Latest Blog Posts

From first time spill responder to first time father

I am just shy of my one-year anniversary with the OWCN Management Team (June 2023) and starting to reflect on all the events that have happened in this short period, from responding to my first oil spill at Tanzanite Park in November, to welcoming my first child in December. 

Jewelry on Birds: The Importance of Banding (and Managing your Inventory!)

Maybe you have gone birding and seen a bird with a band on it, or been strolling the beach in southern California and seen a banded Snowy Plover? If so, consider yourself lucky! Seeing a banded bird (especially if you don’t know where to look) is a bit of a rare sight, even though the USGS’s Bird Banding Lab (BBL) works around the clock to help manage and keep track of all the bands that researchers use as well as all the band “returns” that get reported back to the BBL when birds with bands are spotted.

Bad Jokes, but Amazing Support

As many of you may have read by now, the OWCN Management Team is deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely loss of Matt Blake, the One Health Institute's Chief Operating Officer, the OWCN's manager of administration and communications, and Oilapalooza's main Dad for the reception's "jokes". Matt passed Monday, 20 February 2023 from an acute medical condition, and is desperately missed by his wife Sarah, two 13-year-old twin daughters Charlotte and Delilah, and a community in shock and sorrow.

A Visit to CALM

A couple of weeks ago, our team headed down to Bakersfield to visit our Member Organization, CALM (California Living Museum), and were treated with a tour of their new Wonderful Wildlife Care Clinic, which will be utilized during local oil spill responses and is the very first inland oiled wildlife care facility.

- Lorraine Barbosa, Senior Manager: Care Operations

Toro Canyon Creek 2.0

In August of 2021, five months into my tenure with the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, I mobilized to my first ever oil spill response. Some of you may recall the Toro Canyon Creek Incident, most notably for the 92 California and Baja California Treefrogs that were successfully rehabbed and released following months of exposure to crude oil in their environment.

Honoring Jack Ames

Jack Alfred Ames graduated from Great Falls High School in Montana in 1959, attended American River Junior College, then earned a B.S. in Life Sciences at Sacramento State College in 1967.

Close to Home

Do you have a favorite park? I’m not talking about Yellowstone or Yosemite. I mean a local community park. Either one that you grew up near, playing on the swings and basketball court or maybe it’s your favorite quiet place to walk your dog. Can you picture it?

Wait, it’s 2023?

I can’t believe January is almost over. Since November, the OWCN has been busy responding to at least one oiled wildlife event at a time.

A Huge Thank You To My OWCN Family!

As some of you may know, I recently accepted the Wildlife Response Coordinator position with CDFW-OSPR, and will be starting in January! As sad as it is to be leaving my friends and colleagues, I am very excited for this new chapter. However, before I go, I wanted to write one last blog as a thank you to all my colleagues who have taken me under their wing over the past few years and taught me everything I know about oil spill response. When I first joined the OWCN, I had absolutely no knowledge of oil spill response.

Cosco Busan - 15 Years On

Today marks 15 years from when the container vessel, M/V Cosco Busan, allided with the San Francisco Bay bridge, setting into motion both a massive clean-up and wildlife effort, but also leading to transformative prevention actions both in California as well as the US.

Save the Snakes @ Oilapalooza 2022!

As you may have read in Danene’s blog post last week, Oilapalooza 2022 took place October 22nd-23rd after a year-long covid delay. It was my first Oilapalooza and it is one to be remembered! Day one offered lectures, breakout sessions, and a surprise Escapely Responder Challenge Event, where I was tasked to help run the “vault” challenge. In the vault challenge, teams were given three scenarios where they needed to dress a fellow team member in the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) for the given scenario. To no surprise our participants excelled at this task!


Oilapalooza 2022!

On October 22-23rd the Oiled Wildlife Care Network hosted its biennial conference, Oilapalooza! This two-day conference is hosted by OWCN for its Network of Member Organizations and consists of lectures, interactive activities, and hands-on workshops. This year we held the conference at our home base in Davis, CA. We had over 175 attendees (between our in-person and virtual opportunities) from greater than 35 of OWCN’s Member Organizations, as well as some affiliated agencies and colleagues.

Water Safety

Most of us enjoy a day on or near the water, and images of soft waves, turquoise blue water, white sand, fresh air, and cool breezes instantly flood our minds. There is an endless number of water activities that come to mind: surfing, sailing, fishing, snorkeling, diving, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, water skiing, just to name a few. For some of us, in our day-to-day jobs we can also find ourselves on the water – in my case, when looking for oiled wildlife during spill events, or when doing research.

OWCN Attends the 14th Effects of Oil on Wildlife Conference

OWCN’s Management Team members, along with many network organization members, attended the Effects of Oil on Wildlife (EOW) Conference in Long Beach, CA September 26th-30th. This conference has occurred every few years since its inception in 1982 and is “the only global meeting focusing on the planning, response, rehabilitation, and research aspects of oil spills and their impacts to wildlife”.

World Mental Health Day

As we have increasingly seen over the past decade, the best oiled wildlife responders are those that concentrate not only on the health of the animals in their care, but also on their own mental and physical health. On this, World Mental Health Day, we would like to share a post from our partners, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, illustrating this and giving tips on prioritizing your own mental health.