Catalina Island


Start Dates 2014


These projects will involve working with the Catalina Island Conservancy on various restoration planting projects on the island.


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Two Harbors
Catalina Island, California

Catalina Island began to be formed by volcanic activity on the floor of the Pacific Ocean many millions of years ago. Subsequent geologic uplifting and various processes of erosion have resulted in the rugged mountains, shallow soils and arid climate that influence today's plant and animal life.


As an island that was never attached to the mainland, Catalina was originally devoid of plant and animal life. The species that made it to the island were carried by one of the three w's: wind, water or wing. Upon arrival on the island the species faced the equally arduous challenges of survival and reproduction. This helps to explain why the endemic species (those which are only found on Catalina Island) are so special and their environment needs to be protected.


Catalina Island's ecosystem is today a unique variety of trees, shrubs, wildflowers, mammals, insects, birds, reptiles and marine life. Maintaining the health of the ecosystem and the ecological processes of the Island is the primary component of the Catalina Island Conservancy's mission. ACE Conservation Vacation participants will help support this goal whilst on Catalina Island.

Accommodations & Food
Arrival Information


ACE Conservation Vacation participants will stay at one or more of the below campgrounds. Details will be confirmed upon application. Click the below images for a description of each site.






The nearest international airport for the Catalina Island projects is Los Angeles Airport (LAX). From 2014 all transportation for the Catalina Island Conservation Vacation will be provided. Participants will be collected from LAX at 12:00pm on the first day of their chosen Conservation Vacation for the journey to the ferry terminal at Long Beach or San Pedro. Catalina Express ferry reservations to Catalina Island will be ready at the relevant terminal. Upon arrival on Catalina Island all Conservation Vacation participants will be met by the dedicated ACE Crew Leader who will provide a brief orientation and guide participants to their camp.



Each participant will be provided with a tent and the group will set up camp together before preparing dinner and settling down for the first night on the island.



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Project Summary

Project Start Dates 2014:

  • March 24th
  • May 5th
  • May 26th
  • June 9th
  • June 23rd
  • July 7th
  • July 21st
  • August 4th
  • August 18th
  • September 1st
  • September 15th


Project Duration:

  • 11 days


  • Tent & camping facilities for the duration of the program (not including sleeping bag & mat).
  • Group-prepared breakfast, lunch & dinner for each full day of the Conservation Vacation.
  • A dedicated, fully-trained ACE Crew Leader for the duration of the Conservation Vacation.
  • Use of all tools & equipment that are required for the volunteer service projects, including safety equipment.
  • Educational tour of the island including a stop at the Airport in the Sky and/or Avalon.
  • Access to snorkel and kayak equipment at the University of Southern California.



Project Schedule
Weekend Recreation


Week 1


On Tuesday Conservation Vacation participants will be provided with a full orientation, safety briefing, and overview of the conservation projects to be undertaken during the service. After lunch the volunteer service will begin, as directed by our partner agencies on Catalina Island. Examples of work include the removal of invasive species, trail maintenance, revegetation projects and assisting  in a sustainable organic garden. For the remainder of the week the volunteer service will be around 7 hours of service each day, generally between 7:30am and 3:30pm. This will allow plenty of time in the evening to swim in the ocean, play beach sports or just relax on the beach.  ACE has also worked closely with the University of Southern California Wrigley Institute to obtain the right to use their snorkel and kayak equipment.  Depending on the work and camp location on any given day, ACE will try to provide transportation to the university throughout the project so participants can enjoy these activities in the pristine waters.

At some point during the service project a trip to other areas of the island will be scheduled. This will be an interpretive tour to Avalon or the Airport in the Sky and will . This will provide more information about the history of the island, stunning views, and the opportunity to buy some souvenirs or famous 'Killer Cookies'!



Week 2


The second week will continue as the first with participants completing 8 hours of daily service from Monday until Thursday. The final Friday of the Conservation Vacation will be spent dismantling camp, packing all belongings, and cleaning the camp site (adhering to Leave No Trace principles). Participants will then be transported back to Two Harbors or Avalon so they can take the ferry back to the mainland. Onward transportation to LAX will then be provided.


Weekends provide Conservation Vacation participants with the chance to relax and enjoy what Catalina Island has to offer, perhaps kayaking and snorkelling at the university or relaxing on the beach. Alternatively, it is possible to take the Catalina Express ferry back to LA (at own cost - $76 round trip) and visit some of the tourist attractions there. The ACE leader will be able to confirm the ferry schedule for that particular week. Regardless of chosen activity, participants are asked to arrive back in camp by sunset on Sunday to check in with the ACE Crew Leader and prepare for the week ahead.