Anacapa School students help transplant native flora on the island that bears the school’s name.

Anacapa School students help transplant native flora on the island that bears the school’s name. (Courtesy photo)

Students at Anacapa School in Santa Barbara have been volunteering with California Institute of Environmental Studies to support the native flora of their island namesake.

As a part of the school’s volunteer program, youth in seventh through 12th grades traveled to East Anacapa Island with science teacher Nicole Collier Yamagiwa for three days working with the California Institute of Environmental Studies (CIES), an environmental nonprofit dedicated to seabird research, monitoring, environmental restoration, and education.

CIES was established in 1976 as a 501(c)(3) organization recognizing a need for independent research of breeding seabird populations that were affected by marine contaminants in the Southern California Bight. CIES initiated its first project in 1977, assessing the breeding population of California brown pelicans on Anacapa Island, one of the Channel Islands.

The documented findings of eggshell thinning and reproductive failure in this pelican population, as well as other effects of contamination, led to important lawsuit testimony. Over the last 40 years, CIES has grown into a well-respected organization, with projects ranging from Baja California, Mexico, to Humboldt County, California.

On Anacapa Island, students were given a tour of the native plant nursery, where they learned about the native habitat, how the plants are grown on the island, and some of their common and scientific names. Following the tour, students got to work; tasked with transplanting nursery plants and outplanting native plants into restoration plots. They transplanted 350 plants and outplanted 800 plants into restoration plots.

The school looks forward to maintaining its new relationship with CIES and supporting the native flora of Anacapa Island.