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Trekking Catalina


Message from the President


or more than four decades, the Catalina Island Conservancy has worked tirelessly to improve the ecological health of the Island and its native and endemic species. The Conservancy has created innovative management programs that have restored native species, including the remarkable recovery of the endangered Catalina Island fox. At the same time, it has thoughtfully increased access to the Island’s natural and cultural resources.

Conservancy Times is a biannual publication of the Catalina Island Conservancy, a 501c(3) nonprofit organization established in 1972 to protect and restore Catalina Island for present and future generations to experience and enjoy. One of California’s oldest private land trusts, the Conservancy protects the magnificent natural and cultural heritage of Santa Catalina Island, stewarding approximately 42,000 acres of land and 62 miles of rugged shoreline. Twenty miles from the mainland, Catalina Island is home to more than 60 plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. The Conservancy operates the Airport in the Sky, Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden, two nature centers and campgrounds. It provides 50 miles of biking and nearly 150 miles of hiking opportunities within its road and trail system. For more information, please visit

Now, building on the good work of these past decades, the Conservancy is embarking on exciting new initiatives that further expand public access and improve the Island’s ecological health, as you will see in this issue of Conservancy Times. The cover story, Trekking Catalina, describes how hiking is the best way to explore the essence of Catalina’s wild side. Even though almost 1 million people visit Catalina Island every year, hikers can find solitude along the more than 150 miles of hiking opportunities on the Island. More hiking opportunities are on the way with a generous grant supported by Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe. With these funds, the Conservancy is planning to expand and enhance the trail system so that Catalina visitors and residents will be able to enjoy a world-class hiking experience. While the Conservancy has made huge strides in fulfilling its mission of protecting and restoring the Island, conservation in a lived landscape, like Catalina, is never finished. The Conservancy is just beginning to document many of the lesserknown species on the Island. An example of this is a new initiative to identify, assess and protect

MEMBERS Anthony F. Michaels, PhD Maria Pellegrini, PhD Alison Wrigley Rusack BOARD OF DIRECTORS John P. Cotton, Chair Stephen Chazen, PhD, Vice Chair Victoria Seaver Dean, Past Chair Ann M. Muscat, PhD, President & CEO Robert Breech Gordon T. Frost, Jr. Blanny Hagenah William J. Hagenah Henry Hilty Kellie Johnson Roger Lang Geoffrey Claflin Rusack

EMERITUS Rose Ellen Gardner EXECUTIVE TEAM Ann M. Muscat, PhD President & CEO Tony Budrovich Chief Operating Officer Larry L. Lloyd Chief Finance & Business Development Officer John J. Mack Chief Conservation & Education Officer Bob Reid Chief Development & Communications Officer Lisa Moss Director, Human Resources

the bats that live on the Island. This initiative will help ensure the survival of the eight species of bats known to live on Catalina and determine if other bat species also call the Island home. This issue of Conservancy Times also describes a place many Catalina visitors consider to be their second home—the Island’s West End. The most remote part of Catalina, the West End’s coastline is a favorite getaway for boaters, hikers and campers who revel in the rugged terrain, picturesque coves and pristine waters. Generations of families have spent their vacations hiking, picnicking and enjoying the sunrises and sunsets from the West End. Now readers can see for themselves why many of these visitors believe the West End is the “best end.” While others may prefer the East End, protection of all of Catalina’s wildlands would not be possible without your support. This issue of the magazine shares the stories of a few of the dedicated volunteers and donors who have given so generously of their time and resources to protect this Island we all love. It also includes an invitation to join other Conservancy supporters and art lovers at the upcoming Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show & Sale on October 25 in Newport Beach. In addition, please save the date for the 21st Annual Conservancy Ball on April 9, 2016, in the historic Avalon Casino Ballroom. Thank you for your support. As always we look forward to hearing from you.

Ann M. Muscat, PhD President & CEO

CONTACT US P.O. Box 2739 Avalon, CA 90704 310-510-2595 330 Golden Shore, Suite 170 Long Beach, CA 90802 562-437-8555

Conservancy Times is printed on Pacesetter coated paper, which is Forest Stewardship Council Certified, made from 10% post-consumer waste, and Elemental Chlorine Free. Printed using soy-based inks.

EDITORS Bob Reid Matt McClain Laura Mecoy GRAPHIC DESIGN Robin Weisz Design



Trekking Catalina Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the Island’s wild side.



Garden to Sky Hike The Island’s most popular hike features a breathtaking 360-degree view and glimpses of Catalina’s native plants and geological history. PA G E


The West End Its fans say the West End is the “best end.” While others may prefer the East End, there’s no doubt that the most remote part of the Island is a very special place.




Protecting Catalina’s Bats

BECOME A CONSERVANCY MEMBER Not a member of the Catalina Island Conservancy? Don’t miss out on the opportunities and adventure. Join today! Help protect this great natural resource. Go to: or call 562-437-8555 ext. 224



AmeriCorps Volunteers Find Common Purpose on Catalina



Preparations Underway for 21st Annual Conservancy Ball



Helen Rich: Author, Animal Lover and Passionate Supporter



Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show & Sale



Celebrating the Life of Paxson “Packy” Offield Meet new Board Member and new Chief Operating Officer

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Donor Honor Roll


Conservancy Calendar 21


On the cover: Hiking on Catalina by Jack Baldelli

Trekking E X P L O R I N G

Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the essence of Catalina’s wild side. The Catalina Island Conservancy offers nearly 150 miles of hiking opportunities within its road and trail system. 2




Love at First Hike For Drew Robinson, it was love at first hike. He first hiked Catalina in 1999, during an eighth-grade class trip. Sixteen years later, the San Gabriel Valley sales analyst still loves trekking the Island’s many trails. “Catalina Island is a one-of-a-kind place to enjoy the outdoors,” Robinson said. “I love that I can catch the ferry after work on a Friday, and on Saturday morning I’m hiking in paradise. Where else can you walk among bison and Island foxes as seabirds soar overhead?” Catalina is the most accessible of the Channel Islands with almost 1 million visitors annually. While many visit the wild side, hikers often report never seeing anyone else while trekking along trails that range from a half mile to 37.2 miles for the Trans-Catalina Trail, which stretches from one end of the Island to the other. Some trails can be tackled in sneakers, while others require hiking boots and poles. Trail elevations vary from gentle slopes to challenging hillsides.

