who come into being as flesh pass on,
and have since God walked the earth;
and young blood mounts to their places.

The busy fluttering souls
and bright transfigured spirits
who people the world below
and those who shine in the stars with Orion,
They built their mansions, they built their tombs,
and all men rest in the grave.

So set your home well in the sacred land
that your good name last because of it;
Care for your work in the realm under God
that your seat in the West be splendid.
The waters flow north, the wind blows south,
and each man goes to his hour.

So seize the day! hold holiday!
Be unwearied, unceasing, alive,
you and your own true love;
Let not your heart be troubled
during your sojourn on earth,
but seize the day as it passes!

—Anonymous, 1160 B.C., Translated from the Egyptian by John L. Foster

Friday, January 20, 2017

Malibu's Cabinet of Curiosities

This fabulous cabinet of curiosities was painted by Domenico Remps in the 1690s and resides in Florence. Here at the Malibu Post we have our own virtual cabinet of curiosities. Let's open it and take a look inside, shall we? Image: Wikipedia

“The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely to be preferred to the presence of those who think they've found it.”― Terry PratchettMonstrous Regiment

"Post truth" may be the buzzword for 2017, but "fake news" has a long history. And Malibu, a forbidden paradise in the early years of the 20th century, was a prime source for tall tales and improbable stories.

Mermaids, lost civilizations, giants, wild men, and pirate treasure? Avast ye matey, we've have them all in Malibu, or at least rumors of them. Cue the march from Raiders of the Lost Ark,  grab your hat, treasure map, and compass, and don't forget to pack some string—useful for tying up loose ends and suspending disbelief.

A 1908 Los Angeles Times article described Malibu as a "narrow stretch of tempting caves and coves, once the rendezvous of pirates, smugglers, outlaws and bandits, has proven a boon to treasure hunters after yarns of the Baron Munchausen type."

At the start of the 20th century Arch Rock marked the unofficial entrance to Malibu, a mysterious place where anything might be possible, including the ancient warning that here there be monsters. Image: Los Angeles Public Library

Yarns may have been all that anyone brought back, but the article presents a splendid assortment of them.

One can imagine that nameless Times editor, now long dead, gathering up a year's worth of oddities during a slow news week in October of 1908 and putting them all together to make a catalogue of marvels—a sort of journalistic stone soup intended to fill an empty column. He couldn't know that a hundred years later that article would be brightening a rainy day. 

I'm so glad they let us know it was "Exciting." Apparently they'd run out of exclamation points. The unnamed editor who assembled this masterpiece certainly made a heroic effort to tie all the threads of the article together. I especially like "Where Giants Died, Pirates Also Dallied." 

The first marvel to catch the eye in the Times' feature was a "burning mountain" discovered near the mouth of a Malibu canyon that "keep itself in the public eye throughout a run of nine days...smelling of sulphur," the article states. Intrepid investigators reported "bearing away as souvenirs rocks that were so hot they could not be carried in the hand."

We have plenty of volcanic rocks in and around Malibu, including this local landmark, but they are all extinct and can't account for the mysterious burning mountain story. The most widespread volcanic rocks are officially known as Conejo Volcanics and date to the Miocene, some 16-13 million years ago. There is, however, at least one active hot spring. 
Seminole Springs, once the heart of a thriving spa resort, now located at the edge of a tiny lake in the middle of a mobile home park, still gushes hot water and emits a faint but unmistakable whiff of sulphur. Photo: @ S. Guldimann 2017

There was also a report of a mermaid, or as the Times oh so wittily described her, "mer-miss." The story is less interesting for its mythical miss, allegedly spotted by the captain of the abalone launch Spindrift, than it is for its description of her roost, a "floating island" visible only at low tide some miles of off Point Dume.

