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"Secret Sanctuary" Kicks Off Spring Camp for Kids
by: Debbie L. Sklar
Starr Ranch charges $80 per session; reservations are required.
Starr Ranch charges $80 per session; reservations are required.

Are your kids looking for something fun to do with an educational twist? Maybe they are bored of going to the skate park or Little League.

If so, Starr Ranch is offering a spring camp for kids ages 8-13 to join staff biologists in research on potential threats to nesting birds in habitats near homes at the edge of Ranch wildlands.

No ordinary course, Junior Biologists will have the opportunity to assist biologists with the live-capture, identification, and release of birds, as well as with the identification of nest predators using tracks, other signs, and live trapping techniques.

Starr Ranch is known for offering innovative approaches to land management and environmental education that will influence the way Orange County citizens appreciate, conserve, and manage wildlands. They seek to instill a love of nature through education programs that involve people of all ages in wildlife research and to provide a model of rigorous, sustainable land management through applied research.

Starr Ranch Sanctuary is a 4,000 acre preserve owned and operated by the National Audubon Society. It is located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains in the mild and semi-arid Mediterranean climate of southeastern Orange County about 60 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

The Ranch lies in unincorporated Orange County and is bordered by the Cleveland National Forest on the north and east, the Ronald W. Caspers Regional Park on the south and the developments of Dove Canyon and Coto de Caza on the west. The larger community of Rancho Santa Margarita is 3 miles northwest of the Sanctuary, and the City of San Juan Capistrano is 10 miles to the southwest.

Three sessions are offered: Wednesdays: 3/31, 4/7, 4/14, 4/21; Thursdays: 4/1, 4/8, 4/15, 4/22; or Saturdays: 4/3, 4/10, 4/17, 4/24. Cost: $80/session. Reservations: 949-858-0131 or online at

Debbie L. Sklar is a 20+year journalism veteran residing in Southern California, where she is a writer, columnist and editor for many local, regional and national publications. Sklar may be reached via e-mail at

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