Conservancy Sponsors Hikes The Conservancy also offers organized hikes during the year. These include transportation to and from the hike, meals and refreshments. Lisa Gelker, a CATALINA ISLAND CONSERVANCY

“I have hiked almost everywhere on the Island, and every time is different because of the changes in the weather, the vegetation and the wildlife.” Lisa Gelker, Conservancy member

Conservancy member from Long Beach, has participated in three of the Conservancy’s BZ Jones Hikes and said she enjoyed spending the time with others who love the Island and hiking. “I have hiked almost everywhere on the Island, and every time is different because of the changes in the weather, the vegetation and the wildlife,” she said. Boaters often come ashore for hiking as well. Cheryl Roberts and her husband, Ron, have visited many West Coast ports and coves in their boat and enjoyed hikes at each of them. But they said Catalina is the best hiking spot. “The big thing is that it’s comfortable to walk any time of day on Catalina,” Cheryl Roberts said. “You can walk both sides of Cat Harbor, and there’s usually a breeze.”

Conservancy Transformed Trail System Gary Maeder, a Los Angeles tax attorney and lifelong Catalina vacationer, has been hiking on the Island since the 1950s and completed a one-day, 35-mile, end-to-end hike in 2012 in honor of CONSERVANCY TIMES

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his late brother, Dale. He said the Conservancy has vastly improved the trail system since its formation in 1972. “There is so much more we can see and do now than we could in the 1960s,” he said. For hikers who want to see more of the Island, the Conservancy’s Wildlands Express vans provide transportation to the Airport in the Sky or other spots on the Island, where they can start their treks. Or they can set out on foot from Two Harbors and Avalo—like retired Rosemead college professor Todd Kunioka did—and leave civilization behind. “Catalina is a great place to get a feel for what Southern California might have looked like in the days before it became the California of today,” Kunioka said. “It’s easy to look down on beaches and rocky outcroppings on the Island’s shore and see nobody. For Southern California, that’s a little unusual, and that’s what I thought was great about hiking on Santa Catalina.”





Kevin Ryan, Conservancy Trails Supervisor What is a typical day for a trails supervisor?

There is no typical day, but that’s what I like about my job. There are many tasks and duties involved in the trail program that can take me from one end of the Island to another. I could be building or maintaining trails, making signs or building or repairing shade structures. Sometimes I even help out with events, such as the Catalina Island Eco Marathon. My work day just depends on what needs to be done. Is there any part of the Island that you haven’t explored?


he land under the Catalina Island Conservancy’s stewardship is vast: It covers 42,000 acres and constitutes 88% of the Island. Perhaps no one knows this terrain better than Kevin Ryan. For eight years, Ryan has worked as the Conservancy’s trails supervisor. In the heat of summer and the cool of winter, Ryan and his team spend countless hours enhancing, restoring and expanding Catalina’s trail system. There’s not much that happens on the Island’s wild side that Ryan hasn’t seen or experienced. Ryan recently shared some of his knowledge.

I have not explored south and west of Silver Peak road on the West End. If you’ve seen it, you know why. The terrain is very steep, and it has a lot of cacti. What is your favorite trail on the Island?

When the wildflowers are blooming and the creek is running, you can’t beat Ben Weston Canyon trail. What is the wildest thing you’ve seen while on the trail?

A 1,500-pound bull bison that I stumbled upon on the trail. He was about 10 feet away. He jumped up out of his bed and snorted, and my heart just about stopped! It turns out he was just as surprised as I

was, and I backed up and double-timed it out of there. I ended up taking the long way around that section of trail. What is the Island’s most challenging trail?

I’d say going down Fence Line Road on the West End. It’s a steep, long, 1,728-foot descent. Where can you find the most wildlife?

There are frequently herds of bison around the Airport Loop trail. Ben Weston Canyon trail and its riparian corridor are rich with life, including tree frogs, salamanders, foxes, butterflies, cicadas and song birds. Where are the best views on the Island?

On the Trans-Catalina Trail, I like the section from mile 22 to mile 24, which is between Little Harbor and Two Harbors. On one of those crystal clear days after a rain, you can see the Northern Channel Islands. Are there any hidden or secret gems?

There is a covered picnic table along the Trans-Catalina Trail near mile post 23.5 that is the perfect place for a sunset.

Supervisor Don Knabe A CATALINA CHAMPION

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe has hiked on Catalina and recently helped the Catalina Island Conservancy secure a $1.5 million grant from Proposition A funds through the LA County Open Space District, of which the Conservancy is a part, to enhance the trail system. The Board of Supervisors approved the funding, and planning is underway for a major trail system expansion. Throughout his two decades of service on the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Knabe and his staff have been champions and great friends to the Conservancy and Catalina. The supervisor has attended several Conservancy events. He and his staff helped with funding for habitat restoration after the 2007 Catalina fire and supported projects to increase access to the Island’s wild side. They also helped meet many of the needs of the City of Avalon and its residents. Supervisor Knabe will be retiring at the end of his term in 2016. “All of us who love Catalina owe a debt of gratitude to Supervisor Knabe,” said Ann M. Muscat, PhD, Conservancy president and CEO. “He and his staff have always been there to support and help the Conservancy, and we greatly appreciate his commitment to providing these hiking and educational opportunities to all who visit Catalina and live here.” 4

Supervisor Don Knabe and his wife, Julie


To Save Money and Enjoy Special Hiking Opportunities, Become a Catalina Island Conservancy Member  Get 50% off camping fees at Blackjack Campground, Little Harbor and Parson’s Landing.  Enjoy discounts on transportation to the wild side on the Wildlands Express.  Receive discounts for hiking accessories, maps and more at the Conservancy’s Explore Store.  Enter the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden for free to start hikes from there.  Learn about the Conservancy’s organized hikes, featuring food, transportation and fun!  Know you are helping to maintain the trail system and protect Catalina Island.

