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Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
On Sunday, April 3, 2010, staff members from Thousand Oaks-based biotechnology company Amgen will travel to Anacapa Island to support Channel Islands National Park in restoring the island’s native plant habitat. This volunteer activity will help kick off National Volunteer Week, which is celebrated April 16-20, 2011.
Amgen, the largest private employer in Ventura County, is responding to a call from Channel Islands National Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau for community volunteers to assist the park in removing non native iceplant on Anacapa Island in time for the National Park Service Centennial in 2016.
Medical doctors, researchers, and engineers from Amgen, along with family members, make up the crew of 40 volunteers that will help with this project, which contributes to the protection of rare and endangered native plants and seabird habitat on the island.
“My son and I are very happy to help the National Park Service with the restoration of Anacapa Island, which offers an incredible natural environment for residents and visitors,” said Gregg Kasting, MD and Director of Occupational Health at Amgen. “It’s a great opportunity to help preserve the island for future generations of people and wildlife.”
The Amgen team joins several other committed groups of community volunteers. Environmental Club students from Buena High School in Ventura have been working on this project during monthly trips to the island for the past 13 years. Students from Oxnard High School, Rio Mesa High School, Pacifica High School, Oxnard College, and Ventura College have also contributed consistently to this effort the past few years.
Additionally, a local non-profit institution, Channel Islands Restoration (CIR), has partnered with Channel Islands National Park for the past five years to restore native plant habitat on Anacapa Island. CIR has also worked on several other restoration projects on Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands.
About the Restoration Project
This iceplant was brought to Anacapa by the U.S. Coast Guard in the 1940s and 50s for landscaping and erosion control and has spread rapidly since then. Today, non native iceplant, originally from South Africa, densely covers about 20 percent of East Anacapa Island, overwhelming many areas formerly thriving with native plants.
Iceplant forms monocultures that reduce the diverse natural vegetation and food sources on which native animals, including seabirds depend. After removing the iceplant, volunteers are replanting cleared areas with native plants grown from island-collected seed. Native species being restored include coreopsis, alkali heath, gum plant, yarrow, needlegrass, California barley, giant ryegrass, live-forever, buckwheat, and goldenbush.
The park plans on completing this restoration work by 2016—the Centennial of the National Park Service. To meet this goal, volunteers help is critical to the success of this effort.
For more information on volunteering for this project visit: http://www.nps.gov/chis/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm