Sping Volunteers Impact Catalina

Howdy all! Spring is in full bloom here at Howlands Landing: the bush sunflowers are doing sun salutations and the foxes scamper carefree through the coastal sagebrush. We are lucky to have hosted some passionate volunteer groups this season; the legacy of our twelve-year service program has left quite an impact on our cove as it continues to grow. Hopefully the students who come out to help us are inspired to incorporate some ideas and lessons into their home communities and continue the tradition.

We would like to thank the following schools for their hard work and enthusiasm this year:

James Madison University (Harrisonburg, Virginia)

Colorado State University (Fort Collins, Colorado)

Iowa Energy and Sustainability Academy (Des Moines, Iowa)

CSU San Bernardino (San Bernardino, CA)

UC San Diego (San Diego, CA)

UC Irvine (Irvine, CA)

Outward Bound Adventures (Los Angeles, CA)

American Conservation Experience (Santa Cruz, CA)

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Spring 2013 brings amazing snorkeling

The spring season is well on its way, and it has already proven to be an amazing season for seeing wild life in all the ecosystems of Catalina Island.  The hills are still bright green from the winter rains with wildflowers sprouting up all along the trails. The ocean in particular has been almost magical with many pelagic species washing in from the spring currents, storms, and tides. Some of these species such as the Ribbon Fish are rarely seen anywhere in the world while others like the “Sea Butterfly” or Pteropod , a type of swimming gastropod, resemble aliens from another planet.  We’ve found tiny flat fish that are transparent to camouflage in the open ocean, chains of salps reaching several feet long, lobsters hanging out with abalone, and brilliant/bizarre Comb Jellies. Our resident Leopard sharks have been seen napping in the kelp forests after long afternoons of hunting for worms in the sand.  Who knows what we might find on our next snorkel.

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The Fall season is heating up!

As summer draws to a close, the fall is still heating up here at Howlands Landing. The warm water, ~70 degrees, invites an array of marine friends to join us in our cove, including:

Manny the resident mantis shrimp

A plethora of juvenile fishes (Garibaldi, Blacksmith and Topsmelt to name a few)

Two-spot Octopi

Leopard sharks, horn sharks and angel sharks (all harmless bottom-dwellers)

When we manage to pull ourselves away from those beckoning azure waters, the host of terrestrial critters proves equally captivating.

Our endemic Catalina Island Foxes make frequent stops into camp searching for water during this drought season. Bouncing back from near extinction in the late 1990’s, the population is currently at about 1,542 individuals.

Also on the lookout for water are non-native and invasive animals such as deer and bison.

A juvenile red-tail hawk appears almost daily to perform aerial displays of its predatory prowess.

 

The Howlands garden thrives as it prepares for more even more seedlings to grow. Students recently planted lettuce seeds, which should be ready in a few weeks, and transplanted green onion and tomato. Also in the ground are bell peppers, zucchini, squash, basil, carrots, chard, eggplant, lemon, and assorted lettuces.

 

A huge shout-out to Our ACE volunteer crew (American Conservation Experience) and CELP students for contributing to the on-going eradication of an invasive plant called fennel from within our camp and from a very special place called Inspiration Point. Fennel poses great harm not only to the well-being of our island’s ecological biodiversity, but also to economic sustainability here on Catalina. Many thanks to all those who have helped to manually remove it from our precious soil.

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End of a Successful Spring at Howlands Landing

The beautiful spring season is now coming to an end- the water is getting warmer and the hills are changing from a luscious green to a dry brown. It is amazing to see the changes that go on from February to March, from April to May, and finally ending in June.

 

The Sun Setting over Howlands Landing

Back in the garden, we have been enjoying sugar snap peas, fava beans, green onions, garlic, carrots, asparagus, lemons, parsley, and lettuces galore. With the help of all our CELP students, volunteers, staff, and chaperones, we have planted all the new seeds in order to begin a delicious summer and fall garden. Basil, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, zucchini, squash, cilantro, and peppers are all on the horizon to grow, to flourish, and to be enjoyed.

 

Worms making rich compost for our Garden!

Out in the cove of Howland’s Landing, we have also seen some changes in the oceans, mostly temperature-wise. Finally, the bat rays are back! Gliding around, looking as if they’re flying under the sea. We have seen the sandy bottom transform- at first thinking there is nothing there, then seeing shovel-nose guitar fish, round rays, navanax, and bubble snails emerge as you look closer. And, if you’re lucky, swimming alongside those gorgeous and gentle leopard sharks. The kelp forest has been alive and well all season. Sea cucumbers to kiss for seven years of good luck, sea hares to cuddle with, and Garibaldis to pose for your underwater pictures.

 

Navanax

 

Harbor Seals on a Reef Marker outside Two Harbors

This season we’ve had lots of interesting creatures come through our cove, on land, as well. Lots of bison, acorn woodpeckers, ravens, beechy ground squirrels, and Catalina Island foxes have strolled, scampered, and flown through camp.