To become a member, please visit: Or please call: 562-437-8555 ext. 224

Catalina Hik ing Tips BE PREPA



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W-IMPACT Pack out HIKING all food a nd waste inches of , includin soil and 5 g toilet p 0 feet aw aper. Bury ay from st human w ream cha aste unde nnels, we LEAVE WIL r six tlands or DLIFE AND open wate Keep a sa r. PLANTS A fe distance LONE from biso taking pla n, nt materi al and rock foxes and rattlesn oak (Toxic akes. Fee s are strict odendron ding wild ly prohibit diversilob life and ed. Be cau um) and p tious of p rickly pea oison r (Opunti STAY ON a) cactus. T H E T R A IL Cutting co rners and striking o can cause ut on untr erosion, h ammeled abitat da terrain mage and harm to h ikers. GET A PER MIT It’s free a nd requir ed to ensu the Conse re hikers’ rvancy wil safety. In l know ho approxim case of an w ately whe emergency re they are many hikers are in and may , the wildla . Conserv check for ancy rang nds and permits. A ers patrol ll dogs m the Island ust be on leashes. Permits m ay be obta ined on th CatalinaC e website onservan ,, an Conserva d on the ncy House Island at , Avalon N the Sky a the ature Cen nd Two H ter, Airpo arbors Vis reservatio rt in itor Cente ns, please r. For cam call: 877-7 available ping 78-1487. for purch Hiking m ase at the other Isla aps are Conserva nd locatio ncy House ns. and
















Catalina’s Ten Most Popular Hikes 1. Garden to Sky: 2.4 miles

Trailhead in Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden.

2. Garden to Sky Loop: 5 miles

Longer version of Garden to Sky Hike that includes Memorial Road, Divide Road and the Hermit Gulch Trail.

3. Wrigley Memorial to Renton Mine: 6.6 miles

Trailhead at Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden.

4. Airport Loop Trail: 2.3 miles

Trailhead at Airport in the Sky. Wildlands Express provides transportation to the airport. Call 310-510-0143 to reserve a seat. CONSERVANCY MEMBERS GET A 10% DISCOUNT!

5. Harbor to Harbor Hike: 5 miles

Trailhead at Two Harbors or Little Harbor. Safari bus provides transportation to both trailheads. Call 310-510-4205 to reserve a seat.

6. Trans-Catalina Trail: 37.2 miles

Trailhead at Renton Mine Road on the East End or Starlight Beach on the West End. Takes 3–5 days to hike.

7. Garden to Sky Loop Hike with Lone Tree Spur: 7 miles Trailhead at Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. 8. Cottonwood Canyon Trail: 5.5 miles

Trailhead at Black Jack Campground.

9. Avalon to Summit Hike: 8 miles Trailhead at Hogsback Gate outside Avalon. 10. Renton Mine to Summit Hike: 11.2 miles Trailhead above Pebbly Beach on Renton Mine Road. 6 Catalina Island Conservancy © 2014




Airport Loop Trail LOOP TRAIL






Outdoor Shower




1,602 FT ELEV









Potable Water















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Enter in the Garden and take Memorial Road to Divide Road. Make it a loop: Hike down Hermit Gulch Trail.


Garden to Sky Hike and Loop Trail




he Garden to Sky hike is the most popular and accessible of Catalina Island’s many trails. The trailhead is to the right of the Wrigley Memorial in the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden at the very top of Avalon Canyon. It’s a moderate hike of just 1.2 miles (2.4 miles round trip) to a ridgeline that rewards trekkers with a breathtaking 360-degree view of Avalon, the Pacific Ocean and San Clemente Island. Along the way, hikers will see Catalina’s plant life and the history of the Island’s formation.

Passing through the gate on the right side of the Wrigley Memorial, hikers can easily access this wide trail and admire the riparian ecosystem on the right. But don’t get too close. Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is mixed in with the other plants. Following the basic rule of “leaves of three, let it be” will protect against an itchy aftermath.

Poison Oak

About 100 yards along the trail, hikers will see Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) trees with their fruit that can be made into wine and the Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), which grows into a tree on the Island but is only a shrub on the mainland. Please don’t pick the fruit!


After the first switchback, the trail becomes steeper but rewards hikers with sweeping views of the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden and the City of Avalon.


At the top, hikers are rewarded with views of Avalon and the Island’s ocean side. On a clear day, they can see from the San Gabriel Mountains on the east to San Clemente Island on the west. A great photo spot — Instagram your hike @Catalina_Conservancy.

At about the two-thirds mark on the trail, a rocky hillside displays the geologic history of Catalina’s East End. This portion of the Island was formed by a large magmatic mass, called a pluton, which intruded upwards into the Catalina schist and solidified. To the right, the vertical lines in the rocky hillside show a dike swarm, which is magma that shot up later through gaps in the solidified pluton. Notice the variety of color in the rock.

Climbing further, a vivid example of a microclimate on the hills is on the left of the trail. The north-facing slopes get less sun, so there is less evaporation, leading to thicker and greener vegetation than the southfacing slopes.

After the fourth turn in the trail, a large Island scrub oak (Quercus pacifica) demonstrates the impact of deer feeding on Catalina’s native plants. On the mainland, the oak is more bush-like. On Catalina, it struggles to survive, and it grows taller because the deer browse on the lower branches. Sticky Monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus) CONSERVANCY TIMES

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Around the second turn, hikers can see the war of invasive plants vs. native plants. The large shrublike flax-leaved broom (Genista) is crowding out native Sticky Monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus). Invasive grasses also line the trail, allowing little space for the native Nassella cernua grass, pictured above. The Conservancy’s habitat restoration invasive plant removal program is seeking to eliminate invasive plants, like this, to allow native plants to flourish.

