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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Los Padres Forestwatch

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animals, Anti-Fracking, Environment, Land Resources Conservation, Natural Resources Conservation & Protection, Protection of Endangered Species

Mission: ForestWatch is the only local organization focused solely on safeguarding the entire Los Padres National Forest, from the famed Big Sur coastline to the majestic Sespe Wilderness near the Los Angeles County line. We use community involvement, scientific collaboration, and legal advocacy to protect and restore the wilderness landscapes, wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation opportunities in this spectacular area.

Geographic areas served: Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and western Kern counties along California's Central Coast.

Programs: Advocacy & monitoring - tracked development and resource extraction proposals throughout the los padres national forest, the carrizo plain national monument and other public lands along california's central coast. Submitted comment letters, filed appeals, met with land management agencies, collaborated with scientists, and conducted on-the-ground monitoring and surveys to protect land, rivers, plants and wildlife.

public education & outreach - informed local communities about the value of our region's public lands, the threats and challenges facing these wild places, and opportunities to better protect these areas. Distributed information via our website, monthly e-newsletter, quarterly membership newsletter, press releases, film screening, art shows and public events.

voulunteer habitat restoration - enlisted 199 volunteers who contributed a combined 1,489 hours of service on 25 projects to restore degraded habitat areas in and around the los padres national forest. Conducted microtrash cleanups at 11 sites, resulting in removal of 3,427 lbs of microtrash that is harmful to young condors. Organized 1 fence removal project on the carrizo plain, resulting in removal of miles of fencing to give pronghorn the freedom to roam. Performed 5 tamarisk removal projects to eradicate this highly invasive plant from forest watersheds. Conducted 1 population survey of bighorn sheep in the sespe wilderness to help monitor and ensure the species' survival. Conducted 2 cleanups of illicit marijuana grow sites to remove remnant trash and irrigation tubing.

Community Stories

26 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Really love volunteering with these guys! They do great work keeping our hiking trails clean in the Los Padres National Forest.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a multi-year volunteer with LPFW, I am consistently impressed by the passion and dedication this small staff of three and its board of directors exhibit in their fight to protect and preserve the wilderness areas of the Los Padres Forest. From organized volunteer trail clean-ups to filing lawsuits against harmful fracking and oil exploration efforts and building a letter writing petition to save the Carrizo Plain National Monument from federal designation threats, the LPFW team courageously stands to keep our neighboring forest areas wild, scenic and environmentally unscathed for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. I have helped with the execution and operations of several fundraiser events and through these interactions, I have come to more deeply appreciate the value and importance of Los Padres ForestWatch, and heartily encourage others to support their efforts to keep our backyard forest alive and well!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit tries to protect our National Forest, including the land, water & air. Thanks LPFW.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Jeff Kuyper, Executive Director of Los Padres ForestWatch, contacted me about doing a guest commentary on the importance of protecting the Carrizo Plain National Monument from encroachment by the Trump Administration. Thanks to his outstanding professionalism and perseverance, he was able to get the endorsement of all four past County Supervisors representing the area, and an excellent article was published in the San Luis Obispo Tribune on October 18, 2017. It was a great pleasure working with Jeff, and reassuring to know that Los Padres Forestwatch is looking out for the interests of the environment in San Luis Obispo County. Jeff Jorgensen

