July 25, 2011
After this talk, and a little shade, we continued our hike, past the waterfall to an area of fennel dominance which we had decided would be a good area to work. We started removing the fennel and everyone started pulling out fennel with vigor. It was a hot day, but everyone had plenty of water and sunscreen, and before I knew it there were already large piles of dead fennel littering the hillside. I was having a great time, chatting with the group and getting lots of work done and pretty soon it was about time to head down for lunch. We snapped a group photo and began to gather up all the fennel, water bottles and backpacks that needed to come down. Since there was so much fennel and the hike was pretty long, some bundles of fennel that I saw people carrying down the hillside were quite impressive. We made it down the hillside with enough time to make sure that we had gotten all of our tools and water bottles and then helped the other group clear their fennel.
We ended up having a great lunch with the conservancy, getting an opportunity to get to know them better and talk about the other work they were doing. They were really happy to get a cooked lunch as their past week had been spent camping and their meals were mostly peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. As a thank you for all their hard work throughout the morning, we headed down to the waterfront and gave a talk about kayak and snorkel use and asked the crew which they would want to try out. Most were interested in kayaking, a couple wanted to snorkel and a few of them wanted to get some sun and sit out on the loading ramp. Miller helped people get the kayaks and load them into the water, Sabrina was out in a kayak to lead the group, Alex was helping the people that had flipped their kayaks and I was getting the snorkelers in the water.
Even though many of the Conservancy members had not kayaked nor snorkeled before, their enthusiasm and resiliency was impressive. It seemed that no matter how many times they fell out of a kayak, just a few minutes later they were back in, trying all over again. This time at the waterfront was the highlight of my day. I fell in love with Catalina spring semester 2010 when I came out for a class. One day after class and lab a group of us decided to kayak and snorkel. I had previously been kayaking but had never snorkeled before and it was an amazing experience. Seeing all the flora and fauna that lived in the Marine Protected Area opened my eyes to a whole new world underwater. Getting the opportunity to share my love for the water was a spectacular experience. At the end of the day, we all watched them getting on the Miss Christi and waved goodbye; I was wishing the day could have gone on and on.
Check out our picture album from this day
July 19, 2011
by Sabrina Lawrence-Gomez
In between preparing our lab samples, we had a meeting today with Charlie de la Rosa. Charlie is beginning his PhD in the Evolutionary Biology program at UCLA (our enemies!), so this was one of the last opportunities we had to talk with him before he leaves for school.
The focus of our meeting was the future of Deer Valley Trail. We had been discussing adding interpretive signs to our trail for some time, so it was finally time to start planning them out! We discussed many ideas for potential signs like an introduction to island biogeography, a map of all of the coves of the West End, an overview of sustainable trail design, or sign with all of the trail’s endemics on it. We also discussed the location of each sign. The goal is to have a sign at each control point, but we still weren’t sure which locations are best for which sign topics. It is also important that the trail is reversible so that hikers can begin the trail from the top of the ridge or from that bottom and have the same experience. Charlie suggested we continue to work through ideas for signs and begin drafts to help with the creation process.
We also talked about the sign design and funding. We are going to research different signs that we have seen that we like, and contact their creators. Charlie is very fond of the steel signs at Joshua Tree, so hopefully we can get in touch with them and find out how their signs are made. Unfortunately we don’t exactly have funds for the project yet. We talked about fundraising ideas and hope to coordinate with Wrigley to get money for these signs. I hope we can get through all of this red tape and have our signs completed before the end of the summer!
Next on the agenda was the a fennel removal volunteer day geared towards Conservancy employees. We discussed dates to invite Conservancy employees to help us remove fennel along the trail and then enjoy the amenities at the Wrigley waterfront, including snorkeling and kayaking. We chose the 27th and 29th for our work days. I hope that we can pull these events off! It will be a great opportunity for us to get more hands to work on the removal along our trail and teach more people about marine life at Wrigley Marine Science Center .
Before he left, Charlie invited us to a Stop the Spread event focused on educating volunteers on fennel removal in Howland’s Landing tomorrow. I hope we can all attend. Learning how the Conservancy teaches its volunteers how to remove fennel will be a really good model for us to follow when we have the LA Conservation Corps comes out on Monday.