Comment date: 25 September 2014
Over the past year, several people have urged us to join the California State Parks, and what they are called locally, the Central Coast State Parks Association, CCSPA. More people with various perspectives urged and spoke with us. The Morro Bay Museum Manager, docents from the CA State Parks along with docents from the Friends of the Elephant Seal, freelance wildlife photographers and just plain friends. There were a few who were not enamored with the idea, so there were some obstacles and hurdles to overcome.
Early on, we could not come to an agreement of distribution of our funds. You see, we did all the work creating and filing for our nonprofit organization, Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch. It took time. A very kind and astute attorney, who already had a relationship with the State Parks joined in. A generous CPA committed time and educated us about the steps. One of our Board of Director members, who was a long time docent at Montaña de Oro was encouraging and inspirational.
By July 2014, we still had requested and required a level of individuality for our PCPW. We wanted the earnings that come from donations and sales to go to CalPoly Scholarships for Ornithology and Wildlife Biology students and not for State Park trails, bathrooms and displays.
After several months, a new approach was found. We would have a separate bank account for the PCPW Scholarships. We have offered our skills and experience along with the nonprofit organization to make this work. Negotiations between the Parks and PCPW went well and eventually, both of us found value in the connection we had made.
Bob Isenberg is a self-taught naturalist, an avian behaviorist and keen observer. Born in Pasadena, California, as a teenager he was fascinated with birds and especially wanted to see a peregrine falcon. After a tour in the Navy and time spent in Northern California, in 1969 at 28 years old, he arrived in San Luis Obispo. With experience as a Heavy Equipment Operator, he took a job with the City of San Luis Obispo. Being out of doors constantly, he was always aware of the birds that peaked his curiosity. That first year working for the City of San Luis Obispo, he saw his first peregrine falcon on the cliffs at Shell Beach. He’s been hooked ever since! Additional study, observations and friendships with peregrine experts gave him his background expertise. Bob is the Guide that you’ll find at Morro Rock, a teacher, a slide show presenter and an enthusiastic writer that you all know from our PCPW Website.
Heather O’Connor, born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, is a traveler, has BFA in Illustration, a BS in Animal Biology and has been on several Earthwatch Expeditions in Peru, Brazil, Belize, Chile, Australia, Costa Rica, US Virgin Islands, Madagascar, South Carolina and Colorado, assisting with data collections of katydids, peccaries, squirrel fish, rodents, platypuses, dinoflagellates, lemurs, diamondback terrapins, wildflowers and pitta-like ground rollers. All this mixed in with family life, curiosity, science, art and travel have taken her many places. She is the person who assisted Bob in creating the nonprofit PCPW. She’s an Elephant Seal Docent and person who posts Bob’s stories and photos, mostly from Cleve Nash, and dreams up with Bob what to do next to make the Pacific Coast Peregrine Watch the best it can be. Someone said they found each other “under a rock.” One of them is still at that “rock” every day!
To pass this passion, enthusiasm and education along to others is the reason that we are here. Enjoy.
Happy trails, Bob and Heather