You are more likely to find sea lions than mermaids perched on Pinnacle Rocks off Point Dume, but it's probably the best candidate for a mysterious "floating island only visible at low tide." Photo @ 2017 S. Guldimann

The rocks off Point Dume are a big enough hazard to navigation that for many decades  the Coast Guard maintained a buoy bell to warned boats away. It was replaced a couple of years ago with a GPS warning system. I still miss the mournful clanging of the bell. Photo @2017 S. Guldimann
Sasquatch's So Cal cousin makes an appearance in 1908 as well. The creature described by railroad worker Bertrand Basey as "a wild man" that "went on all fours," although when frightened from the camp store tent "at the blush of dawn," it stood upon its hind legs, "gave a mournful wail, and was lost in the underbrush."

Mr Basey told The Times he could have shot the creature, but "the face, covered with long, shaggy hair, was so like that of a man, that he lowered the weapon."

The report concludes that "tracks discovered on the beach that morning thought to have been made by the wild man, were not unlike those of a human being, with the addition of sharp claws."

It seems reasonable that the wild man may have been one the Santa Monica Mountain's last bears. Grizzlies and brown bears both lived in the range. In his book Happy Days in Southern California, Frederick Hastings Rindge, the owner of the Malibu Rancho in the late 19th century, recounted hearing the story of homesteader Andrew Sublett, "who had his arm broken by a grizzly bear in Malibu Canyon in 1854.

The California grizzly was hunted to extinction in the 1920s and was probably already locally extinct in 1908, but there were stories of brown bear sightings in the Malibu area as late as the 1920s.

Bigfoot may not have put in an appearance in decades, but the Santa Monica Mountains are home to a lone brown bear for the first time in almost 100 years. Photo: NPS

For the first time in decades, the Malibu area is once again home to a brown bear. National Park Service remote cameras have captured images of it and there are anecdotal sightings in the Malibou Lake area, but if wild men still haunt the hills they have a knack for avoiding observation, although there have been reported sightings of Bigfoot's California cousins in the San Gabriel Mountains as recently as 2002, according to the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization.

Giants were—pardon the dismal pun—big stuff in the early 20th century, and the same railroad grading crew that encountered the "wild man" shared descriptions of "bones and skulls of immense size" unearthed by a railroad grading crew near Point Mugu. The alleged find echoes a story that made national headlines earlier that year that claimed that three Santa Monica men, camping on the beach in or near Malibu, found 14 giant skeletons.

Strange news from the July 8, 1908, San Francisco Call. 

The July 8 edition of the San Francisco Call states that "the smallest skeleton indicates a stature of seven feet, while several of the Indians must have been at least eight feet tall," and concludes that "many relics of an extinct race have been found in the area, but no skeletons of such size have ever been unearthed."

By the time the story reached the Washington Times on July 13, the skeletons had grown to nine feet, at which point the story faded from the news.

Reports of people finding giant bones continued to circulate through the 1920s, but the only giant visible in Malibu today is the old fiberglass Muffler man who was brought to Malibu to advertise a burger joint and repurposed into a somberro-wearing hombre for the long gone La Salsa restaurant that replaced the burger joint, and his days may also be numbered.

Here at the Malibu Post our favorite story from that 1908 collection of curiosities is the tale of William Drake, who was reportedly prospecting for oil in Sequit Canyon when he struck canvas fabric at a depth of six feet, and not just any old strip of long buried sailcloth, but an enigmatic message left by pirates. Beneath a crudely scrawled skull and bones were printed the words."Death to all traitors."

Here's the illustration of the pirate message that accompanied the L.A. Times article. "Crudely scrawled," indeed. 

The article reports that Mr Drake, confident that he had uncovered a hidden cache of pirate treasure, continued to dig. Eventually he and his unnamed companions struck water, bailing heroically as they dug, they uncovered "what had every appearance of an immense iron chest, "before the flow of water increased, "gushing into the prospect hole, burying the tools and giving the diggers scant time in which to escape with their lives."

Drake allegedly recounted this tale on a trip to Santa Monica to "secure a pump." He stated that he saw enough of the chest, rusted and muddy though it was, to conclude that, "it is one of the chests filled with gold that was buried by Thomas Cavendish and his crew of English pirates, who were accustomed in the dim and misty past to waylay the treasure galleons of the Spanish on their way from the Spice Islands with valuable cargoes of silk and gold."

