Did you know that when you sign in for a hike you are signing a liability waiver? In order to particpate in any of the Sierra Club’s outings you must do so. Beginning in January 2020, the Angeles Chapter has a new liability waiver. Read it now and don’t hold up the line signing in: www.sierraclub.org/angeles/leadership-outings/forms-resources.
I love to go a-wandering/ Along the mountain track/ And as I go, I love to sing/ My knapsack on my back.
Do you like to wander? We land mammals wander here on terra firma. Did you know there are also animals that wander the seas? Our famous one is the California gray whale.
Gray whales don’t carry knapsacks, but they do have a thick layer of blubber (fat) that supplies the food energy they need for migration. The gray whale has one of the longest migrations, over 10,000 miles round trip! In summer they live in the Bering and Chukchi Seas north of Alaska, fattening up for their journey. In fall, they travel south to Baja California in Mexico. In Southern California we start seeing them in December, though some of the younger whales may wander in and out of the area earlier. The whales spend winter in the warm lagoons of Baja where they breed and give birth. In spring they swim back north to their feeding grounds. This time they hug the shore. The favorable ocean currents make swimming easier for the little ones. Being closer to shore and the kelp forests helps moms protect their babies from ocean predators like orcas and sharks. Read More
Just reaching the South Pole is an achievement. What is it like to be part of group of scientists spending a full year there?
Sierra Club member Dr. Steven Morris will show us in a slideshow from his South Pole year, 1984-85. He was responsible for maintaining the computers and running a seismometer for UCLA. In addition to seismology, scientific teams there during his stay studied balloon-borne meteorology, ice-core drilling and the aurora australis. Dr. Morris will tell what it’s like to winter-over, and how science gets done at this remote and hostile location.
Join us on Wednesday January 22, 2020, 7:00 PM, at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Center Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates (entrance also on Deep Valley Dr). To take the chill off, snacks and refreshments will be served. For more information, contact Joyce White, 310-383-5247.
Bring your own bottle — not necessarily booze. Carry your own filtered tap water so you can politely turn down offers of water in plastic bottles from friends and business associates.
Bring your own bags. You already bring large sacks when you shop for groceries. You can also bring smaller bags for produce and bulk items like rice and granola.
Bring your own box. Bring a reusable plastic box (Tupperware or the like) when you get take-out or want to take home half of that extra-large restaurant meal. Read More
Dec 9 Mon O: Holiday Lights Hike. Join our annual easy social hike to enjoy the Holiday Lights of Sleepy Hollow in Torrance. Meet 7 PM in Redondo Beach Riviera Village parking lot across from Trader Joe’s, 1 block west of PCH & Palos Verdes Bl. via Vista del Mar. The hike will last about 1 1/2 hrs. Bring comfortable walking shoes & red lens flashlight. Ldr: Bill Lavoie, Asst. Ldr: Kevin Schlunegger or Zoltan Stroll.
We all care about the environment. Recycling is good, but reusing is better (no energy wasted transporting materials to get broken down and reformed and transported back). “Upcycling” turns trash into treasure.
So how do YOU do it?
Send your tips for:
550 Deep Valley Dr. #201
Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90274
By Susan Rothrock Deo (Soaring hawk photo by Ashok Khosla)
“Keee. Keeeee.” The shrill call pierced the air.
Three red tailed hawks soared over the canyon, their pale, brick-red tails glinting like stained glass.
“Keee. Keeeee.” Some describe their call as a scream, but it doesn’t sound that way to me. I smiled. “Wish I was up there with them.” Read More
The SCAQMD failed the community too, but there’s still hope
By Steve Dillow, Conservation Co-Chair
Following the June explosion at a Philadelphia refinery, which caused it to permanently close, our local refinery spokesman bragged that it proved that their mitigation efforts to contain hydrogen fluoride (HF or MHF) worked perfectly. He said there was no release of the deadly chemical at all. But on Oct. 16, in its report on the accident, the federal Chemical Safety Board showed that the recent Philadelphia Refinery explosion did in fact release over 5000 pounds of HF, and that their mitigation efforts (water sprays mostly) reduced the release by only 38%. The only reason that it didn’t injure or kill tens of Read More
By Judy Herman and Melanie Cohen
Children torn from their mothers’ arms, caged and left to sleep on concrete floors where bright lights glare around the clock. You’ve heard how the current U.S. border policy tramples human rights, but do you know that existing and proposed border barriers also threaten other species?
In a letter to the Border Patrol, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stated that proposed barrier projects in two Arizona counties would put at risk 16 threatened or endangered species, including the ocelot, jaguar, MexicanRead More
Experience the environmental and human drama of the wall in a vivid new film at our quarterly meeting.
“The River and the Wall” follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses, mountain bikes, and canoes. Conservation filmmaker Ben Masters realizes the urgency of documenting the last remaining wilderness in Texas as the threat of new border wall construction looms ahead. Masters recruits NatGeo Explorer Filipe DeAndrade, ornithologist Heather Mackey, river guide Austin Alvarado, and conservationist Jay Kleberg to join him on the two-and-a-half- month journey down 1,200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.
