Catalina Island Conservancy focus of Thursday talk
Honoring the Catalina Island Conservancy’s past and future roles in protecting the island’s natural beauty, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum presents “Catalina Island Conservancy: 50 Years of Island Stewardship.”
The live talk will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday at the museum, 113 Harbor Way.
Tony Budrovich, conservancy president and CEO, will discuss the trust’s history of preservation and share his vision for the future.
Founded in 1972 by chewing gum magnate Philip Knight Wrigley, the Catalina Island Conservancy is among the longest-operating land trusts in the region, overseeing 42,000 acres of protected space, which is most of the island.
Under the conservancy’s stewardship, these wildlands serve as a living laboratory for the study of environmental protection. They include 62 pristine beaches, more than 60 species of flora and fauna found only on the island, a botanical garden, nearly 50 miles of biking trails,165 miles of hiking opportunities and the single longest stretch of publicly accessible, undeveloped beach left in Southern California.
Mr. Budrovich served as the Catalina Island Conservancy’s chief operating officer before becoming president and chief executive officer in 2016. In his current position, he leads the conservancy during its mission to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation.
Mr. Budrovich manages the conservancy’s 42,000 acres of wildlands, a botanical garden, two nature centers, an airport and a complex infrastructure including more than 20 facilities, maintenance shops, housing, 200 miles of roads, 170 miles of trails, camps and 60 miles of coastline and coves throughout Catalina Island. On top of that, Mr. Budrovich has overseen the conservancy’s first capital campaign, which reached its goal of raising $17 million for various projects.
Initiatives of the campaign included the trails expansion project (Trekking Catalina), construction of the organization’s new state-of-the-art Trailhead Visitor Center, located in the downtown area of Avalon, and construction of the new Ace Clearwater Airfield.
Mr. Budrovich also worked with Southern California Edison to secure $300,000 for the Airport Solar Project, due to be installed in 2023.
With more than 38 years of professional experience in key leadership and strategic management roles, Mr. Budrovich has served as deputy director/senior vice president of the California Science Center and Science Center Foundation (home of the space shuttle Endeavour); vice president and general manager of Sea Recovery Corp (company specializing in seawater desalination); and vice president SeaWorld and Marineland.
He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University, Long Beach, and is a graduate of the State of California Management Training Program and the Getty Leadership Institute for Museum Management (University of California at Berkeley).
In 2019, Mr. Budrovich graduated from the Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy with a certificate degree in fundraising management. He and his wife Noelle live on Catalina Island and in Torrance.