Cavendish, an English explorer who was an admirer of Francis Drake, arrived in the Gulf of California in October of 1587 with two ships, the Content and the Desire. On November 4th they spotted the Santa Ana, a Spanish galleon loaded with treasure, and chased her. A battle ensued. The Santa Ana, outgunned by the English cannon fire, surrendered.

English gentleman pirate Thomas Cavendish's infamous capture of the Spanish treasure ship Santa Ana is said to have occurred off Mazatlan, but it's not impossible that one of his ships could have ended up wrecked off the coast of Malibu. Improbable, but not impossible. Image: Wikipedia

The captured galleon was much larger than the English ships. Cavendish loaded both ships with as much treasure as they could hold and sailed away,  leaving the Santa Ana to sink. The Desire eventually made it back to England. The Content was never seen again.

Drake was pinning his hopes on the chest containing the treasure of the Content, rumored for years to  have been buried by marooned mariners in the Santa Monica Mountains, after the ship was wrecked in a great storm.

That's the story Mr Drake reported before collecting his pump and vanishing off into obscurity. If he uncovered anything other than mud in his excavation history hasn't recorded it, but the Santa Ana's gold isn't the only treasure rumored to be hidden in Malibu's mountains.

The December 27, 1907 Cincinnati Enquirer gives a fanciful account of a labyrinth of caves "in a cove to the north of Point Dume, in the direction of the Ventura County line," where "landmarks have recently been unearthed which are thought to have been placed by the survivors of [a pirate] expedition as marking the location of treasure boxes."

There are a few sea caves in Malibu. Alas, none of them are large enough to house labyrinths of caves, not even the famous Leo Carrillo sea cave, above, which has often been used as a film location, despite the inconvenient fact that the cave fills with water at high tide. Photo @ 2017 S. Guldimann

The caves described in the article came complete with "peculiar hieroglyphics" and mysterious artifacts. The article describes "peculiar rocks of a kind not native to the Malibu country" that "all seem to have been placed in a position which directs to one centering point," and concludes with bright optimism that "Efforts are now being made to translate the readings of the stones, and with this object in view excavations are to be made for some underground workings or for the cipher tablet that will give the key to the exact location of the treasure."

And in case you, dear reader, are seized with the mad desire to become a real life Goonie and seek this mythical cave and its missing treasure yourself, the author of the article helpfully informs us that "The doubloons and rich plate are believed to be within a league of Point Dume, the frowning point of rocks that is observed in the form of a sea lion jutting into the sea about 25 miles westerly from Santa Monica."

You can read the entire 1907 article at the home of Haunted Ohio Books.

State Parks has warred with resident supernatural beings over this ring of stones in Corral Canyon for years. Parks removes it; spirits replace it, but it's only a couple of decades old. These stones are probably intended as an invitation to meditation and contemplation, not as a guide to pirate treasure.

Not all the buried treasure in Malibu's storied history is a myth. Tiburcio Vásquez, busy bandit that he was, is said to have buried gold and other contraband in Las Flores Canyon as well as in the Aqua Dulce rock formations that still bear his name, and it's distinctly possible that his loot still rests in some backcountry Malibu cave.

Legendary local Robin Hood Tiburcio Vásquez is said to have hidden some of his vast quantities of ill-gotten gold in Malibu. There's a good chance the the story might even be true. 

Malibu still generates unusual headlines. There was the whole underwater UFO base brouhaha several years ago, and there's a gentleman who has often been interviewed about his theory that the Santa Monica Mountains hold the ruins of the legendary land of Lemuria, but the Santa Monica Mountains are a lot smaller than they were at the start of the last century, and sightings of sasquatch have given way to sightings of celebrities.

Balanced Rock, really does resemble an Easter Island Moa. The rock is not really balancing. Instead, it's an old volcanic core, firmly attached (for now at least) to the mountainside. The whole Sandstone Peak/Boney Ridge area, including this intriguing landmark, is not sandstone. Instead, it's part of the Conejo Volcanics Formation discussed above. The volcanic rock erodes at a slower rate than the sedimentary rock around it, leaving enigmatic formations all over the mountain range. Alas, geologists assure us that the fanciful shapes are the work of geologic processes and not evidence of lost civilizations.

