Channel Islands Live—Take a Virtual Visit to Your National Park
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
How does a visit to a remote island at no cost to you sound? If this idea intrigues you, consider going on a virtual journey to Channel Islands National Park. Through technology you can remotely join a live interactive dive or hike on Anacapa Island or watch a young eaglet in the nest on neighboring Santa Cruz Island, all part of a distance learning program called Channel Islands Live.
This interactive program, sponsored by the National Park Service and Ventura County Office of Education, is broadcast via microwave signal in real time from the remote islands to eager students and the public using video conferencing and the Internet.
The Live Dive presentation allows viewers to experience a rare glimpse into a seldom-seen marine environment without ever getting wet. Participants accompany trained national park divers on an underwater journey into the kelp forest, one of the most prolific marine ecosystems in the world.
This summer season, for the first time, park rangers will broadcast a Live Hike from fourteen miles offshore on Anacapa Island. The hike will feature a remarkable human history of over 10,000 years, the last light station built along the California coast, and rare species of plants and animals that have adapted to this isolated island environment.
Channel Islands Live programs are broadcast Wednesday through Saturday with a Live Hike at 11:00 a.m. and a Live Dive at 2:00 p.m. from June 15th through Labor Day. These presentations are sent via microwave wireless technology to the Internet and park visitor center.
Wildlife enthusiasts are drawn to the popular Bald Eagle Webcam as the daily drama of the chick’s development unfolds. In 2010, this webcam connected over 160,000 unique visitors from over 145 countries worldwide who generated over 1.5 million hits. A webcam on Anacapa Island provides views of seabird rookeries, the iconic Arch Rock, the lighthouse, and the Santa Barbara Channel.
To take a virtual visit go to: http://www.nps.gov/chis/planyourvisit/live-programs.htm
To see the Anacapa Island Webcam: http://www.nps.gov/chis/photosmultimedia/anacapa-landing-cove-webcam.htm
Discover the Channel Islands
Close to the California mainland, yet worlds apart, Channel Islands National Park encompasses five of the eight California Channel Islands (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara) and their ocean environment, preserving and protecting a wealth of natural and cultural resources. The park bridges two biogeographical provinces and, in a remarkably small place, harbors the biologic diversity of nearly 2,500 miles of the North American coast.
The Channel Islands are home to over 2,000 terrestrial plants and animals, of which 145 are found nowhere else in the world. Like the Galapagos Islands of South America, isolation has allowed evolution to proceed independently on the islands. Marine life ranges from microscopic plankton to the blue whale, the largest animal to live on Earth. Archeological and cultural resources span a period of more than 13,000 years of human habitation.
The islands were set aside by Congress not only to preserve these resources, but also to provide for visitor enjoyment. Few people actually see this park because it is not easy to get to—you can’t drive to the islands. A short but exciting ocean voyage or a commercial flight in a small airplane is required, or you can take a virtual visit via Channel Islands Live.
The park’s relatively light visitation enhances the islands’ feeling of solitude and assists in the protection of fragile resources. A visit to this national park will always provide a marked contrast to the bustle of southern California. It will always be a place where one can step back in time and experience coastal southern California the way it once was.
Did You Know?
The only reptile found on Santa Barbara Island is the endemic and threatened island night lizard. These lizards can live up to 20 years or more, but once established in a territory generally remain within a 3-meter radius their entire life.