Catalina Island News

Families in Nature and Kids in Nature: Back in Business!

Catalina Island Conservancy

With the school year underway, the Catalina Island Conservancy is resuming its popular programs that give Island families and students opportunities to experience and increase their knowledge of Catalina's wildlands and its wildlife.

The first Families in Nature outing of the 2015-2016 season will be a trip to one of the Island's most scenic spots, Shark Harbor, on Sunday, Sept. 20. A shuttle will be provided free of charge for attendees. It will leave the Tour Plaza at 10 a.m. and return by 4 p.m.

Opportunities for swimming, hiking and exploring will be provided before and after the traditional BBQ-potluck lunch, and all participants are encouraged to bring a dish to share. Led by trained naturalists, these monthly events offer an opportunity for Island families to increase their understanding of Catalina's natural resources, the conservation of those resources and how they can help protect this very special place.

Following on the heels of the family-friendly BBQ, Kids in Nature will begin at 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept.  23, at Avalon School. The two-hour, after-school program will continue every Wednesday while school is in session.

For more than a decade, the Conservancy has been offering the Kids in Nature program free of charge to all elementary school students in Avalon. Kids in Nature encourages students to "unplug, reconnect, give back" by playing educational games that teach them about their Island home and help them develop a better understanding of conservation. The program offers opportunities for students to  learn about Catalina's natural wonders and increase their understanding of nature, science and biology.

In October, the Families in Nature outing will be Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. The Conservancy is joining the California Council of Land Trusts in its "Take It Outside, California!" campaign to get Californians to enjoy the lands they have conserved.

On Oct. 3, the Conservancy will provide guided interpretive hikes of the Garden to Sky trail and admission to the Garden will be free. Families are welcome to bring their own picnics to enjoy in the Garden because the Conservancy won't be hosting the traditional BBQ-potluck.

The Families in Nature events will also provide residents the opportunity to meet the Catalina Island Conservancy's   new director of education, Kristin Howland, and NatureWorks specialist, Willie Richerson.  Kristen comes to the Conservancy from San Luis Obispo County Parks, where she served as a park ranger for the last 13 years. Willie comes to the Conservancy by way of the Central Coast Salmon Enhancement program, where he was the lead educator.

Both bring a wealth of knowledge and breadth of experience to the Conservancy. Familiar faces will include Alexa Johnson, Conservancy outlook and naturalist training specialist, and myself, Lizz Bailey, the Conservancy's education program assistant.

Once again, the Conservancy is able to provide Families in Nature thanks to a generous grant provided by Don Knabe, Los Angeles County Supervisor for the Fourth District. The Conservancy was pleased to receive another grant from the supervisor because the funding pays for transportation to and from the interior sites and for supplies, like charcoal and children's games.

All of us in the Conservancy's education department hope to see new and memorable Island faces at these upcoming fall programs! Please register as soon as possible for Families in Nature by calling 310-510-0954. Space is limited.  For more information, please visit our website.