Nonprofit goes out on a limb to cut pesticide use

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Photo by Jesse Grantham
Arborist Kevin McLeod climbs a tree to install an owl nest box.
Perry Van Houten, Ojai Valley News reporter
An Ojai Valley nonprofit organization has come up with a non-toxic, natural solution to gopher control and a way to help itself at the same time.
With the help of local ornithologist Jesse Grantham, the Ojai Raptor Center (ORC) is selling nest boxes for barn owls.
Why barn owls?
“Primarily because they're such great hunters, and gophers are some of their favorite food,” explained Grantham.
Everyone from the suburban land owner to the avocado or citrus grower is affected by gophers, according to Grantham.
“You have a natural predator that can handle the situation, if it's done correctly,” he said.
The program gets people away from using rodenticides, “which are terribly toxic, terribly dangerous to so many wild animals. It gets them to start thinking about some alternative methods first, before we go to the scorched-earth policy,” Grantham said.

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