“Visiting the West End is an experience like none other in my life.” Diane Rutherford Wilkinson, boater and long-time Conservancy supporter.

Catalina’s West End THE


For many of the boaters, hikers and campers who spend their summer vacations on the most remote parts of Catalina Island, the West End is the “best end.” Others may prefer the East End. But there’s no denying the West End is a very special place. Its fans describe idyllic days spent hiking the remote trails, camping at Parsons Landing and watching incredible sunrises from its shores.


Catchfly (Silene gallica)

“Visiting the West End is an experience like none other in my life,” said Diane Rutherford Wilkinson. She first came to the West End with her parents and three siblings in the 1950s. Today, the Fullerton retiree spends two months every summer on her boat in Cherry Cove, one of the West End’s many beautiful spots. “It’s simply exquisite to leave behind the metropolis, where there’s gridlock on the freeways, and just sit there in a kayak bobbing on the water,” she said. Her sister, Janice Rutherford Hinds of San Diego, brings her sailboat to Cherry Cove as well. The family often comes ashore to hike and occasionally camps on the West End, where they enjoy frequent Catalina Island fox sightings. “You can’t leave cell phones or car keys out because the foxes will take them,” she said. “The foxes are so cool!”

ALMOST LIKE ANOTHER ISLAND The West End is almost like another island. It is separated from the rest of Catalina by a narrow isthmus less than 60 feet above sea level at its highest point. It’s a long drive from Avalon. So its most frequent visitors are the boaters who anchor in its coves, hikers who depart from CONSERVANCY TIMES

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Two Harbors or take the Trans-Catalina Trail from Avalon and young people from Camp Emerald Bay, the Boy Scout camp located on the West End, or other camp facilities. Many West End fans first discovered this part of the wildlands in their youth during a summer or spring break sleepaway camp. Hikes from Two Harbors and Emerald Bay introduced them to the wide variety of flora and fauna found on the West End. The West End is home to extensive oak (Quercus pacifica) woodlands, Catalina ironwood (Lyonothamnus floribundus) groves, exceptional stands of California lilacs (Ceanothus) and many other forms of luxuriant chaparral vegetation. These and a wide variety of other native plants are flourishing because of the Conservancy’s efforts to remove invasive and non-native species from the West End.

“You can tell the vegetation is coming back,” he said. “The swimming and snorkeling are the best on the Island because of the clarity of the water.” He and his wife, Judy, raised their children with vacations and weekends spent on the West End. Now, he said, they’re introducing the next generation, their 2-year-old granddaughter, to this “magical” place. “We have so many really special and great memories of the West End,” he said. “We’re looking forward to making many more.”



A “MAGICAL” PLACE PROTECTED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS Don Cole, who’s been visiting the West End since he bought his first boat in 1975, said he’s witnessed the improvement in the landscape as a result of the Conservancy’s removal of invasive species.


N AT U R E ’ S N O T E B O O K

Bat Protection RENEWING MONITORING AND INSTALLING PROTECTIVE GATES Fairy tales and myths have portrayed bats as symbols of evil, ingredients to be stirred into witches’ brews and the sources of children’s nightmares. In reality, these flying mammals are essential to the ecosystem on Catalina and around the world. They consume insects, pollinate flowers and disperse fruit and plant seeds. Unfortunately, many bat species are in decline because of loss or fragmentation of their habitats; reduced food supplies; destruction of their roosts; the direct killing of individuals, and diseases, such as white nose syndrome, which has destroyed entire colonies of bats on the East Coast.

Many Bats Call Catalina Home Of the 13 species of native land mammals documented on Catalina Island, eight (62%) are bats. The power of flight has preadapted bats for island colonization. But very specific roosting and foraging habitat must exist for bat species to thrive. Catalina Island’s diverse landscape provides bats with abundant natural habitat, including natural caves and rock crevices, trees and water. Bats utilize human structures as well and, in many cases, these human structures can support large colonies. Among the eight species of bats documented on Catalina Island, one has been listed as a California Species of Special Concern (the Pallid bat) and another (the Townsend’s big-eared bat) is a candidate for state listing as an endangered species. Four other bat species of Special Concern occur in nearby areas and are believed to utilize Catalina but have not yet been documented on the Island.


Grant Helps Conservancy Detect and Protect Bat Species Very few studies have been conducted on Catalina’s bats, and very little is known about the abundance and distribution of these fascinating creatures. Through the support of the Donald Slavik Foundation, the Conservancy is now equipped with state-of-the-art acoustic monitoring equipment that will allow biologists to detect and identify additional bat species and assess their overall distribution and habitat.


This funding has also been used to install bat-friendly gates at the entrances of three abandoned mines in which Townsend’s big-eared bats have been documented or are expected to occur once human disturbances are eliminated. “Townsend’s big-eared bats are extremely sensitive to human disturbance,” said Calvin Duncan, Conservancy wildlife biologist. “Even a single disturbance of a maternity roost can cause abandonment of that roost.”

Conservancy staff installed bat-friendly gates on three abandoned mines.

Gates Protect Bats and the Public The bat gates are specifically designed to allow bats to enter and exit the mines freely while restricting access to humans. Their heavy steel construction will withstand vandalism and ensure that the gates survive for generations to come. Because abandoned mines are prone to collapse, the gates also will protect Island residents and visitors who might otherwise expose themselves to danger by exploring the abandoned mines. “Island ecosystems often pose unique challenges for conservation because island species can be more sensitive to changes than their mainland counterparts,” Duncan said. “Managed correctly, islands can also serve as refuges for species when habitat loss and other threats common on the mainland are not adequately controlled. We believe this is the case with our Island bats.”



