The flora of Catalina Island is part of what makes it such a special place. In the late 1980s, the Catalina Island Conservancy established a native plant nursery at Middle Ranch in the Island’s interior. The nursery’s mission is to provide plant and seed material for restoring native habitats on the Island. The nursery was named in memory of Mr. James H. Ackerman, a Conservancy Benefactor who also served on the Board of Directors.
At the Nursery, plants are grown from seed or from cuttings collected from specimens growing in the wild on the Island. Rare habitat plant species, and endemic or federally listed Endangered Species are the primary focus at the facility.
The James H. Ackerman Nursery supports ongoing conservation actions such as protecting and re-establishing the endangered population of Catalina Island Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus traskiae), an endemic tree of which only 7 or 8 individuals are known to exist in the wild. A number of rare habitat types are also found on the windward beaches of Catalina which are popular recreation areas. Restoration projects there have focused on minimizing impacts on these habitats and the Conservancy has succeeded in re-establishing a number of rare plant communities.
Volunteers are an integral part of the Ackerman Nursery’s operation. Thursdays—and often on sunny weekends—the facility bustles with volunteers sowing seeds, transplanting, weeding and watering. Residents or visitors may call (310) 510-2595 ext. 112, for more information.
The nursery continues to develop relationships with Island clients to support habitat enhancement and native landscaping. Recent examples include re-planting at Haypress Recreation Area following the May 2007 Island fire, and landscaping on the Island’s West End at the Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies.
To make a donation in support of the James H. Ackerman Native Plant Nursery, note it on your check and mail it to: Catalina Island Conservancy, PO Box 2739, Avalon, CA 90704. Or specify your wishes and donate online.