They set out to document the borderlands and explore the potential impacts of a wall on the natural environ- ment, but as the wilderness gives way to the more pop- ulated and heavily trafficked Lower Rio Grande Val- ley, they come face-to-face with the human side of the immigration debate and enter uncharted emotional waters.
Movie, munchies and mingling. Join us on Wednesday October 23 at 7 PM at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Public Library, 701 Silver Spur Rd, Rolling Hills Estates (entrance also on Deep Valley Dr).
Snacks and refreshments will be served.
For more information, call Joyce White 310- 383-5247
By Dave Wiggins, Conservation Co-Chair
Habitat destruction caused by agricultural devel- opment and mineral extraction? Entire ecosys- tems altered, perhaps permanently, by advanc- ing climate changes brought on by greenhouse gas emissions? These are of course very real threats to the existence of a great many of the world’s endangered species. Yet most of us don’t think of the tremendous threat to many of the very same species posed by the brisk illegal international trade in wholly unnecessary products made from their bodies.Read More
A Young Person’s Guide to Exploring Nature By Susan Rothrock Deo
How Did THAT Get There: Pt. 2: Animals
The first time I heard a peacock, we were visiting my husband’s family in India. Their calls here in Palos Verdes conjure up fond memories. Not everyone shares my sense of wonder about peafowl (only the male is a “peacock”). They are like dandelions—a joy to some, a pest to others. Around 1900, the exotic birds were a status symbol for superrich Americans.Read More
Get your team together!
On September 28, the Angeles Chapter is launching the first-ever
Be a part of the inaugural event.
Offered just twice a year, the next Sierra Club Angeles Chapter’s
The Sierra Club Angeles Chapter’s many groups, sections and committees sponsor thousands of trips ranging from easy hikes to backpacks to worldwide travel and mountaineering expeditions. From experienced volunteer leaders you will learn how to plan a trip, handle problems on the trail and make sure that everyone has a great time. You’ll gain knowledge about good conservation and safety practices, along with tips for getting your leadership rating quickly and then, if you choose, pursuing more ad- vanced ratings.
By Eva Cicoria
What comes to mind when you think of a port? Boats, barges, cargo, cranes? What about sea life? In LA Harbor, as I’ve discovered over years kayaking there, you’ll find
July 24 Wed 7pm Quarterly Meeting. Before you buy that travel souvenir, listen up. Inspector Ali Ventura will tell us how US Fish and Wildlife recovers endangered species, supports migratory birds, preserves habitat, safeguards fisheries, combats invasive species, and promotes wildlife conservation in accordance with US and international laws. They inspect thousands of species, both live and as parts of products. Wait till you see the examples of confiscated items and hear about strange smuggling techniques. Join us at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Library, 701 Silver Spur Road, Rolling Hills Estates (entrance also on Deep Valley Dr). Snacks and refreshments will be served. For more information, call Joyce White 310-383-5247.
As they have done for many years, Lynn and John Taber are again hosting the much anticipated Sierra Club Pot Luck Picnic Party. Come celebrate the end of summer among a bunch of tree huggers and other folks who care for the environment. Bring your favorite dish to share. Drinks will be provided. Bring your own plate and utensils and save a tree or two in the process. Don’t forget a hat and sunscreen. Join us from 3 to 6 PM, Sunday, September 22, at the Taber’s home, 37 Harbor Sight Dr, Rolling Hills Estates. Let our social chair Joyce know you are coming (firstname.lastname@example.org). Call her (310-383-5247) with any questions.
On June 22, the AQMD Refinery Committee voted 3-2 to allow tons of toxic volatile hydrogen fluoride (HF) to remain at two local refineries, Torrance PBF and Wilmington Valero. The refineries will add more water sprays, pumps, sensors, and video displays, and declare that it makes us safe. Community groups and individuals made excellent presentations, but it was clear this was a well-organized campaign by the refineries and their allies.
The committee directed AQMD staff to write a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each refinery, for the refineries to theoretically keep people in the community safe from “irreversible health effects” if there was a 1-inch hole in an HF tank. If a leak was bigger, or lasted for longer than 10 minutes, or medical care delayed (think earthquake), people could be dead instead of having “reversible” health effects like an irregular heartbeat or fluid buildup in the lungs. The only way to be truly safe from HF is for it to be gone.
The full AQMD Board will vote on this in November. In the meantime, we need to convince everybody how criminally absurd this is. To help, Email us at PVSB.SierraClub@gmail.com
At the Angeles Chapter Awards Banquet in May, Susan Deo received a Conservation Service Award for her popular Foggy View column, “Along the Path.”
Part I: Plants
By Susan Rothrock Deo
Do you have dandelions in your yard? Most grownups call them weeds because they grow where we don’t want them. We kids know better—dandelions are AWESOME! Pretty yellow flowers, puffy heads of floating seeds that scatter in the wind. The dandelion, originally from Eurasia, is an example of a non-native species that has found its way to Southern California.
