CSU Fullerton -- August 27, 2003

New Director Named for Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary

Karon Cornell, director of community relations for Cal State Fullerton for the past three years, has been named director of the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, a 12-acre nature preserve in Modjeska Canyon operated by the university. She will assume her new duties Sept. 2.

The announcement of the new director follows the appointment of Birkin Newell, an educator, naturalist and restoration ecologist who grew up in the area, as the new on-site manager of the popular facility.

The sanctuary, which has been closed since last fall because of personnel changes and storm damage, will reopen to the public Sept. 1.

"In Karon, we have a person with a solid background in community relations," said Kolf O. Jayaweera, dean of the college of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, which oversees the facility.

"In Birkin, we have a teacher and biologist, who has worked extensively in nature education with schoolchildren. Together as leaders, Cornell and Newell will work to fully realize the great potential of this facility for the benefit of the community and the university."

Cornell, a Fullerton alumna (B.A. English '74, M.S. education-education administration '81) is a past executive committee chair of the President's Associates and formerly served as a director of public affairs for Pacific Bell. The Yorba Linda resident joined the university in 1997 as liaison for governmental and community relations and was named director of community relations in 2000. In her new post, she succeeds Barry Thomas, who retired last year.

Newell, 31, lived near Tucker from age five until he left to attend UC Santa Barbara, where he earned a bachelor's degree in aquatic biology. He is the son of canyon residents Bruce and Beth Newell.

Tonight the sanctuary will host a Mars viewing from 8 - 10 p.m. as a pre-opening event. The red planet is closer to earth than it was been for 60,000 years, and the public is invited to view Mars through university telescopes.

"The location of Tucker is a great place for Orange County residents to view Mars," said Jeff Cady, staff physicist at CSUF. "The secluded site is away from city lights and is much closer than other viewing areas with low light levels, such as Palmdale, Joshua Tree National Monument and Apple Valley." Cady will be present to answer questions. Visitors are advised to call the sanctuary at (714) 649-2760 to learn of any weather conditions that may affect viewing.

The Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary has been operated by Cal State Fullerton as an educational facility for more than 30 years.

Media Contacts: Birkin Newell, Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, at (714) 649-2760 or bnewell@fullerton.edu, Kolf O. Jayaweera, Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, at (714) 278-2638 or kjayaweera@fullerton.edu, and Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at (714) 278-4855 or dreid@fullerton.edu.


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