Wildlife Habitat Preservation: It’s Not Rocket Science
Boeing has received the prestigious Corporate Lands for Learning certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council for providing public wildlife habitat preservation and restoration programs at Santa Susana Field Laboratory.
The site, a former rocket engine testing and energy research facility for the federal government, features oak woodlands, rare plants, sandstone formations, abundant wildlife and a history rich in Native American cultural heritage.
The 2,850-acre site is being transformed into an open space that benefits the community. Some of its activities include:
- Avian studies through the San Fernando Valley Audubon Society's bird counting and banding program
- Wildlife habitat protection and California native plant restoration
- Frequent guided bus and walking tours for community members, environmental groups, elected officials and reporters
- Community events and children's programs that highlight pollinator habitats
- Santa Susana specific curriculum taught by local colleges and universities
"Santa Susana employees may take pride in knowing that they have made an important contribution to conservation education," said Margaret O'Gorman, president of the Wildlife Habitat Council. She noted Santa Susana's educational programs showcase the site's unique human, natural and technological history.
The site’s former vocation is also very interesting. It started as a rocket engine and energy research site in 1950 as the United States began its national space program. The site was critical to rocket engine testing that supported nearly every major space program in U.S. history, from the earliest satellites through the Space Shuttle.
Most people are aware of the site's significant role in the historical research of rocket engine propulsion development and energy research," said Tom Gallacher, Boeing site director, Santa Susana Field Laboratory. "What surprises most people is that this site is a key habitat for a variety of native plants, flowers and wildlife."
The next stage once cleanup on Boeing's property is complete will be the creation of one of the few remaining wildlife corridors in Southern California, connecting the Sierra Madre ranges to the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Image credit: Boeing