Cruising to the Islands
Written by: Mahnoor Rahman
This week I was given the chance to visit Channel Islands. These islands are located off the coast of southern California and were the home of the Chumash for almost 10,000 years. My job that day was working directly with the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Youth with plant restoration. I specifically worked with them to help weed parts of the National Park. This experience was to say the least enlightening. I was able to see a different side of the Parks as well as experience some volunteer work. During my visit I got the opportunity to connect with people my own age which allowed me to see different aspects of conservation past what I usually know.
My focus tends to be archaeology but to be able to see this aspect of conservation past my own field was a great experience. The islands themselves were beautiful. During my time there we were given some opportunity to go hiking visit the beach and learn more about the history and functions of the island. The park ranger explained how originally there were no domesticated animals on the island but due to colonization the island was overrun with feral sheep and pigs during the 1900s which had eaten all the native plants. After their removal, the park has focused on restoring plants and eliminating the invasive species. This is where SAMO youth comes into play. The program teaches them about planting, caring for, and understanding native plants. While this isn’t my focus area the experience has taught me that my field is a holistic field and aspects such as native plants and animals have a larger effect on our understanding of the past, then we originally expect. While I don’t think I’ll have a chance such as this again the experience itself was one that helped put a lot of my career goals into perspective.