Pelicans focus of bird count on Ventura coast

Ventura County bird enthusiasts took to the coast on May 6 to count the brown pelican in an effort to better understand its population.

The survey, a joint effort by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird program, state agencies and the Audubon network is conducted with the intent to gather information needed to understand how potential threats from changes in weather patterns, prey availability or changes in habitat or contaminants could impact California brown pelican populations over time.

“Approximately 95 known brown pelican roosting sites were observed, in addition to observations of the local public who counted the birds at their favorite seaside spot,” said Robert McMorran, fish and wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Ventura. “The ultimate goal of the biannual survey is to build a long-term data set which we can use to identify population trends in the species; and so we are thankful to all who braved some unfavorable weather conditions along the coast on Saturday to count brown pelicans.”

For more information on the survey, visit www.fws.gov/ventura.

Citrus Saturday needs volunteers to collect fruit

Are you bursting at the seams with oranges? Is it a real lemon party in your backyard? Orange you glad that May 20 is Citrus Saturday then?

Food Forward’s Backyard Harvest Program volunteers will scour the county in search of backyards with fruit trees exploding with fruit, so much that the homeowner cannot utilize it all before going to waste. Upon collection, the fruit will be brought to Food Forward’s Oxnard sorting center for distribution to hunger relief agencies.

A typical backyard can produce between 100 and 1,500 pounds of fruit, which can help to put a dent in Ventura County’s food supply deficit. Homeowners will also receive tax-deductible donation receipts for their contributions to the program.

In 2016, the program netted 189,000 pounds of fruit, all of which was donated to local hunger relief programs. Food Share, Catholic Charities, Help of Ojai and Project Understanding have all been benefactors.

For more information on how to volunteer your supple trees, visit www.foodforward.org.

Local public works agencies in the spotlight

On Tuesday, May 23, the Ventura County Public Works Agency will host its National Public Works Week community event, recognizing the agencies that keep the county running.

The week of recognition was created in 1960 by the American Public Works Association, this year taking place between Sunday, May 21, and Saturday, May 27, with the theme “Public Works Connect Us.”

The Tuesday event is expected to draw 500 students from area schools and will feature a strong emphasis on STEM-focused careers, with Agency staff discussing ways that STEM can be utilized by starting a career in public works.

Other highlights include tours and information on native and drought-tolerant plants, surveying, rain and stream measurements, composting with worms, the importance of solar panels.

The Tuesday event will take place between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Ventura County Government Center, 800 S. Victoria Ave., Ventura. The city of Thousand Oaks will host a public event on May 23 and 24 at the Municipal Service Center, 1993 Rancho Conejo Blvd., Thousand Oaks; and the city of Oxnard will host an open house daily throughout the week, from noon to 5 p.m., at Oxnard’s City Hall Parking Lot located at Second and B Streets, Oxnard.

For more information, visit www.vcpublicworks.org.