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Cutting Back on Crumbs

An initiative in Little Basin to cut back on food waste in campgrounds

A few morsels of food left behind in the woods can spark unintended consequences that ripple through the food chain, and kids at a forest school in Little Basin are learning all about it this summer. Ravens and jays are attracted to food waste left over from visitors, and the city-slickin’ birds threaten the marbled murrelet—a species of seabird that nests in the forests—by feeding on the single egg it lays each season.

With the small endangered seabird in mind, the Web of Life Field (WOLF) School has implemented a program to reduce the human food entering the food chain. WOLF School has brought the California State Parks “Crumb Clean” initiative to the 534-acre Little Basin campgrounds—just in time for both the summer camping rush and the Murrelets nesting season.

“It allows us to bring kids to a public land, and in return take care of it,” says Heather Butler, WOLF School director.

WOLF School naturalists are promoting proper garbage disposal and airtight container storage for food, and discouraging wild animal feeding.

Before setting up camp, visitors will be required to sign a Crumb Clean Commitment. Educational talks and campfires will also be available to visitors to learn more about the importance of the murrelet to the redwood ecosystem. 

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