Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 1.
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Take a ferry to the Channel Islands.

As an undergraduate, Jennifer Perry participated in an archaeological dig on San Clemente Island, one of the five Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. She fell in love. “I was blown away by the proximity of it to the mainland, by the diversity of the plants and animals there and by its prehistory,” she says.

Today Perry is an anthropology professor at Pomona, sharing her love of the Channel Islands with current undergrad students. According to Perry, people have been living on the Islands for about 12,000 years, dating back to the ancient Chumash people on the northern islands and the Tongva people on the southern islands. In fact, she notes that the main campground on Santa Cruz Island (the largest and most accessible island to campers) is where the Chumash people lived in a village long ago.

But even to the non-anthropologists among us, the Channel Islands have much to offer. Catalina Island is the developed island, with the town of Avalon offering shops, hotels and restaurants. Santa Cruz Island is probably the best island for camping, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, hiking, bird watching or botany.

“Living in Los Angeles I sometimes feel like I’m inundated with people,” says Perry. “When I’m at the Channel Islands, I can gaze back at the L.A. coastline and get some perspective on it all.”

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