Santa Cruz Island Teen Trip 2010

Exploring Land and Sea on Limuw (Santa Cruz Island) By: Rain Robinson (featured in the Sep/Oct 2010 Samala) In July the SYCEO organized a trip to Santa Cruz Island for Chumash youth to learn about the unique ecosystems on the island, to help restore them, and to spark possible career interests in the environmental sciences. Participants kept environmental field journals where they took notes on island geography, botany, marine biology, archaeology, history, and Chumash language. On the first day we learned about native plants and how important they are to the environment from the founders of Growing Solutions. Later in the day we helped water some endangered endemic plants (found only on Santa Cruz Island). We also went swimming in a spring fed swimming hole. The next day we helped restore the island by planting some native plants that were propagated in the Growing Solutions nursery. After our hard work we hiked to Pelican Bay to go snorkeling and learn about marine biology. Matthew Lopez, a teenager who went on the trip, said, “It was my best experience in the ocean so far, feeling a Leopard Shark touch my foot while swimming in its own environment.” A fellow teen, Jackson Valencia, agreed stating "The thing I enjoyed the most was the clear water and the fish.  I liked seeing all the wildlife too." After snorkeling we sat around the campfire and told scary stories to each other. The third day had us on a 10 mile off-road adventure to visit the haunted, abandoned Christy’s ranch. Afterwards we went to Christy's beach to go body surfing in the ocean and explore a Chumash Village site. On the last day we relaxed at Prisoner’s Harbor and went snorkeling again while we waited for the boat to take us back to the mainland. On the channel crossing home a large pod of common dolphins joined us to say farewell and wish us a safe journey home.