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26 miles across the sea

ASTC Annual Conference-goers have an opportunity to visit Santa Catalina Island, 26 miles offshore from Long Beach, California, on a full-day post-conference tour, October 17.

Southern California’s eight Channel Islands, located off the coast between Santa Barbara and San Diego, are home to rich biodiversity. Nearly 90 percent of the 75-square-mile land mass, created when tectonic plates collided, is now under the protection of the nonprofit Catalina Island Conservancy.

After a one-hour ferry ride, the tour will begin with a visit to the Catalina Island Museum in the resort town of Avalon. This repository of cultural artifacts, housed in the historic Avalon Casino, captures the island’s roles as home to the native Gabrielino/Tongva tribes (who mined soapstone there), a safe haven for pirates, a cattle ranch, a military base, a Hollywood film location, a spring training site for baseball’s Chicago Cubs (whose owners, the Wrigley family, controlled the island from 1919 to 1975), and more.

Next, Conservancy staff will host a coach tour of the inner island for a behind-the-scenes look at how the group is protecting and restoring Catalina’s unique plant and wildlife communities. The schedule includes visits to nature centers at Airport in the Sky (with lunch at the DC-3 Café) and Avalon Canyon and the chance to meet wildlife ambassadors Tachi, a Catalina Island fox, and Pimu, a bald eagle, members of native species restored through Conservancy efforts. Rounding out the tour are a stop at the restored El Rancho Escondido hacienda and stables, part of Catalina’s cattle ranching history, and a visit to the beautiful beach at Little Harbors.

Participation is limited to 55 people. Register now.