2015 Field Trips
Includes round-trip bus and boat transportation, boxed lunch, expert guides, and about 5 hours on the island. Dress for variable weather conditions; bring a daypack and wear a hat and sturdy hiking boots. The hike is rated moderately strenuous; trekking poles or walking stick may be helpful. There are no facilities on the island; restrooms only at Prisoners Harbor and on the boat.
The gem of Channel Islands National Park and co-managed by the Nature Conservancy, Santa Cruz Island is the largest of California's Northern Channel Islands, located about 25 miles from the Santa Barbara mainland coast. The Island bears evidence of thousands of years of human occupation and is home to many endemic plant and animal species. A 1-hour boat ride takes us from Ventura to a pier at Prisoners Harbor on the north side of the island near a major Chumash village site. Accompanied by an Island Packers naturalist and Kristina Gill, a paleoethnobotanist who has done extensive research on the island, we experience the distinctive island environment, spectacular views, and several archaeological sites on a 2-mile hike across coastal terraces and canyons. At Pelican Bay, the former location of a rustic resort in the early 20th century, we are picked up in skiffs from a rock platform at the base of the cliff. The boat then makes a brief stop at Prisoners Harbor on the way back to Ventura, arriving late afternoon for our bus back to the hotel.
Price includes transportation, Garden admission, guided walks, and lunch.
Located in a beautiful setting at the base of the Santa Ynez Mountains, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is devoted exclusively to education, research, conservation and display of plants native to the California Floristic Province. It's also a great place for birding. More than five miles of trails meander through naturalistic meadow, redwood forest, desert, chaparral, canyon, and aquatic habitats and demonstration gardens on the 78-acre property. The Old Mission Dam, constructed in 1816 by Chumash Indians to provide water for Mission Santa Barbara, is a State Historic Landmark. The Garden also houses an excellent research library, herbarium, classrooms, horticultural facilities, nursery, and gift shop. Jan Timbrook and Amber VanDerwarker will lead us through the Garden and discuss Native uses of many of the plants we see. We'll enjoy lunch on the terrace overlooking Mission Creek, followed by a little extra time to shop or explore on our own.