The mermaids, wild men, giants, and lost civilizations that once made the front page have mostly been vanquished to the realm of legend, but the pirates and the bandits really were a part of local history, and there might actually be buried treasure somewhere here, still waiting to be uncovered. Stranger things have happened.  

If you, dear reader, know of a Malibu curiosity that ought to be added to our virtual cabinet please send us an email or leave a comment. You never know, there might be giants.

They might be giants!
They might be giants! 
They might be fake,
 They might be lies
 They might be big,
 Big, fake, fake lies. 

Tabloid footprints in your hair,
Tabloid footprints everywhere.
We can't be silent
'Cause they might be giants 
And what are we going to do 
Unless they are?

They Might Be GiantsFlood1990

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tending the Garden

Saint Francis watches over the winter garden at the Malibu Post. All photos @ 2016 S. Guldimann

“Neither need you tell me,” said Candide, “that we must take care of our garden.” 

“You are in the right,” said Pangloss; “for when man was put into the garden of Eden, it was with an intent to dress it: and this proves that man was not born to be idle.” 

“Work then without disputing,” said Martin; “it is the only way to render life supportable.”

Voltaire, Candide 

While much of the country is gripped in the icy embrace of the polar vortex, the first rains of winter have already brought Malibu temporary relief from the blight of drought, and the first green flames of winter grass are kindling the barren earth. There is the tantalizing sense that Eden is somehow in reach here, no matter how long the exile from paradise. 

A buckeye butterfly rests on a strawflower in a Point Dume garden. 

All the bleak and dire news in the world can't diminish the hope that comes with the rain, and in our gardens we have a small but real opportunity for conservation and grassroots activism by providing safe earth-friendly habitat for wildlife, birds, butterflies, bees, and humans. 

Planting a butterfly garden now will ensure it is in bloom during peak butterfly season in the spring but will also help year-round pollinator species, including bees, make it through the winter.

Bees gather on a matillija poppy flower. Re-wilding gardens with native necter-producing flowers may be key to the survival of many species, including wild bees, honeybees, and the rapidly vanishing monarch butterfly, which depends entirely on milkweed for survival. The Malibu Monarch Project offers info on butterfly plants for the garden, so does the Xerces Society.

Many birds overwinter in Malibu. Providing a safe harbor with water and shelter for these seasonal residents is an easy and rewarding way to help conserve wildlife.

Supplying clean, safe water for birds is one of the most rewarding ways to help backyard birds. We have dozens of visitors to our birdbath, including this wrentit. Most birds prefer a wide, shallow basin. Here are some suggestions from the Cornell Bird Lab website. Some species are attracted to dripping water—easy to supply by poking a small hole in a bucket or even a plastic water bottle and suspending it over the bird bath. Here's some practical advice on how to do this from the San Francisco Gate.  

A large birdbath may attack bigger birds, like this mourning dove. We've had hawks stop by for a bath—water flies in all directions. A friend with a beach house regularly has sea gulls stop by to bathe. "We had to get a sturdier base," she told The Post. "They used to knock the old one over." All birds appreciate fresh, clean water. Regular draining and scrubbing can help prevent the spread of parasites or illness. Rocks or gravel can be used to raise the level of a deeper vessel, or to provide a "shallow end" for wildlife in a garden water feature. A "lizard ladder" is helpful for preventing accidental wildlife drownings. A piece of bamboo or just a fallen branch from a tree placed at an angle in the water is all that is needed.

Early winter is the best time to plant wildflower seeds, bare root trees, cool weather veggies like lettuce, as well as many native garden plants. It's also the safest time to trim trees—a window of opportunity that is relatively small, since owls, hawks, and ever squirrels begin nesting in late winter.

Winter is the safest time to trim trees in Malibu, but nesting season begins early here. I photographed this cozy tree-top nest and its gray squirrel architect last February.

