John Farnsworth has been awarded a Santander Foundation grant of £2000 to support his doctoral research. In June, Farnsworth will use the funds to travel to the Sierra San Pedro Martyr in northern Baja with colleagues from the San Diego Zoo to participate in the release of California Condors. The narrative of this project will comprise the penultimate chapter in Farnsworth's forthcoming book about Baja natural history.
The Condor Field Station is situated in a remote section of the Sierra San Pedro National Park that has been set aside for conservation research. Located in a conifer forest at nearly 8,000 feet, the research station is not accessible by car and generates its own power via solar arrays. There are currently 30 condors resident in the nearby mountains, and every year another 4 to 7 condors that have been captive-bred in the San Diego Zoo are released there.
Farnsworth, who is a volunteer with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory's Hawkwatch program, has been studying condor literature intensely for the past several months ever since he was selected for the release team. Upon hearing news of the Santander fellowship, Farnsworth responded, "I am grateful to the Santander Foundation for their support; it will be a great honor to participate in the work of the SDZ Global Wildlife Conservancy, and to do my part to advance their mission of bringing species back from the brink of extinction."
Farnsworth directs the Baja Studies Abroad here at Santa Clara University. He spent the month of August at a field station in Bahia de los Angeles writing about ecologies of summer. He will lead the Seventh Annual SCU Expedition to Circumnavigate Isla Espiritu Santo this coming March. His doctoral research is being conducted at the University of Stirling in Scotland.