The Sierra Club’s Santa Monica Mountains Task Force (SMMTF) was created in 1972. Our initial efforts were to bring attention and support to the Santa Monica Mountains as a great natural, cultural and recreational resource.
The SMMTF has long played an active role in campaigning to purchase significant open space in these mountains. We have worked to elect political leaders who fight to obtain new parkland and who endorse the highest level of protection for natural resources.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Sitta pusilla POPULATION: 1.4 million TREND: Decreasing HABITAT: Loblolly, Longleaf, Shortleaf, and pine-oak forests.
The perky, social Brown-headed Nuthatch never strays far from its favorite pine-forest habitat, where small flocks range through the trees, easily detected by their squeaky calls. Even smaller than its close relative theWhite-breasted Nuthatch, it’s no wonder that this tiny songbird’s species name is pusilla, Latin for “very small.”
The Brown-headed Nuthatch, like theGreen Heron, is one of the few birds in the world known to regularly use tools. When foraging, it may select a flake of pine bark, then use it as a lever to pry up bark scales to get at food hidden beneath, usually insects and spiders or their eggs. This enterprising little bird has also been observed using twigs and pine needles as tools. A Brown-headed Nuthatch will even carry its tool from tree to tree as it forages, or use it to cover up a cache of seeds.
SCIENTIFIC NAME:Chauna torquata POPULATION: 100,000–1,000,000 individuals. TREND: Stable HABITAT: Freshwater tropical and sub-tropical wetlands, including lakes, marshes, flooded grasslands and lagoons.
The Southern Screamer (also known as the Crested Screamer) may look ungainly at first glance, with its big body, disproportionately small head, and thick legs. But this large, gray marsh bird, closely related to geese and other waterfowl, is actually a strong swimmer and flier.
A new UNHCR project, The Dream Diaries, visualizes the dreams of children who have fled their homes and found a better life in Europe.
Four young ‘online creators’ have traveled over 7,000 kilometers across Europe to meet a dozen refugee and asylum-seeking children as part of a new project, in association with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, that lets the youngsters’ imagination run free.
The Canadian government has banned commercial hunting of these vulnerable white pups since 1987 and established strict rules for tourist interaction. That helped to protect the population, but climate change brings new uncertainty to their future. Already the Magdalen archipelago is experiencing stronger storms like Hurricane Dorian, which tore away parts of the islands in 2019. And a diminishing ice barrier no longer protects against winter storms. One study shows that temperatures around the islands have “warmed 4.2 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th century, twice the global average.”
The difficulty in reaching harp seals is not for lack of seal numbers. According to Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), they are 7.4 million strong in three population groups (Northwest Atlantic, Greenland Sea, and White Sea/Barents Sea). The problem is retreating ice resulting from warming waters. This ice loss affects both the seals, who pup on the ice to avoid predators, and the humans on Quebec’s Magdalen Islands, who rely on the ice for protection from winter storms.