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've heard about Los Padres ForestWatch for over a year and went to one Santa Barbara Event. I decided this was an organization I wanted to be involved in and "give back", my time. I like the idea of keeping our National Forest open, protecting condors and trail restoration for everyone to enjoy.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LPFW is a reputable and devoted "watchdog" organization, with which I spent the summer of 2010 as a legal extern. I am grateful for the opportunity that Executive Director and founder, Jeff Kuyper, gave me so as to gain meaningful environmental/natural resources law and legal advocacy experience. I worked on legal and policy issues occurring within the Los Padres National Forest and on bordering public lands. This organization tackles controversial and challenging state and federal regulatory and policy issues on behalf of the public interest. Truly, this organization listens to constituents/stakeholders, seeks transparency and informing the public, and utilizes a science-based approach. I was impressed with the caliber and reach of the fairly young organization at the time I volunteered as a law student. LPFW is effective and efficient with its resources and does have an impact especially where government accountability and transparency are concerned. At the same time, LPFW is balanced in its mission and does not engage in unfounded or non-science and social science-based advocacy and litigation. The Executive Director, from my personal experience over several months of work, is a great leader, mentor, and advocate. I hope to see this organization grow further and continue leading efforts to protect and help restore its unique niche focus: the Los Padres National Forest.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LPFW is an outstanding protector of local forests and watersheds. Their steadfast pursuit of environmental justice to benefit nature and people is impressive and inspiring. Their work is meaningful and necessary as we move forward with an increasingly precarious environmental future. Our children and wilderness spaces will be better off thanks to the hard work and dedication of LPFW, and their awesomely supportive volunteer network.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Los Padres Forestwatch is a very important non-profit that is working hard to protect our National Forest. They help get the community involved with cleanups and campaigns. They are working hard to protect endangered species and stop all the oil fracking. They show a lot of courage going up against big oil companies and even more passion about the outdoors. They are very real people who care about what they are fighting for and I am glad I had the chance to see them in action. I would gladly volunteer for this non-profit again!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LPFW is one of the only non profit organizations that is making a stand for the Los Padres National Forest. I've had the opportunity of volunteering with them in the Matilija. They are extremely organized, knowledgeable, and powerful in and around Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. One of my favorite things about LPFW is their commitment to not only working with their hands doing clean-ups, but also to change policies to protect the National Forest. LPFW knows what they are doing and are great about informing the public and getting volunteers to stand together for a wonderful cause.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Los Padres ForestWatch is one of the most efficient and effective nonprofits in our area. They serve to protect a vast and delicate ecosystem using limited resources. Their fight against oil and fracking in the Los Padres Forest is a difficult task, yet they painstakingly work to keep our wilderness free. I strongly support and applaud the efforts by Los Padres ForestWatch.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For several years, I have had the opportunity to volunteer with the Los Padres Forestwatch. I find the projects to be challenging and extremely rewarding. I have also been lucky enough to partner with them on local community events, which all have been extremely successful. I am grateful for their commitment to environmental issues in the Los Padres National Forest and those affecting our own Central Coast.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've had the opportunity of working with LPFW over the last year as a volunteer in their clean-up efforts and fund raising events. I've come away exhausted yet satisfied and assured my valuable time is directed towards a worthy, well-run organization. The entire staff, from Jeff the director throughout the ranks, are a group of sincere, impassioned individuals selflessly working towards their cause.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with the wonderful team at Los Padres Forest Watch as a GIS Intern doing project support, and have been closely following their activities on Facebook since my departure.

Each one of the few members at LPFW are extremely passionate and dedicated to their cause. While the scope of their mission is extremely broad, from river monitoring in the Santa Ynez River to combatting illegal gun ranges, I was amazed at the level of expertise they demonstrated on every project that they worked on. Further, the tact that they deployed in building relationships with other involved parties was quite a feat in itself. There is no wonder as to how LPFW has continued to successfully operate for many years.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I worked with Los Padres Forest Watch as a legal intern in 2015, and since then have been keeping closely up to date with their work.

As far as non-profits go, LPFW is really one of the best I've ever worked with and supported. Not only are they effective in achieving their goals, but LPFW is constantly striving to better itself and reach out to work with its community and members.

In my experience, having worked with and been part of many environmental non-profits, there is often a problem with complacency or loss of inertia in regards to an organizations goals. LPFW does not suffer this flaw. Their small staff is incredibly resourceful and driven, and I can honestly say that everyone there is a pleasure to work with.

The Los Padres ForestWatch is a heavily environmental protection driven organization, focusing on protecting the ecological integrity of the Los Padres National Forest and the species that live within it. Inherently that means some people will disagree with their goals. But what I find impressive is that LPFW really seeks to work with people, even those who disagree with them, in order to find workable and respectful solutions, instead of creating conflicts.

I very much value the work that LPFW does, and respect the vision of the people who work there. If you are someone who is concerned with protecting the Los Padres National Forest, endangered species, or California's natural beauty, then LPFW is definitely an organization worth taking the time to work with and support.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was looking for a was to give back to the forest that has given me so many great adventures in the last couple years, in my search for that I found the Los Padres Forest Watch. I've volunteered with the LPFW on several projects recently, these projects are thought out and well put together. Crag Carrey the volunteer coordinator is knowledgeable and friendly. He puts together crews of volunteers that are full of motivated, happy and helpful people. I would recommend the LPFW to any one looking to give back to the outdoors. Just don't mind getting dirty!

