Conserving the Nature of America
Press Release
New Film Explores Farallon Refuge’s Human Past and Conservation Future

December 9, 2008


Division of Public Affairs
External Affairs
Telephone: 703-358-2220

SAN FRANCISCO--The nonprofit Oceanic Society and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced the release of The Farallon Islands, Past Present and Future, a 30-minute film that provides an intimate, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Farallon Islands and the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge, a remote wilderness refuge located 27 miles off San Francisco's coast.

"Even San Franciscans are mostly unaware of this wilderness teeming with wildlife just off their coast," said Birgit Winning, Executive Director of the Oceanic Society which pioneered educational excursions to the Farallon Islands to raise awareness of this important and sensitive wildlife refuge and marine sanctuary. "The Farallones have a rich natural history and a fascinating human history dating back 400 years. Since the refuge is not open to the public and not everyone is prepared for eight hours at sea to cruise around the islands, this film opens a window to the world of the Farallones."

The film, which is available as a DVD, takes a close look at the islands natural and human history, as well as threats to the islands and the ongoing conservation, research and restoration efforts, among other topics. It also highlights the important work of PRBO Conservation Science (PRBO) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "The Farallon Islands are so rich in wildlife, they are rightly called California's Galapagos," said PRBO biologist Russell Bradley.

The islands interesting human history covers occupation from Russian seal hunters, to eggers, Lighthouse Service, U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard. The film documents a 2008 visit to the islands by Linda Murray, who last set foot on Southeast Farallon in 1953 when she was eight years old and her father was stationed there with the Coast Guard. The film documents her return with her parents Lucky and Dell Jackson who share their impressions and provide a personal perspective of the place and its history.

"This special film brings the history and nature of the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge to the millions of Bay Area residents and others who want to know more about this jewel of the Pacific," said Gerry McChesney, acting refuge manager of the Farallon NWR.

Managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Farallon National Wildlife Refuge supports the largest seabird rookery in the lower 48 states. The refuge is home to 12 nesting species including Common Murres, Cassin's Auklets, Tufted Puffins, Western Gulls, cormorants and others. beaches are covered with California sea lions, northern elephant seals, harbor seals, fur seals and the threatened Steller sea lion. The waters surrounding the islands--Known as the Gulf of the Farallones--are part of the California Current System, one of the four most productive marine ecosystems on the planet. Nutrient-rich Gulf waters not only sustain huge populations of seabirds and pinnipeds, they support some of the largest feeding populations of endangered humpback and blue whales in the world. The Farallon Islands are the centerpiece of the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary-1,255 square miles of federally protected ocean just beyond San Franciscos Golden Gate.

Produced for the Oceanic Society in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service by award-winning Earthviews Productions, the DVD will sell for $15 plus $2 for shipping. Proceeds will benefit the research and conservation work of the nonprofit Oceanic Society or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cooperators. The San Francisco Bay Wildlife Society will offer the DVD for sale at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge in ark, Calif. . The DVD can also be purchased online from the Oceanic Society at:  

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