CondorKids Program to Connect Local Students with California Condor Conservation and Recovery Efforts

CondorKids Program to Connect Local Students with California Condor
Conservation and Recovery Efforts

Department of Interior Announces Funding to Support
Urban Conservation

VENTURA, CA - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), in partnership with the Santa Barbara Zoo and Cornell Lab of Ornithology, is pleased to announce the expansion of the CondorKids program, a pilot education and outreach effort that connects students in predominantly urban areas with California condor conservation and recovery efforts.

CondorKids is one of ten programs to receive funding as part of the Department of Interior’s SoCal Urban Refuge Project announced by Secretary Sally Jewell this past Wednesday. Through a $1 million grant, the SoCal Urban Refuge Project incorporates outdoor learning, service and stewardship of natural habitats, and conservation-based projects for youth and young adults from diverse communities across southern California from San Diego to Santa Barbara.

“This dedicated funding will help engage the next generation of conservationists while also strengthening connections between the community and these public lands that belong to all Americans,” Jewel said.

CondorKids connects predominantly underserved students and communities in Ventura County with the work of wildlife biologists to conserve and protect the federally endangered California condor. As part of the program, students see California condors in the wild, just a short drive from their own backyards, at Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge.

“Many of these communities have California condors soar above them, but have not had the opportunity to learn about the bird’s history and the amazing recovery efforts helping to bring the bird back from near extinction, “ said Michael Brady, project leader for Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. “We have the opportunity to foster a conservation ethic in future generations by providing opportunities to learn about and experience these majestic animals, while at the same time building public awareness, a critical component of any threatened or endangered species’ recovery.”

CondorKids also provides opportunities for students to interact with nesting condors via the CondorCam, a live streaming camera that allows students to view a condor pair raising their chick in the wild.

Through this program, the Santa Barbara Zoo will also expand their California condor exhibit to help visitors understand how the captive condors they see at the zoo are contributing to the recovery of the species in the wild.

The new funding will also support curriculum development that promotes environmental literacy, with a specific focus on mathematics, science and technology.

“The program brings biologists and educators together to generate learning experiences for students both inside and outside of the classroom, building awareness that lasts a lifetime and inspiring a next generation of conservation stewards,” said Steve Henry, field supervisor for the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office.

For more information about other programs funded through the SoCal Urban Refuge Project visit

Images of the Secretary’s announcement event may be viewed here:

Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Asian elephant, California condor, Channel Island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others.

Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge is in close proximity to the urban population centers of Ventura, Fillmore, Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. A high mountain valley encircled by deep canyons, steep ridgelines, and rocky pinnacles, the refuge is the gateway into California condor country. Under the wing of these majestic birds, the refuge supports healthy examples of oak woodlands, grasslands, chaparral, coastal sage scrub, seasonal wetlands, riparian areas, and some of the last remaining intact stands of California black walnut.

Established in 1987, the Ventura Fish and Wildlife Office works to conserve and protect threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants across the central and southern California coast, collaborating with communities and conservation partners to build a future that supports both people and our unique and diverse natural resources. Find us on Facebook.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals, and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit

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