Abigail

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I live in a community in Ventura County, California nestled up against the Los Padres Forest - home to the endangered California Condor and their restoration program. The Los Padres is also peppered with grandfathered private parcels that have been developed into large aggregate mines and also adjacent to wide-spread oil exploration and drilling. The LPFW has been very proactive and successful blunting the damaging expansion of industrial growth into forest lands that are home to all kinds of species (also the endangered Steelhead Trout) that increasing industrial growth has threatened. Some industry activity has been illegal and in violation of some state and local permits and it took the LPFW to bring those activities to the attention of County, State and Federal authorities. I feel that this is one of those organizations who more than meets my personal litmus test for successful proactivity to match-up their work and deeds with their spoken and written mission. There lots of evidence of their success. I'm proud to be one of their many supporters.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Los Padres Forest Watch is doing the super important work of land conservation. This is legacy work that will make difference in our children's children's lives. Whenever I am in a wilderness area or open space, I ask how did this area stayed this way given all the development that is so prevalent in today's world. The bottom line is that dedicated organizations like LPFW are working hard to fight off senseless development to preserve these special places. The more work we can do to connect these wilderness and open spaces so that they amass into great expanses the greater service we are doing for generations to come.

1 Anita21

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Neighbors and good friends of ours, the Laine's, are members of Los Padres Forest Watch, and over the past Christmas Holidays with the inevitable 'contest' to see who can deliver the most imaginative and meaningful Christmas Gift it was the Laine's who surprised us with a 'guest membership' to Forest Watch. This caused me to embark on a review of our Charitable Contributions which were a bit on the chaotic side. I decided that while my wife tended to concentrate on Cancer awareness, treatment and related issues (she is a Cancer survivor), I had a strong need to be part of the environmental movement, but on a practical and local level. I am retired and we are of modest means (I like that phrase, goes with 'live simply' ) and I also applied to two other organizations, The Sierra Club and the local Land Conservancy. All three with the intention of a minimum membership amount, augmented with Volunteer hours. The only organization of the three to respond was Forest Watch. I haven't heard from the other two.
Since the beginning of this year I have been volunteering with 'Boots on the Ground' projects such as graffiti removal, Tamarisk eradication and the cleanup of unauthorized/illegal shooting ranges in the Los Padres wilderness areas. I have been very impressed with the quality of those staff members who organize the Volunteers as with all of the volunteer corps themselves, it's a privilege as well as a pleasure to work alongside them. Another surprise for me was the high regard that exists for Forest Watch in the community. While I am NOT a good salesman and NOT a good solicitor of funds for causes, I found that as soon as one mentions the name and mission statement of Forest Watch, and especially placing names such as Craig Carey and Jeff Kuyper, and then introduce contributors such as Patagonia and Ojai Vineyards and the Rains family ... It all gets very easy. While the management at the top level is efficient and purposeful, the comradary and energy all the way to the Volunteers is exemplary, We are so pleased to be a part of Forest Watch.
I went to my first OjaiWild! this year. Great event ! Well organized and as much fun to work as to attend as a guest. We will be participants again next year. At the onset of this review I was asked to give it a rating which I did, as 4, Exceeds expectations, and after writing this review I hope I am able to change it to 5, Far exceeds expectations, as is the case
Sincerely, Graham T. Jeffrey for members Graham and Anita Jeffrey.

Volunteer

Rating: 2

I strongly support many of the volunteer works that are on the ground labor and cleanup actions lead by Craig. This part of the organization should deserve a five star rating.

But strongly disagree with the approach the head of the organization takes in support of wilderness of areas that after lengthy studied have been found as non-wilderness areas. Not every where within a forest needs to be a “Designated Wilderness”. The ramifications of designating an area as wilderness are long lasting if not for ever and in so many areas not needed. This is VERY short sighted of this organization.

To financially support this organization in its efforts to promote the designation of parts of the forest, that do not qualify as wilderness, is to throw your money at a work that could have been used in a more productive ways by this organization. This part of this organization deserves a NO star rating.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I'm always amazed at the amount of work LPFW does - especially with such a slim staff. They do an amazing job protecting the Los Padres National Forest and the unique biodiversity in the region. From tracking development proposals to bringing people into the field to clean trash or remove invasives, LPFW is a true advocate for wilderness.