Cristal's Blog


February 2, 2023

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The mission of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network (SBWCN) is to “rescue, rehabilitate and return to the wild sick, injured, orphaned, or oil-impaired wild birds, reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, and to educate the public about living in harmony with wildlife.” Besides volunteering or donating to this essential local nonprofit, there are several things Santa Barbara homeowners can do to help.

Close-up of a raccoon in a tree
Photo credit: SBWCN

The Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network

In Santa Barbara County, we are lucky to have SBWCN committed to rescuing and saving local wildlife. SBWCN relies heavily on volunteers to provide care to wildlife 365 days a year. This vital nonprofit was created in 1988 by a passionate group of animal lovers from Santa Barbara who saw the need to provide injured, sick, or displaced wildlife with the chance to be rescued, treated, rehabilitated, and released. This volunteer-driven organization helps and saves wild animals with a $2 million annual budget.

The History of SBWCN

In the beginning, the organization called many places home—dozens of volunteers’ actual homes across the tri-counties, along with three clinics in town. Then, in 2009 the organization was able to put down roots by purchasing two acres in the Goleta foothills on Fairview Ave. There, SBWCN staff and 200+ volunteers help 200+ species that call Santa Barbara home.

Close up of a Goldfinch, a yellow bird with brown feathers, sitting on a branch
Photo Credit: SBWCN

Educating the Public

SBWCN is also invested in educating the public about at-risk wildlife, the challenges faced by wildlife in the region, and effective ways to help ensure the health and survival of wild animals.

The following signs mean the animal needs immediate attention:

  • Blood
  • Bugs (such as ants or maggots) on the animal
  • Severe asymmetry due to a broken wing or leg
  • Animal is not moving/walking/flying when approached
  • Animal is covered in oil
  • Animal was caught by a cat, dog, or other predators
  • Bird flies into a window
A little mouse sitting on a couple branches looking at the camera.
Photo Credit: SBWCN

SBWCN’s Helpline

Your safety and the animal’s safety are paramount. SBWCN has a team of rescuers that can transport animals if need be. If you believe an animal needs help, it is important to keep it in sight from a safe distance and call the SBWCN Helpline at (805) 681-1080 or click here for more info. You can also get free wildlife advice and assistance via the SBWCN Helpline 365 days of the year.

Other Resources

Call Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute (CIMWI) for marine mammals at (805) 567-1505. CIMWI’s works on rescuing and rehabilitating sick, injured, oiled, malnourished, orphaned, and entangled marine mammals.

Call Santa Barbara County Animal Services (SBAS) for larger mammals at (805) 683-2724. SBAS will assist residents when dealing with sick or injured wildlife. They are also the contact for domestic or exotic animal emergencies.

10 Ways Santa Barbara Homeowners Can Help

Many wildlife species are nocturnal, which means they're active at night. That's when they are out looking for food and water. Unfortunately, you may be encouraging them onto your property without realizing it.

Sound, water, lights, motion sensor devices, and other non-lethal deterrents often keep animals from feeling at home. That’s why Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network and Santa Barbara County Animal Services (SBCAS) have come together to help residents understand the ordinary habits of our wild neighbors. Santa Barbara homeowners are encouraged to follow these recommendations:

1) Don't leave pet food or water dishes out after dusk.
2) Secure trash cans with tight-fitting lids, tied closed if necessary.
3) Keep garage doors and pet doors closed and secured after dusk.
4) Remove debris piles that provide shelter for wild animals.
5) Trim vegetation and tree branches that allow easy access to your roof and attic.
6) Only trim trees in September, October, November, and December to avoid disturbing active nesting animals.
7) Pick up all fallen fruit from fruit trees.
8) Secure small domestic pets indoors and poultry in adequate outdoor caging.
9) Seal entry holes in fences, under buildings, eaves, air ducts, and decks after taking precautions not to enclose adult animals or their offspring inside.
10) Don't feed wildlife.
11) Avoid rodenticides and herbicides and consider more humane options for pest control that does not place poisons into the food chain
12) Volunteer or donate to SBWCN

    To ensure we live in harmony with our native wildlife, volunteers of SBWCN average about 45 hours of service a day, 365 days a year. And those of us who live here, including our wild neighbors, reap the benefits.

    Now you know about the important work of the Santa Barbara Wildlife Care Network. Is there a local charity you'd like us to cover in my blog? If so, let us know! Meantime, if you’re considering making a move within or to Santa Barbara, I invite you to give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at for a free consultation regarding selling and buying. I will happily add your listing to my portfolio of impressive estates for sale and find you a new home simultaneously.

    More resources:

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    Client Reviews

    “It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

    - J & A

    “Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

    - M.F.

    “Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

    - P.B.

    “We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

    - T.C.

    “Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

    - D.R.

    “I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

    - M.A.

    “Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

    - D.K.

    “Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

    - S.N. Decker Ph.D.

    “Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

    - Johan and Paula van den Berg

    “Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

    - John and Lacey Williams

    “After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

    - Michael & Nancy Lee

    “Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

    - Richard and Catherine Frinier

    “Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

    - Laurie Siegel

    “We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

    - Ken Saffir

    “Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

    - Michael & Susan Marquart

    “A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

    - Rob & Judi Kelch