California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

    Students help protect national park wildlife

    On April 12, 10 California Lutheran University students went on a trip to Anacapa Island in Ventura County to do ecological restoration.

    The students from the environmental ethics course and the contemporary Christian ethics course served as volunteers at the island.  These courses are taught by religion professors Samuel Thomas and Victor Thasiah, respectively.

    The students helped with park beautification through activities such as pulling weeds, according to transfer student Simen Aamodt.

    According to the National Park Service, Anacapa is a volcanic island that has been eroded by the waves, which creates the towering sea cliffs, caves and natural bridges. The 40-foot-high arch rock is a symbol of Anacapa and Channel Islands National Park.

    The National Park Service is working on a multi-year program to restore Anacapa Island.

    The National Park Service website states that “this restoration program is part of the National Park Service mission, as mandated by Congress, to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment and inspiration of this and future generations.”

    Thasiah said that the Anacapa trip is an opportunity for “students to do volunteer ecological restoration work. They also learn about climate change and ecological responsibility.”

    Thasiah discussed that the devastation non-native species can cause to the native species and insects of the habitat.

    “One of the most important lessons is that you can see what happens when an invasive species takes over an ecosystem. When you remove all of the invasive species, in this case the ice plant, you actually see how much damage the plant has done by looking at the arid and empty space after the removal process,” Thasiah said.

    According to student Olivia Marcey, there are three different types of ice plants, but for this particular trip, they were focusing on the red flowered ice plant.

    “We were trying to get out the ice plant that was introduced in the 20th century by the coast guard because it was really invasive and it doesn’t really provide any shelter for birds, insects or other animals. It just messes with the ecosystem,” Marcey said.

    Thasiah pointed out the elements of nature that the students observed. Students went on a scenic hike and ate lunch on a plateau overlooking the cliffs and ocean.

    “I really liked seeing the beautiful nature. There were so many beaches with rocks around them. Something important is maintenance and preservation for natural beauties like Anacapa Island,” Aamodt said.

    There are many living creatures that inhabit the island.

    “We saw sea lions. There are seagulls during the spring, so the entire island was just covered with seagulls. They act completely differently than they do in Zuma Beach here. They’re not pest-like; they’re very comfortable in their natural habitat,” Marcey said.

    According to Marcey, the beauty of nature relies on people to help collaborate and preserve it.

    “For our future generations to be able to enjoy the beauty, we need to practice sustainability,” Marcey said.

    For students who missed this Anacapa Island trip, Thasiah is planning a multi-day trip for next spring to Santa Cruz Island. Students can attend to do volunteer restoration work and learn about the ecological challenges facing the island.

    Students can also learn what they can do to restore the island. According to Thasiah, they are hoping to move forward from this experience by planning CLU’s Experiential Learning in spring 2015. Thasiah plans for students to stay at a field station on the island.

    “A trip like this also really helps us experience how natural settings provide opportunities to make new friends,” Thasiah said.


    Dalee Jung
    Staff Writer
    Published April 23, 2014