 

Beechy Ground Squirrel

The spring season is also a time for another type of CELP visitor to come along- the volunteer. The Stop the Spread program has been more than successful this spring. With the help of our new volunteer friends, many fennel plants have seen their doom. Fennel is an invasive plant that has been taking over Catalina Island. I like to compare an invasive plant to some sort of an invader–they take over all the nearby land and do not let native, endemic, or any other plants grow. Howland’s Landing is getting closer and closer to being fennel free- thank you volunteers! We cannot tell you how much we appreciate you coming out to the island and giving up your spring break.

 

Catalina Live Forever

Also a big thank you to all the schools that came out this season, it was a great and memorable time! What have you done since you left the island to be more sustainable?

 

Dolphins Just Outside our Cove

Stay tuned as many of our staff will be returning for the Fall and embarking on the annual Sustainable Living Bike Tour.

 

Catalina Island Camps

If you enjoyed your week out at CELP there is a good chance that you will love our summer camp too! During the summer we offer even more fun adventures- stand up paddle boarding, archery, riflery, powerboat activities, overnights, zip lining, and outdoor cooking, just to name a few. Go to our website to learn more:

 www.catalinaislandcamps.com

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Santa Monica Festival

Would you like help planning your summer garden? Come join CELP and the Catalina Ecology Project at the Santa Monica Festival.  We will be making soil from compost, planting seeds, and helping visitors plan their summer gardens.

Would you like a visit from the Sustainable Living Bike Tour?

Would you like help starting a school ecology club?

Come talk to us at our booth. Also, bring the family and participate in fitness classes and eco-friendly workshops, and enjoy live music and guilt-free shopping! Admission, parking and bike valet are FREE! 

Learn more @ http://www.facebook.com/SantaMonicaFestival and  http://www.smgov.net/Portals/Culture/content.aspx?id=15035

SATURDAY, MAY 19, 11AM – 6PM AT CLOVER PARK (26th & Ocean Park).

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Make Everyday Earth Day

A big hello from all your friends at CELP,

We hope you enjoyed your weekend and Earth Day last Sunday. We would love to hear what you got up to. Well here at Howlands we try and make everyday Earth Day because we think it’s that special and we encourage you to do the same. Here are some people who think outside the box to come up with some cleaver ways to help save our Earth one bit at a time.

Bio Gas

Europe’s largest applied research centre Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB got the idea that the compost pile and worm bin are no longer the only appropriate resting places for peach pits, banana peels, and apple cores.  They are turning old produce into bio-gas at a pilot site in Stuttgart, Germany. Conveniently located next to the city’s wholesale vegetable market, the facility will use microorganisms to transform food scraps into methane gas, which can power a car once compressed and emits less carbon dioxide during combustion than gasoline.

http://www.good.is/post/fuel-gets-fruity-converting-produce-scraps-into-gas/

Cars that run on vegetables! Even better than the Dalorian in ‘Back to the Future’.

One of the reasons we love our Earth is that it’s contains some really smart organisms and if we look to them for inspiration we could really help ourselves.

The artificial leaf that could power your home.

Call it faux-tosynthesis. An MIT research team lead by Daniel Nocera revealed an “artificial leaf” that uses the sun’s rays to produce energy. Developing an energy source modeled on photosynthesis like this has long been a goal of energy science.

Their new leaf utilizes relatively abundant and inexpensive materials—nickel and cobalt—for its catalysts. The leaf itself is described as about the size of a playing card, and in laboratory conditions, it’s proven to generate power continuously for 45 hours without a drop in performance. In theory, with one such leaf and a gallon of water, a typical house could be powered for a day.

http://www.good.is/post/faux-tosynthesis-the-artificial-leaf-that-could-power-your-home/

Keep loving your planet Earth and happy every day Earth Day to everyone.

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Pimuvit History as seen through artifacts

With approximately 3,000 people currently living on Catalina year round. There is still a lot to be learned from the population of up to 3,000 Native Americans that lived on the island, including right here at Howland’s Landing, before us for thousands of years.

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-catalina-bones-20120402,0,5531466.story

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Colorado State University rocks their ongoing legacy at Howlands Landing

The work from these volunteers helps to restore the natural communities around Howlands Landing.
More information on Ecological Restoration
Stay tuned for more information about the Howland’s Landing Restoration Project

Getting Back to our Roots

 

Trail Before

Trail During

Job Well Done!

Bridal creeper taken literally

 

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James Madison University: Volunteers Laying A Foundation

Check out the pictures from the hard working volunteers from JMU!

Invasive plant removal at its finest

Mulching Fruit Trees

Setting the stage for a lovely garden amphitheater

Volleyball Court Before

Volleyball Court After

“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and to impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.” – Woodrow Wilson

 

 

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Catalina Fox Thrives after a Battle with Extinction

Anyone who has visited Catalina Island in the past few years knows that the number of Catalina Fox has grown substantially just by seeing the scat around camp every morning. Many of us will even see a Fox exploring around camp after dark. This link is to an article in the Los Angeles Times about the resurgence of the Catalina Island Fox after becoming nearly extinct a decade ago.

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