Santa Rosa Island talk by
Dr. Cause Hanna, PhD

April 10, 2015
Santa Paula News

An enthusiastic audience recently enjoyed a look at nearby Santa Rosa Island from the cozy confines of Blanchard Community Library’s Hardison Room. Dr. Cause Hanna, PhD introduced the crowd to the beauty, history and vitality of the windswept isle, engaging them in a learning experience and appreciation for this rich natural phenomenon located just off our southern coast.

Dr. Hanna is a professor with California State University Channel Islands and Station Manager of the Santa Rosa Island Research Station, a position he describes as a dream job. The Research Station is part of a partnership between CSUCI and Channel Islands National Park.

The program featured “A New Era of Research on Santa Rosa Island,” where students learn valuable lessons in resource management and sustainability. His interdisciplinary approach provides benefits for student learning and future applications.

“I am from this area,” Dr. Hanna said. He was educated at UC Berkeley and worked in Hawaii before coming to CSU Channel Islands. “I work at CSU Channel Islands,” he said. “I’ve been working there about two years. When I began teaching at Channel Islands, I was immediately impressed.”

Library visitors saw photographs of the islands’ abundant wildlife and learned the attributes and distinctions of the different Channel Islands, and enjoyed a tour through time from the early geologic days to today. History lovers, conservationists and admirers of nature all found much to contemplate in the ecology of the island experience.

 “Here is an image of the Santa Rosa Island Pier,” Dr. Hanna said. “The pier was constructed in 2010. It’s a phenomenal pier and allows visitors to come to the islands in all seasons.” The area’s natural beauty unfolded in a time lapse video of sunrise on the island, with a stunning view of nearby Santa Cruz. 

“There’s a sense of isolation on this island. It’s about a two and a half hour boat ride out there,” he said.  “It is about 27 miles off the coast. When you are on the island, you are thrown back into the early 1800s. It’s really a phenomenal experience for our students that go out there.”

The Faculty members, researchers and members of the community benefit as well. Both K-12 and undergraduate students have the opportunity to learn at the Research Station. Students are involved with a variety of island projects. “Our mission statement is to get students out there doing real-world science,” explained Dr. Hanna. 

The audience discovered a variety of species to admire, from the ancient Torrey Pines to the small and undeniably adorable Island Foxes, the subjects of recent news headlines, whose numbers had dwindled. “This species will probably be removed from the endangered list in 2017,” he said.  “This species is thriving at this point. On the back of Santa Rosa, there are hundreds of elephant seals, again a species that was brought back from the brink of extinction. And now, bald eagles once again soar over the islands.”

There are 500 species of plants on Santa Rosa Island, including varieties of plants found no where else in the world. The Islands Oaks are found there, and lupines abound. “If you get out to Santa Rosa, there are purples and yellows as far as the eye can see, there are fields and fields of flowers,” Dr. Hanna said.

There are many success stories on the islands. Perhaps the greatest success is that the conservation methods being developed on Santa Rosa are used around the world.

Site Search



Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.