Project Start Dates 2014 (Mondays):
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 volunteers will help support this goal by participating in the ACE Volunteer Vacation on Catalina Island.
Depending on the date and location of the specific project applied for ACE Conservation Vacation volunteers will stay at one of several 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 projects will be provided. Volunteers will need to meet at LAX at 12:00pm on the first day of their chosen Conservation Vacation. Volunteers will first be taken to the ferry terminal at Long Beach or San Pedro where they will be able to take the Catalina Express ferry to Catalina Island. Upon arrival on the island all volunteers will be met by an ACE representative who will provide an orientation and begin camp setup.
Upon arrival at Two Harbors or Avalon (dependent on the project) volunteers will be met by an ACE representative who will provide onward transportation to one of the campsites. Each volunteer 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.
On Tuesday the volunteers will be provided with a full orientation, safety briefing, and overview of the conservation projects to be undertaken during the service. After lunch the volunteers will start their volunteer service, as required 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 volunteers will be required to complete 8 hours of service each day, generally between 7:30am and 3:30pm. This will allow plenty of time in the evening for volunteers to explore the island, 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 volunteers can participate in these activities.
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 the volunteers with more information about the history of the island, stunning views, and the opportunity to buy some souvenirs or famous 'Killer Cookies'!
The second week will continue as the first with volunteers completing 8 hours of daily service from Monday until Thursday. This will again involve undertaking a variety of tasks as required by our partner agencies on the island. Examples include the removal of invasive species, trail maintenance, revegetation projects and working in a sustainable organic garden. The final Friday will be spent dismantling camp, packing all belongings and cleaning the camp site (leaving no trace). Volunteers will be transported back to Two Harbors so they can take the ferry back to LA and at this point the service project will come to an close.
Weekends provide the volunteers with free time to spend on the island, perhaps kayaking and snorkelling at the university or relaxing on the beach. Alternatively, volunteers can take the Catalina Express ferry back to LA (at their own cost - $72 return) and visit some of the tourist attractions there. The ACE representative will be able to confirm the ferry schedule for that particular week. Regardless of chosen activity, volunteers are asked to arrive back in camp by sunset on Sunday and check in with the ACE representative.