AmeriCorps Volunteers F I N D I N G C O M M O N P U R P O S E O N C ATA L I N A


hey came from cities, towns and rural areas ranging from North Carolina to California. A few had graduated college. One had just completed high school, and others were midway in their higher education journey. While their backgrounds varied widely, the eight young adults from AmeriCorps found a common purpose during eight weeks of volunteering for the Catalina Island Conservancy earlier this year.

Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

John Aker, 22, said the Conservancy “did a good job” of showing the volunteers how important their work would be in protecting and restoring the Island environment.

The AmeriCorps volunteers helped with the set-up and clean-up for the 20th Annual Conservancy Ball and were thrilled to get the opportunity to participate in the event. They joined U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (center) of Long Beach at the ball. From left, the AmeriCorps volunteers are Tayla Sexton, Chalynn Passmore, Sara Pittman, Caci Dunnahoo, Dawson Bentzel, Remy Windom, John Akers and Tanisha Williams.

Contributing to the Island’s Ecosystem The Conservancy provided Naturalist Training, a kayaking trip and other educational opportunities so the group could understand how its work contributed to the Island’s ecosystem. “It’s been a really amazing experience,” said John Akers, 22, the project outreach liaison from Newton, MA. “The Conservancy has really treated us well.” He and the other AmeriCorps volunteers cleared brush, maintained trails, removed invasive plants and helped with Conservancy events. “I have learned a lot about myself by encountering so many different people and learning their stories,” said Tanisha Williams, 23, from Ellenwood, CA. “Volunteering like this gives you a chance to learn how to get along with people from different backgrounds—who you would never encounter otherwise—and how to work through problems to reach common ground.”

Tanisha Williams, 23, said AmeriCorps gives her the opportunity to learn how to work with people from a diversity of backgrounds and experiences.


“It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help protect the environment on the Island,” said Chalynn Passmore, 27, the team leader from Anderson, CA. “The biodiversity that is coming back on the Island is just one-of-a-kind. We saw things most people never get to see, and we had the opportunity to help preserve and develop that biodiversity in the land.” AmeriCorps is a national volunteer program that has been sending volunteers to Catalina for 14 years. Those volunteers have donated more than 50,000 hours of labor to the Conservancy, plus additional hours to the Island community. “Among the many groups that volunteer with the Conservancy, AmeriCorps volunteers stand out because they serve longer than most—usually six to eight weeks at a time,” said Cindy Lazaris, Conservancy manager of guest and volunteer services.

Would you like to volunteer? Individuals, organizations and groups can give back while having fun and experiencing the beauty of Catalina. Volunteer experiences can range from one day to several days and can be tailored to the group’s abilities, age and skill level. Please contact: Lesly Lieberman, Volunteer Coordinator 310-510-2595 ext. 109 Or visit the “Volunteer” page on our website, 13


Save The Date 2016 Annual Conservancy Ball Set for April 9


ave the date of April 9, 2016 for the 21st Annual Catalina Island Conservancy Ball. You won’t want to miss one of the biggest events of the year on Catalina Island. A Conservancy Ball Host Committee comprised of many yacht clubs and supporters is already busy planning a very special night at the historic Avalon Casino Ballroom. “For more than two decades, the Conservancy Ball has been a very special evening for all who love Catalina Island,” said Bob Reid, Conservancy chief development and communications officer. “We thank our many supporters on the Conservancy Ball Host Committee for their help in planning next year’s event.” Over its 20-year history, the annual Conservancy Ball has raised more than $5.3 million for conservation, education and recreation programs. Help make the 2016 Ball another great success with sponsorships and items for the live and silent auctions. For more information, please visit or call 562-437-8555 ext. 239. To ensure you receive a formal invitation to the ball, please send your mailing address to



2015 Conservancy Ball A Roaring Success!


More than 400 guests joined the Catalina Island Conservancy in celebrating the 20th Annual Conservancy Ball on April 11 in a ballroom bedecked in emerald green in honor of the evening’s theme: “Leapin’ Lizards! An Emerald Celebration.” A spirited live auction generated substantial support, couples twirled across the Avalon Casino’s renowned dance floor to the big band sounds of Society Beat, and the crowd was treated to a surprise performance of 1920s-era dancers. It was the “bee’s knees!” Corsair Yacht Club, which hosted the first Conservancy Ball and also the 10th Annual Conservancy Ball, was once again the co-host for the 20th Annual Conservancy Ball. “We thank our outstanding generous sponsors, the Corsair Yacht Club and the many supporters who joined us for the 20th Annual Conservancy Ball,” said Ann M. Muscat, PhD, Conservancy president and CEO. “Their contributions help ensure the Conservancy will continue to protect this beautiful Island and enhance its educational and recreational opportunities.” 15


Helen Rich A Lifelong Passion for Catalina Island


elen Rich’s favorite memory of Catalina Island dates back to the age of 3, when she rode horses with her mother across the wild side to reach a friend’s farm where she could play with the chickens. She remembers the vegetation was so thick in spots that her mother had to use a machete to clear a path for their horses. A grandmother herself now, Rich cherishes that memory and the fact that Catalina’s wild side still looks much as it did when she was a child. “To me, the wild side is the quintessential California,” she said. “It takes me right back to the past—to California when it was first being settled. That sense of history permeates the very atmosphere.” Rich is a native of Chicago who grew up spending her vacations in Avalon or at El Rancho Escondido, the ranch her grandparents, Helen and Philip K. Wrigley, owned at the time. She rode horses bareback and enjoyed childhood adventures with her extended family. Her cousin, Blanny Hagenah, and she were the “real adventure kids” known for their pranks and mischievousness, ranging from short-sheeting their brothers’ beds to sneaking out of their grandparents’ house for late night horse rides. “We were almost always in trouble, and it usually involved a horse,” said Rich.

