July 6, 2011
The Catalina Island Summer Internship is a partnership program between the USC Dornsife Environmental Studies Program, the USC Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Catalina Island Conservancy.
Four students were chosen to participate in the program in its pilot year. The students will spend a week at the Conservancy headquarters in Middle Ranch, where they will be trained in the cultural and natural history of the island. Their remaining time on the island will be primarily spent in Deer Valley, an area just adjacent to the Wrigley campus where they will be building an interpretive hiking trail, highlighting the endemic island species in the area. They will also begin to eradicate the invasive fennel in the area, which is steadily displacing the native plants. In addition to the restoration work they will be completing in Deer Valley, the students will spend time working with the Conservancy at their greenhouse and nursery, doing education outreach, and helping with restoration on other areas of the island. The students are also working on a research project to see how fire alters soil chemistry and how non-native grazers (deer and bison) impact native plant recovery after fires.
The internship is being supervised primarily by two people:
Dr. Lisa Collins (Ph.D. in Earth Sciences) is a Lecturer in the USC Dornsife Environmental Studies Program. The internship was her brainchild, and after a year and half of planning, she is thrilled to see it come to life.
Charlie de la Rosa is the head of the Catalina Habitat Improvement and Restoration Program (CHIRP). He coordinated with all of the Conservancy staff to provide excellent training for the interns and has worked closely with them in the field. Charlie will be leaving the Conservancy at the end of July to begin his Ph.D. at UCLA; the students are already sad to see him go.