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Friday, January 20, 2012

Productive Planting Season on Anacapa!

The last couple months on Anacapa Island has been a tremendous adventure, and 2011 was a very productive year for Anacapa’s native plant restoration project!  With nearly 5,000 endemic and natives planted on the island so far by volunteers (under the direction of NPS restoration biologist Sarah Chaney) we can say with conviction that Anacapa has never looked more native!   Many groups including several hundred CIR volunteers have helped with the growing and planting on the island this season.  Here is how a typical trip has gone recently:

Once volunteers hit the island, we take full advantage of the short time we have there by pulling invasive iceplant  out of priority areas until lunch time.  This can actually be quite meditative for our volunteers, as they watch Risso's dolphins swim off the coast while they work.  After lunch some of the volunteers take a short hike to scenic spots on the island where they see anything from the endemic Channel Islands slender salamander, to the currently migrating grey whale!  After the break, volunteers then get to work directly with native plants, planting them in various spots where iceplant has been removed.   Lately, we have planted a lot of barley grass, needle grass, alkali heath, yarrow, morning glory and Coreopsis, and volunteers always rave about how beautiful the site looks when it is restored.   Volunteers also help out in the island nursery, which provides a unique opportunity to propagate, repot, water, and provide extensive care for thousands of upcoming native plants.  We have gotten so much feedback from volunteers telling us that their island time has really opened their eyes to Channel Island plant ecology, and gave them a rare opportunity to experience the plethora of life in the Santa Barbara Channel.   CIR is currently taking a group of 15 volunteers every Wednesday to East Anacapa Island, and we look forward to working with those of you who will be signing up for future trips!  


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