Generous Supporter of the Conservancy Today, Rich has a home on Catalina she visits often and her passion for the Island continues. She is a generous supporter of the Catalina Island Conservancy and praised it for the work it has done to restore and protect the Island—the mission her grandparents and Mrs. Dorothy Wrigley Offield established for the organization when they created the Conservancy in 1972. “It is what my grandfather and grandmother would have wanted,” Rich said. “It’s why they did the things they did and something I believe in deeply.” Rich has a special interest in the Conservancy’s Catalina Island Fox 16

Recovery Program because she is an animal lover with an affinity for canids, including foxes. She has helped raise thousands of dollars for the program by providing the funding for the Catalina Island Fox fundraising challenge at the Conservancy Ball. These donations have helped the program achieve one of the fastest recoveries ever of a federally endangered species, and Rich said she’s “ecstatic” about the recovery program’s success. “I was always the one who brought home the bird with the broken wing and asked my mom for a stick to fix it and the baby squirrels that fell out of the tree and asked for a box to keep them safe,” she said, with a warm laugh.

Rescuing Animals, Mentoring Youth Rich has founded animal rescue organizations and personally rescued countless dogs, cats, horses, pigs, birds, tortoises and many other animals from shelters and owners who no longer wanted them. She has more than 350 animals on her 130-acre Florida farm, and she’s an

accomplished horsewoman who shows Saddlebred horses. Rich is also a businesswoman and author. She founded a media group, Medallion Media Group, and serves as its CEO. She’s written nine books under the name of Helen A. Rosburg, and she’s working on a cookbook for singles. She’s a mother of three children and grandmother to four. In addition to these many roles and activities, Rich is a philanthropist who gives generously of both her time and resources to help others. One of the many examples of her generosity is her mentorship of at-risk youth in the Triple Threat Mentoring program. She regularly brings the teens to her Florida home to experience farm life. “I am Momma Helen to 40 to 50 kids,” she said. “I cook for them. I go in their homes, and I love them and support them. They are my extended family.” From mentoring to supporting the Conservancy, Helen Rich is living a very full life and fulfilling her personal mission statement of “always being kind and helpful.” CATALINA ISLAND CONSERVANCY



DATE: Sunday, October 25, 2015 TIME: 1:30–4:00 p.m. PLACE: Newport Harbor Yacht Club 720 West Bay Avenue Newport Beach, CA 92661 TICKETS:  Priority Admission (Doors Open at 1:30 p.m.) Conservancy Member: $150 Non-Conservancy Member: $175 General Admission (Doors Open at 2:30 p.m.) Conservancy Member: $40 Non-Conservancy Member: $50 Day-Of: $75 Purchase tickets online at or 562-437-8555 ext. 239


eautiful Island landscapes and secluded coves and beaches will be among the many examples of Catalina’s conservation captured in the works of eight plein air painters participating in the Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show & Sale on October 25 at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Sponsored by the Catalina Island Conservancy, the fifth annual show and sale will feature new works of art by nationally recognized plein air painters: John Cosby, Andy Evansen, Kim Lordier, Joe Paquet, Jesse Powell, Ron Rencher, Brian Stewart and Matt Smith. The artists have traveled to Catalina to complete rare and beautiful portraits of the Island in the plein air style, which is painting nature while being in nature. CONSERVANCY TIMES

FALL 2015

In a unique use of art for conservation’s sake, Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show & Sale features only works depicting Catalina Island—from Avalon to Two Harbors, with a special focus on the lands stewarded by the Catalina Island Conservancy—the wild side. This year, the Conservancy is offering Priority Admission for the show. Priority Admission provides ticket-holders the opportunity to view paintings one hour before the show opens to the public and make purchases in advance of the public. These tickets are limited and must be purchased in advance. Proceeds from the event are used, in part, to grow and maintain the Conservancy’s permanent collection of plein air work

that documents the progress in the Island’s habitat restoration. A rotating display of the paintings acquired in previous shows can be seen at the Conservancy’s Nature Center in Avalon. “We appreciate the artists’ contributions to showcasing the Island’s restoration in their work and their support for the Conservancy,” said Bob Reid, Conservancy chief development and communications officer. “For those who love art and the Island, this is a unique opportunity to see Catalina through the eyes of some of the country’s best plein air artists. Meet the artists and add to your collection.”






Paxson “Packy” Offield


he Catalina Island Conservancy, Catalina Island and the global conservation movement lost one of their staunchest supporters when Paxson “Packy” Offield passed away earlier this year. He had a passion and commitment to conservation, a genuine love for the Island and was very much involved in shaping the future of Catalina and the Conservancy. Offield was the Conservancy’s founding chairman of the board and continued to support and guide the organization throughout its history. As a philanthropist, both his and his family’s generous contributions supported several pivotal conservation initiatives that significantly improved the ecological health of Catalina Island, including invasive species management and endangered species recovery. His support made possible so many of the Conservancy’s successful conservation programs and ongoing efforts, including its innovative bison contraception program. His donations also helped the Conservancy’s biologists monitor the Island fox and bat populations, study Mule deer impacts and management and much more. Offield understood the importance of funding critical infrastructure projects that protected the environment and gave the Conservancy’s staff the tools it needs to be effective stewards of the Island. The list of projects his donations and leadership made possible is lengthy and includes funding for storm recovery and road work; the Middle Ranch water tank replacement; the removal of legacy landfills in Middle Canyon; and improvements to the Conservation and Facilities Department offices, the Ackerman Native Plant Nursery, the bunkhouse for students and researchers and the Middle Ranch Vet Clinic. “Packy was a true friend of the earth and a dear friend of our board, staff and volunteers,” said John Cotton, chair of the Conservancy Board of Directors. “All of us