Here at the Malibu Post we encounter at least ten species of raptors throughout the year, including 
white-tailed kites and on one memorable occasion a peregrine falcon. Red-tailed hawks like this one routinely nest in the neighborhood, so do red-shouldered hawks, American kestrels, barn owls, great horned owls, and western screech owls.

Barn owls are happy to set up shop in outbuildings or even attics, and great horned owls are opportunists who recycle the old nests of other raptors or crows in any tree, even sometimes palm trees, but western screech owls depend on native oaks for shelter. Property owners with room for oaks in their gardens have the opportunity to create habitat for a wide range of species.

Property owners who have room to plant oaks can help encourage oak-dependent native species like this acorn woodpecker.

Gardeners who would like to grow oaks can try their luck sprouting acorns. Native live oaks are easy to start this way, but all types of native oaks, even valley oaks, are easy to start in pots, as are California black walnuts and bay laurel. Just don't leave them in their pots too long. All three species depend on a deep taproot and won't thrive if that root doesn't have room to grow.

It's also a good time to try rooting cuttings or growing root divisions from local native plants. At the Malibu Post we've successfully rooted cuttings of mugwort, black and purple sage, buckwheat, ceanothus, penstemon, golden current, and toyon berry, and failed dismally at white sage; sagebrush; and Mexican elder.

A black sage sprig ready for planting, with the bottom two rows of leaves carefully removed. Black sage is a great garden plant, with aromatic leaves and blue flowers that attract butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds. It's also an interesting substitute for garden sage in the kitchen—a bit mintier and more pungent than the ordinary market variety. 

The cutting is planted in ordinary potting mix and gets lots of water—it is important to make sure the soil never dries out.

Once the cutting has taken root it can be transplanted into the ground, where if all goes well, it will grow into a plant like this.

Hummingbird sage, with its pineapple-scented leaves and beautiful purple flowers, grows well from root cuttings. So do corm-based blue-eyed grass, California native irises, and even some of our native ferns, like polypody and bracken.

Plant some wildflower seeds in an unused corner of the garden right now, and you may have a living tapestry there in the spring. This mix included poppies and owl clover.

Coyote brush, California bush sunflower, and laurel sumac—three critically important coastal sage scrub plants—readily grow from seed. So do many of our most beautiful wildflowers, including poppies, lupin and clarkia. 

Many rare and hard to propagate native species can be found at the Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley or at Bob Sussman's Matilija Nursery in Moorpark. It's worth a winter pilgrimage to both nurseries.

Not all native plants are hard to find. This Cleveland sage has become a garden favorite and is readily available. This plant came from Cosentino's Nursery here in Malibu. Local nurseries an often offer expert advice on the best plants for the area. In the rush to replace lawns with drought tolerant options many Malibu residents have inadvetantly turned their gardens into deserts. Grass is not ideal from a drought perspective but the right kind of grass and the right watering schedule can greatly reduce the amount of water a lawn requires. And unlike artificial grass or gravel, grass sequesters carbon, and if it isn't treated with pesticides provides habitat for a surprising number of invertebrates as well as the birds that feed on them. There's also been an alarming rush towards ripping out mature landscaping and replacing it was succulents, many of which are surprisingly toxic. You can read more here. Plants like pencil cactus, agave, and sego palm are popular because they are strikingly beautiful, but they can cause serious allergic reactions in humans and pets. A single sego palm seed can kill a large dog or a child.  

One of the most important contributions to the environment we can all make is eliminating toxic pesticides from our homes and gardens. Poison Free Malibu is working tirelessly to eliminate the deadliest wildlife-killing rodenticides—unfortunately found all over Malibu in bait boxes, but we can all help by excluding rodents, instead of poisoning them and making sure accidental food sources like garbage cans and pet food are cleaned up and secure. 

Eliminating herbicides like Roundup and toxic insecticides also helps every part of the local ecosystem, from soil organisms to bees and butterflies to humans and pets. Visit Poison Free Malibu's website for information and practical advice.

Birds depend on insects—especially caterpillars—as high-protein food for their young. If humans are willing to put up with a few creepy crawlers they can help hundreds of backyard species thrive.

