Santa Barbara Zoo Announces Bradley The Golden Retriever, the Zoo's First Ambassador Dog

Bradley, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

Bradley, the Santa Barbara Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

The Santa Barbara Zoo announced today that its latest addition is a ten-month old Golden Retriever named Bradley, who is in training to be the Zoo’s first Ambassador Dog.

As Ambassador Dog, Bradley’s overall duty “is to connect with Zoo guests so they can understand and care about all animals, especially those in the wild animals.”

“Bradley can connect with people in ways many of our other animals can’t,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health. “If people care about animals, then they are more likely to want to save them in the wild by preserving habitat, making sustainable choices, and other actions we talk about here at the Zoo.”

Dr. Barnes reports that Bradley is still young, so the training is takes place at his pace and is going quite well.

Bradley with Kristen Wieners

Bradley with Kristen Wieners

If it goes as hoped, Bradley will eventually participate in keeper talks on subjects like responsible pet choices and animal training using positive reinforcement. He may be involved in education programs such as Zoo Camp. He might provide outreach to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and elsewhere.

“Though they might catch sight of him with his handlers and wearing his ‘In Training’ vest, Bradley is not ready to meet the public,” adds Barnes. “Currently, we tell people not to make a special visit to the Zoo just to see him. He’s rarely visible and not on a regular schedule.”

About Bradley’s Training

As with the Zoo’s other animal residents, Bradley is trained using positive reinforcement, meaning he is rewarded for good behaviors and following instructions, and ignored or redirected for negative behaviors. The Zoo has retained a professional dog trainer who works with Bradley most days and is training specific staff to work with him as well.

“The goal is to guide him into making the right choices on his own,” says Dr. Barnes. “The training is currently going well, but will last as long as needed. Some training will continue indefinitely, to keep Bradley engaged as an ambassador dog.”

About Bradley

Bradley is an English Cream Golden Retriever who was born on May 12, 2018. The “English Cream” refers to the light color of his fur. His original family lived in Northridge and had him as a young puppy. A family member’s unexpected medical development made it impossible for them to care for a puppy. The Zoo adopted him when he was nine months old.

“Zoo staff spent six months visiting dog rescue facilities and following leads for a dog with the right temperament to be trained as our ambassador,” said Dr. Barnes. “Bradley has what we were looking for.”

Bradley lives at the Zoo. It is hoped that he will eventually make visits to local schools, retirement homes, hospitals, and community events, but that depends on his training.

His sleeping area is in a heated office. The Zoo’s security guard checks on him several times during the night and gives Bradley toilet breaks. Bradley has a fenced exercise and play area on Cabrillo Lawn, across from Cats of Africa. There he is allowed to run free and play, and have play dates with specially selected dogs. During breaks from training, Bradley also has “Sniff Time” while on the leash, when he is allowed to follow his nose and explore the Zoo.

“Zoo animals are not unfamiliar with dogs, as service dogs sometimes accompany guests,” says Dr. Barnes. “However, his presence does help reinforce that the sight or smell of a dog is normal. So far, Bradley has responded well to zoo animals by remaining calm in their presence. Acclimating him to the other animals that live at the zoo is part of his training.”

Bradley is sponsored by a local family that wishes to remain anonymous and is recognized at the Zoo simply as “Jackson and Alaia.”

Dogs in Zoos

Ambassador dogs are not uncommon in zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA). The Oklahoma Zoo debuted canine animal ambassador Max, a two-year-old terrier mix, in summer 2018. Other zoos with ambassador dogs include the Denver Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium (Tacoma, Washington) and Rosamond Gifford Zoo (Syracuse New York).

While dogs are sometimes used as companion animals for specific species, Bradley does not go into any animal enclosures.

The Santa Barbara Zoo provided dog companions for African lion cub Kiki when she was being hand-raised in 2004. The San Diego Zoo, Indianapolis Zoo, and Metro Richmond Zoo, among others, have had companion dogs for cheetah cubs.

The Santa Barbara Zoo

Known as one of the world’s most beautiful zoos, the Santa Barbara Zoo is located on 30 acres of botanic gardens and is home to nearly 500 individual animals in open, naturalistic habitats. It is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA), representing the highest level of animal care, and participates in AZA endangered species programs for Asian elephant, California condor, island fox, and Western lowland gorilla, among others. A private 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, the Santa Barbara Zoo depends on community support, not tax dollars, for operations and improvements. Visit www.sbzoo.org

The Zoo is open daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; general admission $18 for adults, $13 for seniors 64+, $11 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11.

