Channel Islands Restoration has brought 2,055 young people and 248 teachers and chaperones to Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands as part of our school and youth program since its inception in 2004. CIR raised most of the funding to pay for boat transportation and other costs for these trips, which focused on involving students from underserved areas of Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. These trips provided the first opportunity for most of these young people to travel on an ocean-going boat, to directly experience marine wildlife and to visit the Channel Islands. Funding was provided by a combination of public and private sources, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the California Coastal Commission, Sempra Energy Foundation and Citrix Online.
Students from Sheridan Way Elementary
School (Ventura) on Anacapa Island
CIR worked with 36 schools and youth groups from all over Southern California and beyond. Participants performed many service tasks including removing invasive plants, collecting seed, growing plants in the Anacapa nursery and care of these plants once they were in the ground. CIR visited participating schools before each trip to make a presentation on island ecology and conservation biology. We particularly emphasized the connection between the pollution of mainland streets and watersheds and thereby of the ocean and island environments. Instruction was curriculum based, reinforcing lessons the students were already learning in the classroom.
Even with fares generously discounted by Island Packers (the official provider of transportation to Anacapa), transportation costs add up quickly. Boat transportation for an average-size class is $1,500 to $2,000, with additional costs incurred for bus transportation and for CIR staff to organize and lead each trip. As public sector budgets tighten, CIR is seeking corporate support to help fund these important service-learning programs for local schools.
Fifth graders from Meiners Oaks Elementary volunteer on Santa Cruz Island.