at the Conservancy were greatly honored and blessed to have him in our life.” Offield spent much of his childhood on the Island before graduating from the University of Denver in 1975 and returning to teach at the Catalina Island School. He then joined the Santa Catalina Island Company in 1976, where he was the fourth generation of his family to serve the corporation. He had been board chairman, president and CEO and had served as a board member from 1980 until his death. He was a dedicated conservationist. Offield served as director and chairman of The Billfish Foundation; a board member and former chairman of The Peregrine Fund; chairman of the Catalina Sea Bass Fund; past president and board member of the Silver Creek Fishing Club in Northern Michigan; director and chairman of the Board of the International Game Fish Association; director of USC’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies, and director of the Little Traverse Conservancy. At the time of his death, he also was president of the Offield Family Foundation, which funds environmental work around the world. While never one to seek attention, Offield’s stewardship efforts earned him

countless awards over the years. He was presented the Commendador Award by Panama’s president in 2006 for the Peregrine Fund’s work to reintroduce the harpy eagle and the San Diego Zoological Society’s Conservation Medal for his work on satellite tagging marlin in 2006. He was inducted into the International Game Fish Association’s Hall of Fame in 2011, received the Rybovich Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with the Billfish Foundation in 2011 and twice earned the distinguished honor of Tuna Club “Angler of the Year.” He was also presented the McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital Foundation’s Jack Clark Philanthropy and Service Award in 2014. On Catalina, he was the president of the Tuna Club Foundation and had served as chairman of the Avalon Planning Commission and as president of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce. Offield is survived by his wife, Susan; his children, Chase (Jena), Calen (Amber) and Kelsey; his stepson, Rex; three grandchildren (Christian, Owen and Capri), and his brother, James Offield.

“Packy was a true friend of the earth and a dear friend of our board, staff and volunteers. All of us at the Conservancy were greatly honored and blessed to have him in our life.” John Cotton Conservancy Board of Directors chair


New Chief Operating Officer Brings Decades of Experience to the Conservancy

William J. Hagenah Joins the Conservancy’s Board


hen he was a child, William J. Hagenah joined the other youngsters who dived in Avalon Bay for the coins passengers tossed from the S.S. Catalina, the steamship that provided ferry service until 1975. Today, the retired banker is bringing a treasure trove of financial and management experience to the Catalina Island Conservancy as the newest member of its Board of Directors. A native of Chicago, Hagenah spent his entire career at the First National Bank of Chicago and its corporate successor, Bank One, which is now part of JP Morgan Chase. He managed some of the bank’s most important divisions and departments before retiring in 2002. Since then, Hagenah has served as a board member and financial advisor, providing vision and direction to help businesses through critical stages of growth and transformation. He’s also dedicated himself to philanthropy, serving as a trustee for Rush University Medical Center since 2004 and a member of the Chicago Botanic Garden Board of Directors since 1988. He held several leadership positions at both institutions, including chairman of the garden’s board and chair of its finance committee. In addition, Hagenah has served on boards of directors or advisory boards for the Kellogg Graduate School of Management/Northwestern University, Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Mather Foundation. He has been visiting Catalina Island since the 1940s and attended part of first grade at the Avalon School. He and his wife, Tricia, live in Kenilworth, Illinois. They have four daughters and 13 grandchildren.


FALL 2015

“I’m thrilled to join the Conservancy in its important work to protect and restore Catalina.” Will Hagenah, new Conservancy Board member

William J. Hagenah and his wife, Tricia


ony Budrovich, the Catalina Island Conservancy’s new chief operating officer, has more than three decades of experience working with nonprofit organizations and public venues that educate and inform the public. Budrovich joined the Conservancy in May, after spending 18 years as deputy director of the California Science Center and senior vice president of the California Science Center Foundation. The job prepared him well for the Conservancy: He was responsible for 350 staff, 150 volunteers and all operations. Among Budrovich’s many accomplishments, he led the construction project for the new building that houses the Science Center’s most popular exhibit, the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Budrovich first developed his skills in public educational venues through his leadership positions at Sea World Inc. and Marineland of the Pacific, a popular attraction on the Palos Verdes peninsula that closed its doors in 1987. He’s also worked with numerous other companies as a consultant focused on improving management and guest experiences. A Southern California native, Budrovich grew up on the coast and viewed Catalina Island as an escape from the “big city.” He’s now escaped the big city by moving from Torrance to Middle Ranch on Catalina Island with his wife, Noelle. He works in the Conservancy’s office in Avalon most days. “I love the Conservancy’s focus on conservation, education and recreation,” he said. “Working with the Conservancy’s fine staff and its dedicated volunteers, I am confident we can grow the organization and remain true to its mission of protecting and restoring the Island for future generations to enjoy.” 19

HONOR ROLL OF DONORS Gifts listed in order of amount. Listing includes annual support exclusive of auction items donated to or purchased at the Conservancy Ball and Catalina: The Wild Side art purchases.

$100,000 and Above The Annenberg Foundation

The Elliott Family Foundation Fund City National Bank

January 1, 2015 through June 30, 2015

Brigante, Cameron, Watters & Strong, LLP

Mutual of America

$1,000 – $2,499

Gary and Sandi Hill

Phillip and Daisy Hartz

Jim and Meryle Mitchell

Las Caballeras

Gary and Eileen Fowler

Balboa Yacht Club

Jeanne Beesley and Andrew Tao

Scott and Tammie Stuart

$25,000 – $99,999

Jim and Sally McClure

Steve and Pat Chazen

Doug and Judy Levi

Offield Family Foundation

Laura and Carlton Seaver

Gary and Kellie Johnson

Nelson and Mimi Jones

Harold McAlister Charitable Foundation

Spectrum Sports Management, Inc.

Brian and Suzi Burke

The Original Farmers Market Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Douglas West and Irene Ziebarth

San Diego Yacht Club

Connolly-Pacific Co.


$10,000 – $24,999

Avalon Environmental Services

Eugene Stern

Edison International

The Capital Group Companies

US Bank

Charlie and Ellen Steinmetz

Employees Community Fund of Boeing California

Jim and Vicki Warmington

Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, LLP

Drew and Jane Lanza

Redman Properties

Mack and CeCe Fowler

T.C. Collins & Associates, Inc.

