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By on July 27, 2021 in News, Newsletter
On their annual spring migration bird count, the “Big Day of Birding,” in 2018 are (from left to right) Bill Shanbrom, Rick Ridgeway and Jesse Grantham.

Former Board member and dedicated OVLC volunteer Jesse Grantham and his wife Trina have moved to North Carolina to be closer to their grandchildren. Longtime Ojai residents and OVLC supporters know Jesse as the local authority on all things avian. Perry Van Houten wrote a lovely and fitting tribute to Jessie in the Ojai Valley News on April 23, 2021. 

What folks should know is that in addition to being such an accessible and generous font of bird knowledge, Jesse played a noteworthy role in the conservation of the landscapes in Ojai’s backyard. By joining the condor recovery program early on, Jesse helped save one of the most iconic birds in the world. The continuing success of the condor program has provided an important rationale to save land. The following are some notable land conservation achievements that were at least in part saved to protect habitat for condors. 

California Condor. Photo taken by Nathan Wickstrum
  • Carrizo Plain National Monument (240,000 acres)
  • Chimineas Ecological Reserve (39,000 acres)
  • Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge (14,000 acres)
  • Wind Wolves Preserve (93,000 acres)
  • Tejon Ranch (240,000 acres)
  • The Nature Conservancy in the southern Sierra Nevada (50,000 acres) 

OVLC Executive Director, Tom Maloney, has been involved in a few of these endeavors and he can personally testify that Jesse was always available to provide knowledge and ecological perspectives on the protection and management of these vast areas. 

Since moving to Ojai, Tom had the benefit of joining Jesse on a couple of trips to the Carrizo Plain National Monument and was humbled by Jesse’s knowledge of these landscapes. Those early condor biologists hiked and camped all over the mountains behind Ojai. Standing on a pullout overlooking the Cuyama Valley Jesse would recall the early days. He knows those peaks and valleys like most of us know our neighborhoods. 

On behalf of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, our deepest thanks to Jesse for making this corner of the world a better place to be! 

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