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Catalina Island Conservancy

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Caption text by Meriam Djelidi
Photos by Bob Rhein


October 2009


Botanist, writer and poet. Blanche Trask was born in Waterloo, Iowa in July 1865. Her family moved to Santa Monica in 1890 where she learned botany in her fathers nursery. Blanche spent 20 years on Catalina and roamed the Island, basking in its pristine nature. From Catalina, she explored and collected plants on many of the other Channel Islands. She lost her life's work -- her collection of plants and archaeology -- in the 1915 fire that destroyed her Avalon home. She died in San Francisco the next year of pulmonary complications.

In this photo gallery, we will meet Blanche Trask as channeled through Avalon resident Meriam Djelidi, a graduate botanist from Cornell University. Her accomplishments in her five years here include growing native plants with the Catalina Island Conservancy and botanical work on San Clemente Island. She is a performing member of Catalina Live a group of storytellers who share the lives and reminiscences of people who lived on Catalina and the differences they made to the Islands natural history. Meriam is now the owner-operator of Island Poppy Plant Care, a local gardening service. She can be contacted through her website at www.islandpoppy.com.

Meet Blanche.