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Voluntourism Spotlight: Preserve Native Plants on Catalina Island

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CatalinaConservancyThere are a few islands off the coast of Southern California, and about 22 miles from the Port of Los Angeles is Santa Catalina Island. The island may not be known by some, but its main town of Avalon was once a playground for movie stars and celebrities like Charlie Chaplin and John Wayne.

Today, 88 percent of the island is a nature preserve, and the goal of the Catalina Island Conservancy is to help local native plants thrive. Check out the program below and remember to tune in to Peter Greenberg Worldwide this weekend for more information. Plus, don’t forget to check out our archive for all kinds of voluntourism opportunities.

Outside of the main town of Avalon, most of Catalina Island is a nature conservancy. It’s not easy maintaining all that open space, which means there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer and get a great trip out of it as well.

There are opportunities all year long to volunteer and, if you are willing to commit to volunteering in the interior of the island for a week or longer, the Conservancy will include your camping accommodations. You’ll do things like remove invasive plants, collect seeds, and help count native animal populations.

Don’t feel like roughing it? Catalina Island Vacation Rentals and Hermosa Hotel also coordinate this volunteer work with the Conservancy, but you get to spend your nights in downtown Avalon.

Volunteer vacations can range from as few as two days to a week or longer. A sample itinerary might include a Thursday morning at the Ackerman Native Plant Nursery being trained in the horticulture and ecology of Catalina’s varied flora, and a Saturday morning assisting with the Windward Beach Clean-Up, which occurs bi-monthly.

Catalina Island Vacation Rentals offers an exclusive volunteer rate along with a special thank you gift for those who volunteer. Visit for an entire section on volunteer opportunities for groups or individuals.

By Dominique Samario for Peter