For millennia species have been on the move. Some carry themselves, wind and water carry more. Humans are notorious for transporting species from afar to grow for their beauty or for food. Sometimes we move things accidentally, like when sailors of old brought their mattresses ashore and shook out the old straw bedding (including seeds and insects) to replace with fresh dried grass.
Most non-native, or “alien,” species are not a problem in their new homes. Some are even beneficial, like corn or almond trees. Trouble occurs when an alien species causes economic or environmental harm, or harm to human health. Then its INVASIVE. Harmful invasions are usually caused by species from similar climates that travel well, grow and reproduce vigorously. They may out-compete or prey on native species or disrupt the native habitat. Most do not benefit their new ecosystems, such as becoming food for native species. Here are a few of the plants scientists have designated invasive in Southern California.
Castor bean, Ricinus communis, was cultivated for castor oil and as an ornamental. The plant is extremely poisonous. Two seeds can kill a human.
Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare, related to anise and licorice, was brought from southern Europe as an herb for cooking and medicinal purposes. It is very hard to eradicate. Where naturalized, however, scientists must consider the Anise Swallowtail butterfly first. Fennel is their preferred food, so if all the fennel is removed, their population will suffer.
Pampas grass, Cortaderia selloana, is a landscaping plant originally from South America. One plume can produce 100,000 seeds or more that travel far on a windy day. It may look nice in your neighbor’s yard, but you can also see pampas grass scattered along the bluffs all the way up the coast. Non-native grasses like this crowd out our native bunch grasses. Native grasses are much more fire-resistant and are better food for local species.
Russian thistle, Salsola tragus, is one of several species we call “tumbleweed.” Seeds were first brought from Russia to South Dakota in a batch of contaminated flax seeds in 1873. Dried plants break off at the base and the ball-shaped plants tumble along dropping seeds as they go, thus tumbleweed spread throughout the West. (It didn’t arrive soon enough to be part of the old West’s story as Western movies and fiction portray, though.) Recently, a new tumbleweed has appeared in California. Because it’s a hybrid of two species it has no native range and scientists are having trouble finding insect pests to help control its population.
Want to learn more? Pick up a plant field guide or search online for invasive species. Next time, non-native and invasive animals!
By Tejinder Dhillon, Wilderness Training Committee Instructor
A few years ago I read a New York Times travel article titled “100 miles, 10 days, three countries and a lot of cheese.” It sounded like exactly what I wanted to do Read More
By Bill Lavoie, Vice Chair, Membership and Outreach
After much work by the Rancho Palos Verdes city staff and the Palos Verdes South Bay group of the Sierra Club the winter night hike permits are back.
To refresh, last year several residents of the Del Cerro Park area of RPV went to the city council with concerns about hikers entering the Portuguese Bend Preserve more than an hour after sunset. The result was that the city council then cancelled night hike permits until staff could work on these concerns with the aim of resolving the issue.
Our Sierra Club chapter and RPV city staff worked together to resolve/revise the night hike permit requirements in a manner that would continue to protect the preserve while still affording access. After many months of working together with city staff, Del Cerro Park Homeowners Association, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, we were ready to submit our revised night hike permit to the RPV city council, and together we were able to work out issues with any remaining concerns the city council might have had.
In March the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council approved the new night hike permit requirements. We truly appreciate everyone who worked so diligently to resolve this situation and bring back the popular night hikes our chapter has led for many years.
A big thank-you to Bill for his dedication to this issue — ed.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Department of Fish and Wildlife are evaluating the City Council-approved Draft City of Rancho Palos Verdes NCCP/HCP and associated documents and are seeking public comment in accordance with their permit decision processes. Read More
By Steve Dillow, Conservation Committe Co-Chair
On April 2, the LA County Department of Public Health sent a letter to the SCAQMD urging them to phase out MHF as soon as possible. This public agency offered the following conclusion: Read More
By Susan Rothrock Deo Photos by Eva Cicoria
Did you see them? The clouds of butterflies fluttering through Palos Verdes in early spring? Read More
Have a flair for writing? Can you write headlines and leads that grab readers’ attention? Do you have some of these other skills or want to learn them? Read More
By John Monsen, Angeles Chapter Water Committee
Cadiz, Inc. is a corporate water speculator proposing one of the most destructive projects ever conceived for our Southern California deserts. Defying logic and ignoring the damage it would cause, Cadiz plans to mine water from under magnificent public land in the Mojave Trails National Monument. They plan to build a pipeline and sell the water to water districts like West Basin MWD that serves the South Bay and Palos Verdes. The Cadiz water is polluted with Chromium 6, a carcinogen,
By Steve Goldsmith, TRAA
The campaign to remove Hydrogen Fluoride (HF) from two South Bay refineries took a new turn at the Feb. 1 Southern Calif. Air Quality Management (SCAQMD) Board meeting. Been following this David-and-Goliath baLle? Then you know HF, or the refineries’ ineffective scam version “MHF,” could kill or severely injure tens of thousands in south Los Angeles County.
Sierra Club and staff spoke out for a Rule to phase out MHF. Insightful and passionate comments followed a shocking and devastating report by AQMD staff.