Ventana Wildlife Society

Creating Hope Through Species Recovery

aka VWS   |   Monterey, CA   |  http://www.ventanaws.org

Mission

Conserving native wildlife and their habitats through research, education and collaboration

Ruling year info

1982

Executive Director

Mr. Kelly Sorenson

Main address

9699 Blue Larkspur Ln. Ste 105

Monterey, CA 93940 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

94-2795935

NTEE code info

Protection of Endangered Species (D31)

Wildlife Preservation/Protection (D30)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Wildlife species around the globe are in trouble and the sixth extinction is underway. Through recovery of species, we offer hope to all that care about the environment and who are willing to help us avoid wildlife extinctions. After successfully restoring the Bald Eagle in California, we are now dedicated to fully recovering the California Condor as well as looking to other species around the world that need our help.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

California Condor Recovery in Central California

Release and recovery of condors to the wild.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Providing meaningful outdoor experiences for youth to instill a conservation ethic and inspire youth to take action

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

Providing services for endangered species recovery, research, management and consultation.

Population(s) Served
Adults

VWS released 70 Bald Eagles between 1986 and 2000 resulting in a recovered wild population in central California.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of released animals that persist

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

California Condor Recovery in Central California

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

VWS was first to reintroduce captive-bred California Condors in central California having started in 1997 on the Big Sur Coast. Since 2003, we co-manage the flock with Pinnacles National Park.

Number of reintroduced populations that persist

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Adults, Children and youth

Related Program

Bald Eagle Reintroduction

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

In addition to the Central Coast Condor population, at least 30 breeding pairs of Bald Eagles now exist from San Francisco to Santa Barbara after successful reintroduction effort.

Number of youth receiving services (e.g., groups, skills and job training, etc.) with youths living in their community

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth

Related Program

Outdoor Youth Education

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

VWS provides meaningful outdoor experiences for youth in central California. We operate a fleet of vans to transport youth to parks and open spaces. Disadvantaged participants attend free.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Our goals include establishing a self-sustaining, free-flying population of California condors in coastal areas and to serve as a nationally recognized model of success, instilling a conservation ethic and inspire youth to take action, and becoming a national leader in endangered species research, recovery and management. For more details, our full strategic plan is found at http://www.ventanaws.org/organizationdocuments/.

In terms of condor recovery, the greatest threat is the presence of lead from spent lead ammunition found in the condor's food supply. Our strategies include providing a clean food source as well as providing non-lead ammunition to key stakeholders where it would make the most difference. For outdoor youth programs, our strategy is to replicate our successful model and expand geographically to serve up to 1,200 youth annually by taking groups on outdoor excursions to develop an appreciation for nature and to improve wellness through "nature prescriptions."

Ventana Wildlife Society has a broad network of collaborators, landowners and others that enable program activities in addition to owning two wildlife sanctuaries in central California and operating a small fleet of vehicles. Additionally, through a bequest, the organization was able to purchase an office building reducing management costs, improving working conditions with room to expand. Our team of staff and board are well positioned to take on tomorrow's ecosystem challenges.

Key accomplishments for Ventana Wildlife Society:
+ restored a breeding population of Bald Eagles to Monterey County
+ recognized by the County of Monterey, California State Assembly & United States Congress
+ established two local release sites for California Condors
+ 25 years of managing the wild California Condor population in central California
+ published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on California Condor, Bald Eagle, and other bird conservation topics
+ completed hundreds of biological contracts with federal, state, and local agencies, private organizations, and foundations.

Saved from extinction, the critically endangered California condor had been moving closer to self-sustainability. Down to an all-time low of just 22 birds in 1981 and GONE from the wild by 1987, with the help of Ventana Wildlife Society, the condor resisted the imminent threat of extinction. In 2019, we celebrated a population of 100 in central California. But, our progress toward species recovery plummeted last year when the Dolan Fire destroyed the Big Sur Condor Sanctuary. The devastating wildfire caused our previous impressive gains in the size of the flock to fall by 10%, as TWO nesting chicks and TEN free-flying condors tragically perished.

The tragedy continued with another 8% of the flock being lost to lead poisoning in 2021. The COVID-19 crisis negatively affected the condors by limiting nonlead ammunition outreach, plus supply chains have been interrupted and retailers are not keeping nonlead ammunition in stock due to low profit margins. This issue will continue to impact the recovery of the California condor. The poor market availability of nonlead ammunition is a direct cause of increasing lead poisonings and mortality—for mature condors and for nestlings whose parents bring food with lead fragments back to the nest to their chicks.

It is vital to our conservation approach to educate the next generation about wildlife conservation and encourage them to act as ecological stewards. Since 1992, we have provided summer camps, school year programs, presentations, and field trips, with over half of the programming free to youth from underserved, under-resourced areas of Monterey County. In our long-term partnerships that have developed over the years with other community-based organizations, we have an established level of trust and meeting locations within the neighborhoods where our participants live. Most recently, we have launched “Nature Prescriptions” and completed a pilot of the multi-generational program that brings entire families to natural places. This groundbreaking work improves the health outcomes for children of migrant farmworker families living with obesity and co-occurring health challenges.


Financials

Ventana Wildlife Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Ventana Wildlife Society

Board of directors
as of 11/11/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Bill Eckert


Board co-chair

Karen Kreiger

Virdette Brumm

University of Southern California

Sandy Decker

Decker Studios

Steve Dennis

Entrepenuer

Elizabeth Panetta

Loaves, Fishes and Computers, Inc.

Richard Anderson

CSUMB and Hartnell College

Lynn LaMar

Lynn LaMar Associates

Ana Gonzalez

Hartnell College

Jay Sinclair

CPA, Retired

Karen Kreiger

Retired

David Parker

Wells Fargo Bank

Alec Arago

Law Offices of Aengus Jeffers

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/19/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

 

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/11/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.