Chalk Festival for April Fools Event at Cal Lutheran Thousand Oaks on April 1, 2

Artists to transform Cal Lutheran concrete

Chalk Festival draws top talent from throughout state

Artist: Sharyn Chan

Artist: Sharyn Chan

Some of California’s most talented sidewalk artists will transform flat concrete pathways across California Lutheran University into colorful masterpieces on April 1 and 2.

Professional artists participating in the Chalk Festival for April Fools will focus their creations on the theme of imagination, the same idea being explored during The Representational Art Conference that Cal Lutheran is presenting from March 31 through April 4 in Ventura.

Artists Lori Escalera of Vista and Dawn Morrison Wagner of Thousand Oaks will teach chalk drawing to Cal Lutheran art students March 18 through 21. The students will then create their own works for the festival.

Escalera, one of the festival’s headlining pavement artists, has made a 25-year career out of street painting and teaching others to produce chalk art. She has won awards for her street paintings throughout California, in multiple states and in Mexico and Canada. She coordinated a street-painting venue in Xi’an, China, before the 2008 Olympics. Escalera creates works in multiple styles including Madonnari classical artwork reproduction, which dates to 16th-century Italy, as well as trompe l’oeil and 3D anamorphosis, which make works seem to jump off the pavement.

Wagner, who minored in art while earning degrees in physics and engineering, began street painting in 1988 at the I Madonnari festival in Santa Barbara and has since traveled the country winning awards and leading workshops. Her chalk art has also been used in commercial and promotional work. Wagner’s street art has evolved from reproductions of classic works to contemporary perspective pieces.

In addition to Escalera, the headlining pavement artists are Ever Galvez, Lorelle Miller and Julie Kirk Purcell. Other participating artists are Ruth Villa of Simi Valley, Lori Antoinette, Sharyn Chan, Naomi Duben, Ann Hefferman, Gus Moran, Lynn Okimura, Lesley Perdomo and Anthony Rico.

The chalk art will cover sidewalks outside the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture, William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art and Ullman Commons and at the bottom of the stairs on Memorial Parkway. The public is welcome to watch the artists and view their creations.

Cal Lutheran’s Artists and Speakers Committee is presenting the free public event. For more information, contact Michael Pearce at 805-444-7716.

Food Truck Thursday at Camarillo Ranch House Every Last Thursday of Month

Food Truck Fest at the Camarillo Ranch is on the last Thursday of each month from 5-9PM, April through September 2019. Upcoming dates: April 25, May 30, June 27, July 25, August 29, September 26.

Ten food trucks will be there plus beer and wine will be for sale. Free admission! For more information, visit www.facebook.com/camarilloranchfoundation or www.camarilloranch.org.

Thousand Oaks Farmers' Market to Move to New Location at The Oaks Shopping Center March 21st

Thousand Oaks Move.JPG

The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market held at the The Oaks Shopping Center will soon have a new location and new market hours. The Thousand Oaks market, operated by the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA), will move from its existing site at the east end parking lot on Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard to the West Side Delivery Lane between The Oaks parking structure and the main food court entrance. The move will take place starting on Thursday, March 21 and the new hours will run from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

“We are looking forward to moving into a more convenient location for our customers,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the VCCFMA. “Shoppers will have access to ample parking within the parking structure and the nearby lower level parking lots, allowing for easier access to the market,” continued Schott. “In addition, we hope to introduce the market to a new audience with the Children’s Area and Food Court immediately adjacent to this new location,” she added.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets -- Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market held at the Oaks Shopping Center will soon have a new location and new market hours. The Thousand Oaks market, operated by the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association (VCCFMA), will move from its former site at the east end parking lot on Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard to the West Side Delivery Lane between the Oaks Parking Structure and the Main Food Court Entrance. The move will take place starting on Thursday, March 21 and the new hours will run from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

“We are looking forward to moving into a more convenient location for our customers,” stated Karen Schott, Operations Manager for the VCCFMA. “Shoppers will have access to ample parking within the parking structure and the nearby lower level parking lots, allowing for easier access to the market,” continued Schott. “In addition, we hope to introduce the market to a new audience with the Children’s Area and Food Court immediately adjacent to this new location,” she added.

For more information, call 805-529-6266, or visit the website at www.vccfarmersmarkets.com.

About the Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association

The Ventura County Certified Farmers’ Market Association serves the community of Ventura with two Markets -- Wednesdays at the Pacific View Mall, front west parking lot on Main Street from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on Saturdays in Downtown Ventura on the corners of East Santa Clara and Palm Streets from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. The Thousand Oaks Farmers’ Market is held Thursdays at The Oaks Shopping Center at the east end parking lot, Wilbur Road and Thousand Oaks Boulevard from 1:30 to 6:00 p.m. Santa Clarita Farmers’ Market is held on Sundays at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon.

