During the week of September 19, Sierra Club members from all over the country joined CIR staff and key volunteers for some vigorous volunteer work and sightseeing on Santa Cruz Island. Sierra Club service trips are advertised nationally, and participants pay a fee to the club in order to volunteer in interesting and beautiful locations. Part of the fee for our trip helps pay two CIR staff members, who spend five days providing a very memorable volunteer experience in some of the most spectacular locations on the island. The fee also covers the cost of boat transportation, plus vehicles and housing at the UC Reserve Field Station on the island. Our staff were joined by CIR board member Tanya Atwater (a noted geophysicist) and Jerry Mitcham, a CIR volunteer and Santa Monica Mountain Trails Council board member.
The volunteers helped survey for Vinca major (a highly invasive weed) and helped maintain trails on the island. The Vinca survey kicked off a new project that CIR has to eradicate the weed in Canada del Puerto, the largest riparian area on the island. After being trained to spot the plant, the volunteers surveyed at least a third of the Canada, and flagged the sites with colored tape. The sites were then entered into a GPS.
CIR provides four nights of educational programs during the trip. These include:
- The biological significance of the island and its cultural history
- A presentation by Tanya Atwater on the geological history of Southern California and of the island
- An overview of restoration on the island, including fox and bald eagle recovery and habitat restoration
- and an evening of astronomy, far from city lights, with an 8 inch Mead telescope!
The Sierra Club volunteers work hard for four days and are then treated to a day off hike to the south side of the island. CIR staff are proud to work hard to provide a productive, fun and educations trip to Santa Cruz Island!