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The Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island

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Date: March 14, 2007
Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725

In the April “From Shore to Sea” lecture, United States Navy Archeologist Steven Schwartz will portray the story of a young Native American woman whose 18 years alone on San Nicolas Island inspired author Scott O’Dell to write the Newberry Award-winning classic Island of the Blue Dolphins.

Juana Maria, the “Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island,” is arguably one of the most famous persons associated with the Channel Islands. However, the true facts of her story are mired in a mix of facts, fiction, and legend. In his presentation, Schwartz will reveal the real story of the Lone Woman and her people, which he has assembled over the past two decades of research on the Channel Islands.

Schwartz has worked for the U.S. Navy at Point Mugu for 18 years. He is the Navy’s archeologist and historian for San Nicolas Island and has authored a number of publications concerning the archeology and history of the island. In the past he has been an archeologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers working throughout much of the Southwest. In his off time, he records ancient rock art in the Mojave Desert, Egypt, and Australia. He has just returned from an expedition to the Sahara.

The “From Shore to Sea” lecture series is jointly sponsored by Channel Islands National Park, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, and Santa Barbara Maritime Museum in an effort to further the understanding of research on the Channel Islands and surrounding waters. The lectures occur at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, 2007, at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum at 113 Harbor Way in Santa Barbara Harbor and Wednesday, April 11, 2007, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center located at 1901 Spinnaker Drive in the Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.

Did You Know?

Island night lizard                                     C. Drost

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.