Food Truck Fridays at the Pacific View Mall Every Third Friday of the Month

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The Pacific View Mall hosts gourmet food trucks every 3rd Friday of the month in the parking lot next to Trader Joe's, along Mills Road. Hours are 5-9pm and event features over 20 food trucks, like Cousins Maine Lobster, The Underground Gourmet Food Truck, The Grilled Cheese Truck, Sweet Arleen's, Steamy Bun Truck, etc. For the specific gourmet truck lineup, visit www.shoppacificview.com. Also live entertainment!

Upcoming dates:  2/15 (CANCELLED DUE TO RAIN/WIND FORECAST), 3/15

First Thursdays Gourmet Food Trucks at Plaza Park in Oxnard

The first Thursday of the month is Gourmet Food Truck Night in Oxnard's Plaza Park, 519 South C Street. Each event brings 8 to 12 of the hottest trucks in the southland. The event runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with DJ entertainment, friends, and downtown restaurants and shops joining in the party with late hours and specials. Plenty of free parking on street and in public lots. More information at downtownoxnard.org/activities/food-trucks

Upcoming Dates as of 2/5/19: March 7

Channel Islands National Park Islands Accessible to Public During Government Shutdown

During the shutdown of the federal government due to the lapse of appropriations, national parks will remain as accessible as possible while still following all applicable laws and procedures. At Channel Islands National Park the park islands, with the exception of San Miguel Island, will remain accessible to visitors, but emergency and rescue services will be limited. The park’s mainland visitor center and island visitor contact stations are closed.

There will be no National Park Service (NPS)-provided visitor services at Channel Islands National Park, including public information, and restroom and campground maintenance. Park concessioners will operate as usual.

Park visitors are advised to use extreme caution during their visit as NPS personnel will not be available to provide guidance, assistance, or emergency response. Any entry onto NPS property during this period of federal government shutdown is at the visitor’s sole risk.

All island campgrounds and restrooms are open and accessible to visitors. There will be no campground check-in/check-out services and visitors holding campground reservations should be aware that there is no guarantee their reserved campsite will be ready and available during a government shutdown.

www.nps.gov/chis/learn/news/pr122218.htm

Whale Watching Season at Channel Islands Harbor December 26, 2018 through Mid-April 2019

Blue Whale Tail (Photo Credit:  David Beeninga )

Blue Whale Tail (Photo Credit: David Beeninga)

It’s that time of year to catch a glimpse of nature during Whale Watching Season taking place off the coast of Oxnard.  The season officially begins the day after Christmas, December 26 and continues through mid to late April 2019.

Both Island Packers, Ventura County’s official concessionaire to the Channel Islands National Park, and Channel Islands Sportfishing Center offer whale watching excursions directly from Channel Islands Harbor.  Island Packers provides 3 ½ hour non-landing narrated trips with morning and afternoon departures available.  The fare is $38 for adults; $34 for seniors 55+; $28 for children (3-12), and free for children 3 and under.  Trips run through mid- April 2019.

 

Channel Islands Sportfishing Center provides half-day morning whale watching excursions during the week and on the weekends with a morning and afternoon departure, running from December 26 through April 30, 2019.  Rates are $55 for adults; $45 for seniors; and $35 for children under 12.

Every year, an estimated 20,000 to 25,000 Pacific Gray Whales migrate through the Santa Barbara Channel on their way to and from the warm lagoons of Baja California, Mexico.  A journey through the Channel Islands National Park and National Marine Sanctuary provide visitors the unique opportunity to experience the splendor and beauty of these giants of the deep.  Besides whales, visitors often encounter dolphins, seals, sea lions and a rich variety of bird life, some of which are endangered and protected.

For more information on Oxnard Whale Watching Season, visit the website at www.visitoxnard.com.

About Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau

Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau (OCVB) is a non-profit organization designed to increase visitor expenditures through transient occupancy tax, and tourism revenue opportunities through the promotion of Oxnard as a premier travel destination. Oxnard is an easy drive up the coast from Los Angeles or from the northern portions of California. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy Oxnard’s uncrowded beaches, explore the many diverse attractions and outdoor adventures that are unique to the area. A wide variety of hotel accommodations are available ranging from mid-priced rooms to oceanfront and seaside settings. For more information, call the Oxnard Convention & Visitors Bureau at 805-385-7545 or visit the website at www.visitoxnard.com.