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Summer News from Friends of the Sea Otter

August 13, 2012

Happy Summer from Friends of the Sea Otter! As the seasons begin to slowly change we’d like to update you on some changes from our side. There is also some exciting news and issues taking shape affecting sea otters and their near-shore environment. We hope that you find this newsletter informative and that it inspires you to take action on the many threats facing sea otters today.

New Staff Changes

June was a very exciting month for Friends of the Sea Otter. Our organization welcomed two new staff in Jim Curland and Frank Reynolds. Jim Curland is our new Advocacy Program Director while Frank Reynolds will serve as Program Manager. Both join Jennifer Covert, Senior Program Manager, who has been with FSO for 5 years and is also on the Board of Directors.

Jim Curland has made a full circle return to the organization which started his career in the environmental non-profit world 14 years ago and after nearly an 11-year stint at Defenders of Wildlife, where he worked on sea otter conservation, education, policy and research efforts and a variety of other marine conservation initiatives. Jim’s role with FSO will focus on sea otter policy, advocacy, education, and research issues as well as fundraising and organizational relationships with members and supporters, the general public and colleagues.

Frank Reynolds received his Master’s degree in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute for International Studies and his B.A. from UC Berkeley in Globalization and the Environment. He has experience working with several ocean conservation organizations in the greater Monterey Bay area including the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Ocean Champions. As well, he contributed to Environmental Defense Fund’s tri-national shark conservation agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Cuba. Frank is a proficient Spanish speaker. Frank’s role will focus on overseeing FSO’s various programs, including our volunteer, outreach and education activities, managing social media content and posts, in addition to assisting Jim with sea otter policy and advocacy, while also tending to the ever important donor communications and administrative tasks necessary to running an organization.

In the coming months, more good news will come about as recruitment for a revised Board of Directors is underway. The individuals in consideration, coupled with our present board members will constitute a stellar board. We look forward to sharing this information with you soon

Jim can be contacted by email at jcurland@seaotters.org and by phone at (831)726-9010. Frank can be contacted by email at freynolds@seaotters.org and by phone at (831)915-3275.

FSO’s Annual Meeting

On Friday, September 28, Friends of the Sea Otter will hold its annual meeting at a place TBD, at 7:00 PM. Once the location is determined we will follow-up with you directly. We kindly ask that if you plan to attend the annual meeting to RSVP with the number of people in your group. Please send your RSVP to Frank Reynolds by September 14th. This meeting will coincide with the 10th annual Sea Otter Awareness Week and will be open to members and non-members alike.

Sea Otter Awareness Week

The 10th annual Sea Otter Awareness Week is September 23-29. This event is held each year to inform the public about the importance of sea otters and the nearshore ecosystem they inhabit. It is also an opportunity to discuss the latest issues facing sea otters. Zoos, aquariums, marine institutions, natural history museums, educators, and others participate in this event all over the country. Check out our website for more information!

H.R. 4043: A Bill Against Sea Otter Conservation

As of August 2012 Representative Gallegly’s (R-Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties) H.R. 4043, a bill that is the antithesis to achieving sea otter recovery, has unfortunately made some progress. The bill passed the House and the next step is to see if the Senate addresses the sea otter component in its Defense Reauthorization bill.

While the bill is referred to as the “Military Readiness and Southern Sea Otter Conservation Act“ it is, in fact, not beneficial to sea otters at all and would set back the current process to end the ill conceived no-otter zone that was established in 1987. The no-otter zone prohibits sea otters from entering coastal waters south of Point Conception (near Santa Barbara), but fails to achieve its goals and is currently undergoing the process to be terminated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by this December.

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