The pocket gopher is probably the number one reason Malibu homeowners resort to outdoor use of rodenticides. And because this small rodent is the bottom of the food chain, poisoning this wee beastie causes secondary poisoning to every species that depends on rodents for prey, including owls, hawks, bobcats, raccoons, weasels, badgers, coyotes, mountain lions and domestic cats and dogs.

In a healthy ecosystem gophers are kept in check by all the species currently being poisoned by rodenticide overuse, like this benign gopher snake. 

Topanga recently became a National Wildlife Federation certified Wildlife Friendly Community. That's something Malibu could do, too. Leaving or creating  "wild" areas, and providing water and bird and butterfly friendly plants help create islands of habitat is even in the urban areas.

At the Malibu Post we have resident rabbits like this one, which lives in a brushy corner of the backyard, in addition to gray squirrels, dusky-footed wood rats, gophers, voles, and field mice. Wild visitors include a veracious gopher-eating short-tailed weasel, a family of bobcats, the entire east Point Dume coyote clan, and assorted raccoons, skunks, gray foxes and possums. We love all of our creatures, even the skunks, but realize that not everyone enjoys having backyard wildlife. Secure fencing that extends a couple of feet under ground is the best way to discourage visitors. Most species can fit through astonishingly small gaps in or under fencing. It's a good idea to check the fence line regularly, and make sure trees, bushes, or vines aren't creating a wildlife highway. One place no one wants wildlife is in the house. Sealing openings like the gaps around pipes and making sure all vents are screened with hardware cloth can help. 

Building or buying a bird box is a great way to help native birds We got this blue bird box last Christmas and were rewarded with not one but two successful batches of bluebirds during spring and summer. Location is extremely important for a bird box success story. This one was placed about six feet up the trunk of a liquidamber tree that offered the parent birds shelter and secure perching and vantage points as well as afternoon shade to keep the nestlings from overheating. If you're sure you live in a location where rodenticides aren't being used a raptor box can be a great addition to the garden.

Learning to live with wildlife, even the species we aren't always comfortable with, like coyotes, is a huge piece of the local environmental equation. Coyotes primarily prey on rodents like ground squirrels, gophers and wood rats and help control them. Learn more about coyote proof fencing and other coexistence techniques at The Mountain Lion Foundation offers advice on dealing with Malibu's biggest urban predator.

You don't need a garden to tend to nature. All of the non- profits mentioned here depend on contributions. At Poison Free Malibu those donations help pay for ordinary but essential needs like printing and mailing. At Project Coyote  they help fund co-existance workshops and education outreach. Donations to the National Wildlife Federation can be earmarked to help save Malibu's mountain lions and build the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Overpass.

All Malibu residents are stewards of our natural resources, and we are blessed to have a national park as our backyard and the ocean at our door. Every canyon, every creek, every road leads to the sea. Malibu has a tradition of valuing those resources and our newly installed city council has vowed to protect them, but it's up to all of us to work together towards that goal.

Malibu residents often have the mountains or the ocean as their backyard. It's an extra responsibility for all of us but also one the great joys of living here. This remarkable group of sea birds includes two California brown pelicans, an adult Western gull, a juvenile Western gull and two ring-billed gulled, and they aren't out in the middle of some lonely stretch of unspoiled seashore. Instead, they're right here:

The fact that we still do have so much wildlife is a testament to our passionate conservation activists, who will continue to fight for the environment no matter what the odds.

There is still time to plant the seeds of tomorrow. For now, let's just enjoy the coming of the rain and the season of peace and joy and hope.

In the garden of my heart, the flowers of peace bloom beautifully.

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Great Bell Chant, a Buddhist Prayer for the End of Suffering

The third annual Malibu Post calendar is now available for 2017. The calendars are 8.5 x 11 and feature 12 of our favorite Malibu Post photos from 2016 printed on heavy photo stock and spiral bound, for $14.95 plus sales tax. We will gladly accept cash or checks. Shipping is $4Free delivery to your door in the 90265 area code. Orders can be placed using the contact form in the right column.