Girl Scout Hunter Conway recently enjoyed an adventure in “the Galapagos of North America” during a GSUSA Destinations trip, “Chanel Island Adventure.” In this blog post, Hunter shares her experiences visiting the little-known National Park—which is located off the coast of California.
The Channel Island adventure has been a good opportunity for me to become more independent and have a better understanding of the impact we have on our natural resources. This amazing adventure was filled with many first-time experiences for me, including my first solo flight, my first time navigating an airport alone (and meeting up with a group of strangers with whom I’d soon become friends), and my first time seeing the natural beauty of the Channel Islands. I couldn’t wait to see the diversity of wildlife the island is home to.
My first day on the island I was surprised at how wide open the landscape was and how peaceful the ocean looked. On the ferry ride over to the island we were accompanied by a pod of dolphins and two whales. Over the next week I saw sea lions along the caves on the rocky shoreline as we passed by in our kayaks. Gardens of large kelp beneath us gave way to schools of fish. As we hiked to Devil’s Peak we saw an eagle fly by and one night we had the island fox steal a bag of Goldfish crackers from the storage bin. There were no city lights to block the view of the night sky. No busy streets to drown out the sounds of the waves. Not one of these animals know what it was like to dodge traffic on its way to find a meal: a stark contrast to the mainland.
The mainland was so different from the island, with lots of buildings, busy streets, and people coming and going in a hurry. There was a pool and a flushing toilet at the hotel with purified water, but at the island there was ocean and water spigots and holes for toilets. The mainland was totally inhabited by people and showed little signs of wildlife. Here the wildlife has been pushed to the outer edges of the urban sprawl where few people ever notice that the wildlife exists.
We need to work together to help maintain places like The Channel Islands in order to provide a place to enjoy nature without ruining our environment: a place where people are willing to give back habitat before there is no more.