The natural world is my passion, and I’m infatuated with wildlife - from conservation to science to photography. And like life, my blog is a dynamic environment that exudes a central theme but never ignores the fascinating tangents. I began with a few creative moments to fulfill a requirement, but awoke to find myself chronicling existence. Time will tell where this site is in 6 months or 10 years, but undoubtedly it will tell you where I have been and where I am going.
There’s a painting in California’s Central Valley. It’s a grassy-hilled canvas just north of Porterville that stretches 110 acres. Pointillism at its finest is an understatement as the rocky outcroppings rival any work of Seurat. And then there’s the wildflowers, placed ever so erratically along the foothill just as nature’s brush intended. Lewis Hill Preserve is a place where rare and beautiful works of art like the striped adobe lily bask in sharp contrast to the modernistic approach of development. A Sunday afternoon and a cool breeze, it was the perfect day for an art show…enjoy!
I’m no stranger to secondary poisonings and the impacts of anticoagulant rodenticides in our wildlife communities. I wish I could say the Burrowing Owl eviction process was traumatic enough, but there’s a gruesome step that often scurries under the radar when it comes to eliminating ground squirrels – a final blow to Burrowing Owl colonies who rely on these critters to make their homes. Within the last month Burrowing Owl Conservation Network staff members discovered poisoned ground squirrels littering the surface of a soon to be developed suburban Burrowing Owl habitat. Apparently the protocol being used was a stay as they lie approach.
Unfortunately, the poison is now available to continue its rampage throughout the ecosystem as raptors and mammals scoop up these easy to scavenge, deadly morsels. I recently caught up with and, through Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, am partnering with Raptors Are The Solution to combat secondary wildlife poisonings.
After finding several Cooper’s hawks dead on the streets in Berkeley, CA, Lisa Owens Viani and Allen Fish founded the group Raptors Are The Solution to raise public awareness about the issue of non-target poisoning from rodenticides. According to Lisa, “Our group is working to educate people and to develop a network of pest control companies that do not use poison to control rodents. We urge people to take common sense actions to exclude rats from their structures, clean up bird seed, ivy, and other rodent “attractors” in their yards, and when necessary, to use carefully placed snap traps (including inside bait boxes) to avoid harming small birds and other wildlife. (Glue traps are inhumane and have also killed small birds–we do not recommend them.)”
The U.S. EPA recently issued its final order restricting the sale of second generation anticoagulant rodenticides to residential consumers due to their widespread secondary poisoning of wildlife–hawks, owls, fishers, mountain lions, foxes, bobcats–the list goes on and on. These same products are also poisoning children, particularly in underserved communities. The EPA’s order specifically prohibits the sale of products containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone, and difenacoum to residential consumers. The EPA’s order is a great step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough. Anticoagulants are still widespread inside the innocuous-looking “bait boxes” one can see everywhere in the urban landscape.
Although most of the manufacturers have agreed to comply the EPA, Reckitt-Benckiser, the maker of D-Con, has vowed that it will fight the order. It continues to sell its dangerous products with complete disregard for children, pets, and wildlife. Reckitt-Benckiser makes Lysol, French’s mustard, Woolite and many other everyday products.
For more information see www.raptorsarethesolution.org
The Burrowing Owl population in Brentwood, CA is facing an incredible and almost unheard of threat from development as 20-30 breeding pairs and their babies are being subjected to sulfur gas bombs, rat poison spilling from ground squirrel bait stations, secondary poisonings, entrapment of owls under landscape material, and collapsed burrows that are effectively burying these small owls alive. Burrowing Owl Conservation Network has been joined by a team of local biologists donating their time and resources to help save the remaining owls. One biologist monitoring the site said she has never seen anything so horrific and because of the size of the colony, the loss represents a significant population-level impact. We need your help to protect these Burrowing Owls TODAY and spread the word!
Skills // Adobe After Effects, Adobe Flash, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Aperture etc.
Scott Artis is on the ride of a lifetime. A former molecular & cellular biology researcher and biotech account executive, he returned to academia in 2006 to pursue his passion in conservation. Scott is the founder of Burrowing Owl Conservation Network, holds degrees in Micro & Molecular Biology, graduated Magna Cum Laude in Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences and has a Masters in Environmental Science.There have been a few bumps, but a new course has been charted – so let’s enjoy the show.
I suffer from an interesting conundrum in that I am a relatively intermittent reader even though I am avid writer. It has something to do with a spotty attention span and a wandering mind. I also believe I’m possessed with a unique prose, but doesn’t everyone.
It’s not so much an affection for words as it is their resonance and cadence when strung together to complete a thought. As a story teller I dabble in poetry when the mood strikes and some newfound freedom means I can finally get back to that work of nonfiction.
Brainstorming, sharing, implementing new ideas and preserving are why I directly work for the following organizations or maintain professional memberships with:
Burrowing Owl Conservation Network (Executive Director), Sequoia Riverlands Trust (Development Director), John Muir Association (former Executive Committee Board Member), Society for Conservation Biology, Raptor Research Foundation, The Wildlife Society, and American Ornithologists Union.
I came up with a list of 9 books that I consider must reads or are in my pipeline to finish sooner than later…hopefully.
What is Life? (E. Schrodinger), On The Origin Of Species (C. Darwin), Abraham Lincoln: A Life (M. Burlingame), The Selfish Gene (R. Dawkins), Tuna: A Love Story (Richard Ellis), The Insect Societies (E. Wilson), On Thin Ice (R. Ellis), 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus & 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created (C. Mann)
Life is a picturesque journey and if you give it a chance you will discover it is full of intimate wildlife encounters. I strive to capture the essence of our planet’s amazing biodiversity, but am always on the lookout for any unique photographic moment.
Raptors, wildlife, the microcosm and a hint of architecture complete my transformation into an old world explorer driven to preserve our cultural legacy. And did I mention I am an aficionado of animal faces…the story is always in their eyes.