On Oct. 25, approximately 20 students traveled across the Santa Barbara Channel to go out to the Santa Rosa Island Research Station. As a part of the AP Biology curriculum at Reseda High School, students partnered up with California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) to conduct research and spearhead restoration efforts on the island.
The trip lasted from that Wednesday to Sunday as students were briefed on the island’s history and the National Parks Service’s efforts to restore the island to before the ranching era. Students learned how the island was originally inhabited by the Chumash and how at one point pygmy mammoths lived out on the island. Students also learned more of its rich history.
After Spanish settlements, the island ultimately fell under control the More family, which introduced sheep to the island. These sheep wrecked the island’s ecosystem. Later on, the Vail and Vickers Company of Santa Barbara bought the island and continued the cattle ranching and started private hunting.
Once the island fell under the control of the National Park Service, the NPS has sought to restore the island and promote its beauty to the general public. The Santa Rosa Island Research Station (SRIRS), where students stayed at for the five days, is an integral part of that mission.
The mission of the SRIRS is “to encourage and advance the interdisciplinary knowledge and stewardship of our natural and cultural resources through long-term research, inquiry-based education, and public outreach. The successful management of our resources is dependent upon integrating the knowledge and perspectives of individuals across disciplines and backgrounds. The CSUCI Santa Rosa Island Research Station seeks to cultivate a diverse community of scholars that will identify resource management problems and initiate innovative solutions. The ability of the Santa Rosa Island Research Station community to confront management challenges from multiple perspectives will enable it to react energetically, adeptly, and successfully to our changing natural and human landscapes.”
Students took part in this mission by doing a variety of activities aimed at restoring the island to its native state. Students rolled waddles with the Mountain Restoration Trust and also conducted Sandy beach monitoring as well as collected seeds. In addition to those activities, students hiked to several points on the island to do photo point monitoring. By the end of the trip, students reflected on their time and almost all the students commented that the island increased their appreciation for nature.