AP Bio’s Trip to Catalina Island

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AP Bio’s Trip to Catalina Island

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Last weekend the AP Biology classes took their annual trip down to Santa Catalina Island for a weekend full of fun and excitement. After leaving late Thursday night, the group arrived at the dock Friday morning before boarding the ferry for the island.

Santa Catalina Island (Photo courtesy of Mya Casey).

Santa Catalina Island, also known as Catalina Island or just Catalina, is a rocky island southwest of Los Angeles and also happens to be one of California’s Channel Islands. Known for its divine wildlife and fauna, Catalina is home to Mount Orizaba, the island’s highest peak coming in at 2,097 feet high.

It was originally home to a Native American group called the Pimungans or Pimuvit before Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived in 1542. Approximately 60 years later, another Spanish explorer by the name of Sebastian Viscaino made an appearance and christened the island “Santa Catalina” in honor of Saint Catherine.

For about the next 200 years, Catalina was used by otter hunters, and ranching, mining and military operations. Smuggling also occurred very frequently on the island. In 1846, Mexican Governor Pio Pico awarded the island as a Mexican land grant to Thomas Robbins, before it came into the possession of William Wrigley Jr.

Naia Curry, Lauren Kuechler, John Kanner, Uriel Choi, Ava Berry, Mya Casey, Xavier Hendrix, and Aidan David having fun in their matching Catalina hoodies. (Photo courtesy of Mya Casey).

Wrigley, who created Wrigley’s chewing gum, turned the island to a tourist destination. The Chicago Cubs (owned by Wrigley) used the island for spring training for about 30 years, and during the time period, the island was also used as a set for many old Hollywood films. In the ’70s, Wrigley gave the Catalina Island Conservancy 88% of the deed so that the island would remain remote and undeveloped in areas.

Today, Catalina is a popular tourist attraction and is a top choice for school field trips. AP Biology’s group consisted of 43 kids, who were accompanied by Ms. Sims (the AP biology teacher), Mr. May, Mr. Tyler, and Dr. Hester. The students had a load of fun over the weekend: they took part in many different activities, such as kayaking, day snorkeling, and night snorkeling. They got to dissect a squid, which was nauseating for some and exciting for others. Despite the gloomy gray weather, the students had a lot of fun.

To find out more about Catalina Island, check out this link: https://www.catalinachamber.com

Sources: https://www.catalinachamber.com/island-info/island-history/