Dawn Polito and Thomas Hartman

Donald Slavik Family Foundation

Maria Pellegrini Randy and K.C. Boelsems John Hagenah Family Fund Blanny Avalon Hagenah

$2,500 – $4,999

Resources Legacy Fund Foundation

Aon Risk Services

Scott and Sue Redsun

Bob and Beth Huston

Tricia and Will Hagenah

Catalina Island Yacht Club Foundation

$5,000 – $9,999

Sharpe Interior Systems — Drywall Contractors

Geoffrey Claflin and Alison Wrigley Rusack

Catalina Baggage Delivery and Storage Services

Roger Lang

Ann Muscat and Jack Baldelli

Mike and Sandi Doell

Lions Club of Avalon The Lighter Side Jonathan Weiner and Diane Silvers Sam and Cathy Muslin Ali DeGray Laura Mecoy Bill Young Steve and Michelle Byers

Corix Utilities

Tim and Kristen Hollis

David and Mary Jean Harper

Jordan and Elizabeth Cohen

Don Russell

Ed and Audrey Jessup

Julie and Robert Woolley

Board of Supervisors — County of Los Angeles

Baxter International Langan Engineering & Environmental

Ron and Cheryl Roberts John and Laura Armour

Bret and Megan Powers

Gary and Mary Gordon

Hank and Diane Hilty

Roy and Gayle Jones

James and Mary Buckingham

Helen Rich

Dr. Tammy Wong

Joseph and Peggy Stemler

Gary and Norma Buchanan

Bob and Mai Breech

Ann and Olin Barrett

Fred and Valerie Redman

Western Exterminator Company

Cliff and Janet Ronnenberg

Tod and Linda White

LeRoy and Lisa Watson

Joseph Churilla

Graham Tingler

Larry and Terry Grill

The Little Garden Club of Newport Beach

John and Cindy Cotton

MVE + Partners, Inc.

Victoria and Dorn Dean

Patrick and Mari McAlister

Steve and Barbara Barnard

Bruce and Carol Brisson

Friends of the Island Fox, Inc.

Ruth Caryl Blair

Mike and Elizabeth Rabbitt




BZ Jones and Thad Jones Hikes March 25–26, 2016

Catalina Film Festival September 24–27, 2015 Join the stars and other luminaries at the Catalina Film Festival, four days of film premieres, nightly parties and industry networking on the Island. Recent honorees include Andy Garcia, William H. Macy, Sharon Stone, Kate Bosworth, Jon Favreau, Patricia Arquette and many other renowned actors, directors and writers. For more information, please visit

Fifth Annual Catalina: The Wild Side Art Show & Sale at Newport Harbor Yacht Club October 25, 2015 Don’t miss this annual event featuring plein air artists who have captured the Island’s restoration on canvas. A favorite event for those who love art and the Island, the proceeds from the sale of these unique works of art support the Conservancy’s programs and a permanent plein air collection documenting Catalina’s wild side and the restoration of the Island.

At the 2014 Wild Side Art Show & Sale, Irvine Museum President James Irvine Swinden and his wife, Madeleine, viewed works by artist John Cosby.


FALL 2015

Honorees Andy Garcia, Emmy Rossum, William H. Macy and Roman Coppola Clinton on the Catalina Film Festival’s red carpet.

Catalina Island Triathlon November 7, 2015 The annual Catalina Island Triathlon is considered one of the most picturesque venues for a triathlon. The course consists of a half mile swim in the calm ocean waters of Avalon Bay, a 9.32 mile bike ride and a 3.1 mile run. For more information and to register, please visit

Conservation & Education Symposium November 13, 2015 Join Conservancy biologists and educators, as well as invited researchers and scientists, for this insiders’ view of the latest Catalina Island natural history discoveries and scientific advances in this annual, daylong series of presentations in Long Beach.

Conservancy Eco Marathon & Half Marathon November 21, 2015 Runners World magazine rates the Eco Marathon as the “best Island run” because it travels through beautiful landscapes where runners can see bison, bald eagles, seals and palm trees. Runners traverse single-track trails, ridgelines and vistas that afford endless views of the Pacific Ocean. For more information and to register, please visit

Catalina Island Marathon March 19, 2016 This event will feature the exciting marathon course used historically on the Conservancy’s lands, including much of the rugged terrain, spectacular vistas and special challenges enjoyed by noted runner Hans Albrecht and friends in the earliest days of the event. For more information and to register, please visit

Join the Marineros support group for one of two exciting hikes taking place in the Catalina wildlands. The hikes honor the legacies of two dedicated Conservancy supporters and volunteers, the late Graham “BZ” Jones and his brother, Thad Jones III. The BZ Jones Hike is an annual, one-day trek across the width of Catalina Island that covers about 12 miles. The biennial Thad Jones Hike is an endto-end Catalina Island hike that takes two days along the Trans-Catalina Trail. Food and transportation are included in the registration price for both hikes. Participants in the two hikes will meet for a catered lunch midway through the BZ Jones Hike and for a celebration dinner in Avalon. For more information, please contact Spencer Campbell at 562-437-8555 ext. 224 or SCampbell@

2016 Annual Conservancy Ball April 9, 2016 Save the date for one of the biggest events of the year on Catalina Island. The 21st Annual Conservancy Ball promises to be another exciting and elegant evening of dining, dancing and fun benefitting the Conservancy. For more information, please visit the Conservancy’s website or call 562-4378555 ext. 239. To ensure you receive a formal invitation to the Ball, please send your mailing address to Ball@ 21

P.O. Box 2739 Avalon, California 90704



Conservancy Times Fall 2015  

The Catalina Island Conservancy, one of California's largest and oldest land trusts, offers amazing hiking and recreational opportunities on...