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On Thursday, April 2, we were invited to a reception of this exhibition on the second floor of the John Spoor Broome Library on the CSU campus in Camarillo. Our nonprofit annually supports this program. Irina D. Costache, Ph.D., Dan Wakelee, Ph.D., and Cause Hanna, Ph.D. organized the exhibition. We visited with them as well as many students who visited and studied at Santa Rosa Island. Several university programs participated in this exhibition that include: Anthropology, Art, Biology, Business, Communication, English, ESRM, Political Science, and Sociology as well as the 2014 Faculty Writing Retreat and the Student Affairs/Student Life Orientation.

Many displays were mounted on the walls that consisted of photographs of students hiking on the island, writings from students in the English classes, artwork from students in the art classes, and in glass cases–artifacts discovered by the students on the island. Alex Yepez wrote “It started with Kirsten, opening our eyes to see what a difference we can make in helping our environment by separating trash and recyclables. I never realized the actual impact it has with the land fills and all the space it takes.”

The Santa Rosa Island Research Station is very unique and has a partnership with the National Park Service and several other research and educational institutions. This research station offers a pathway for students to explore one of North America’s exceptional places. It is a very unique “classroom” and enhances knowledge about various disciplines taught on campus. Students can experience nature first hand without their high tech devices diverting their attention and can begin to focus and reflect on the world and about their self in this special place. Briana Ramos wrote “I strongly believe that it is because we were disconnected that we were able to connect with each other on a much deeper level than if we had our phones.”

President Rush came to see the exhibition and we had a chance to visit with him. During the event, Drs. Costache, Hanna, and Wakelee gave brief speeches and then we were invited to speak and expressed a “thank you” to the students for writing us thank you letters expressing their experiences and telling us what this exposure has meant to them in their lives. Many had life changing experiences and we were so grateful to be able to know about this and what our support has done to change lives and to open up a world that is so different from what they have on the main land. We gave out Havasi Wilderness Foundation bookmarks to all attendees so they can visit our website and learn more about what we have to offer from an educational standpoint.

Thank you CSUCI for the opportunity to be part of this wonderful and special program.

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