A Novel Idea: Santa Cruz Island Inspires New T.C. Boyle Book—Win an Island Adventure with The Nature Conservancy

The Conservancy is announcing a contest to win a trip to the iconic Santa Cruz Island, inspiration for best-selling author T.C. Boyle's latest novel. 

Island Fever: Santa Cruz Island Inspires a Novel

Listen to T.C. Boyle describe what inspired him to write his latest book, set on Santa Cruz Island.


San Francisco, CA | February 23, 2011

The Nature Conservancy’s successful island restoration and innovative conservation practices have inspired countless scientists and conservationists around the world. And now, Santa Cruz Island has motivated novelists as well. Best-selling author T.C. Boyle—author of such works as The Women, The Tortilla Curtain, and A Friend of the Earthhas written a new novel principally set on Santa Cruz Island and inspired by The Conservancy’s and the National Park Service’s scientists work. The story of Santa Cruz Island—and its incredible return from the brink of ecological collapse—is nothing short of remarkable. The Conservancy is announcing a contest to win a trip to this iconic place.

Come meet the scientists who are saving Santa Cruz Island and learn more about our work firsthand. You and a guest could win a trip to see animals like the Island fox that exist nowhere else on Earth and stay overnight at a historic ranch. To enter the contest to win an island adventure got to www.nature.org/sci or text “TNC” to 5055.

At 96 square miles, Santa Cruz Island is the largest and most biodiverse of California’s eight Channel Islands. It is graced with a nearly unimaginable 77-mile stretch of California coastline surrounding two mountain ranges which flank a central valley. Often referred to as the “Galapagos of North America,” Santa Cruz Island is home to animals and plants found nowhere else on Earth, including the island fox and island scrub-jay.

Author T.C. Boyle was inspired by his own trip to Santa Cruz Island with The Conservancy. View his interview at www.nature.org/sci.

Boyle’s new book, When the Killing’s Done, tells the fictionalized tale of the island’s restoration. What isn’t fictional is the conscious struggle scientists universally face as we attempt to exert control over the natural world for the good of the whole. This has been a real challenge for The Conservancy’s scientists both personally and professionally on Santa Cruz Island.

“It’s our job to preserve nature, but sometimes that requires making hard choices. There is nothing pleasant about having to kill an animal,” said The Nature Conservancy Santa Cruz Island Director Lotus Vermeer. “My love of nature is what brought me to this job in the first place. But what is very clear to me is that when native plants and animals like the Santa Cruz Island fox are at risk, and natural systems are threatened, we are morally obligated to take responsibility for undoing the damage that we have caused.”

The Nature Conservancy is proud to be featured in this book, which highlights our collaborative work with our partner the National Park Service on Santa Cruz Island. Since 1978, The Nature Conservancy has achieved extraordinary restoration success on Santa Cruz Island, including the re-establishment of bald eagles, removal of all feral sheep and pigs, vaccinating island scrub-jays against West Nile Virus and bringing the native Santa Cruz Island fox back from the brink of extinction.

• To enter the contest visit www.nature.org/sci or text “TNC” to 5055
• Official contest rules—http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/california/features/scisweepstakes.html
• To learn more about the Conservancy’s Santa Cruz Island work—http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/california/preserves/art6335.html

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the web at www.nature.org. To learn about the Conservancy’s global initiatives, visit www.nature.org/global. To keep up with current Conservancy news, follow @nature_press on Twitter.

Contact information

Kathleen Goldstein

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