WOLF School Furthers California State Parks’ “Crumb Clean” Initiative

In a continuative effort to support California State Parks “Crumb Clean” initiative, Web of Life Field (WOLF) School is introducing new practices for the summer 2016 camping season to further educate visitors and protect wildlife at Little Basin Cabins and Campgrounds. WOLF School is headquartered at Little Basin, part of Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek, CA.

Little Basin is a 534-acre family and group campground that was added to Big Basin Redwoods State Park in 2011 thanks to a partnership with the Peninsula Open Space Trust and Sempervirens Fund. Through an innovative approach in park operations and a public/private partnership, Little Basin is now run by the long established non-profit management organization United Camps, Conferences, and Retreats (UCCR). UCCR named Heather Butler as Site Director of Little Basin; Butler is also the Director of WOLF School—an environmental youth education program supported by UCCR and operating at multiple UCCR-managed camps throughout northern and central California. WOLF School moved their administrative office to Little Basin, and thus began their partnership with California State Parks. 

In 2014, California State Parks initiated the “Crumb Clean” campaign in an effort to educate campers on the dangers and ramifications of exposing wildlife to human foods. The goal is to inspire each California State Parks visitor to become an environmental steward: never feeding wildlife, properly disposing of all garbage—even crumbs, and storing food in airtight containers. The result is a safer California State Park for visitors, who become endangered by aggressive animals associating people with food, and better habitats for wildlife, whose natural feeding and life-cycles are disrupted by human food exposure.

Marbled Murrelet mural painted by WOLF School naturalists for Little Basin Cabins & Campground, a California State Park located in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Marbled Murrelet mural painted by WOLF School naturalists for Little Basin Cabins & Campground, a California State Park located in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

With a mission of “building respect, appreciation and stewardship within the web of life,” WOLF School was quick to adopt the California State Parks “Crumb Clean” campaign at Little Basin, and with one very specific goal in mind: saving the Marbled Murrelet. The first Marbled Murrelet nest was found in 1974 in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. A rare sea bird, Marbled Murrelets use the old growth redwood forest as nesting habitats to lay their single egg each season. Ravens and jays, whose populations have increased at Big Basin and Little Basin due to food left by campers, have learned to spot the speckled egg of a Marbled Murrelet, eating both eggs and chicks when they find them.  Although this is not their main food source, it is an easy one and the Murrelet population is decreasing significantly as a result.

By going “Crumb Clean,” Little Basin is reducing the raven and jay populations to natural numbers, giving the endangered Marbled Murrelet a chance to once again flourish high atop the redwood canopy. WOLF School’s trained naturalists will attend the California State Parks’ annual interpreters training for the 2016 summer season, and WOLF School has designed programs to educate Little Basin visitors on the Marbled Murrelet and the California State Parks “Crumb Clean” campaign. Little Basin campers will sign a Crumb Clean Commitment, WOLF School’s Little Basin interpreters will hold educational talks and campfires geared towards adults and children, and as a keepsake every visitor can take their photo with the new Marbled Murrelet mural painted by WOLF School’s Tara Dawson, which scientifically illustrates this remarkable species and captures the impact of California State Parks “Crumb Clean” initiative.

Find information on camping at Little Basin Cabins & Campground: littlebasin.org.

For more information on UCCR, visit: uccr.org.