Irvine Regional Park is nestled among groves of Oak and Sycamore trees, and offers visitors a wide variety of shaded areas, serene leisure activities, and is home to the OC Zoo. Rolling foothills surround the park and are home to a variety of wildlife, which greatly enhances the park’s beauty. To keep the park thriving and flourishing, monthly stewardship activities are held at Irvine Regional Park to keeps the trails and habitat healthy.
“As the weather gets warmer we encourage visitors to not only get outside and enjoy the Landmarks, but to consider registering for a stewardship program to connect with the land,” Irvine Ranch Conservancy Deputy Director, Dave Raetz said. “Irvine Regional Park is a highly attended park with a great amount of visitorship, and it’s really wonderful that this program offers nature lovers a chance to give back to the land.”
Volunteers will also remove invasive plant species that threaten to crowd out the diversity of native plants, a vital part of restoration programs. An invasive plant can thrive and spread aggressively outside its natural range and can be especially invasive when introduced to a new habitat. When an invasive species colonizes a new area, it may gain an ecological edge since the insects, diseases, and foraging animals that naturally keep its growth in check in its native range are not present in the new habitat. It’s important to remove invasive plants so they don’t threaten native plant life or reduce the natural biodiversity. Volunteers who participate in the Irvine Park Trail Restoration Day will have the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and help plant native species while removing invasive species.
Several stewardship and restoration programs are offered on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks throughout the year to help promote the growth of native species in the wide variety of landscapes within Orange County. Visitors are welcome to click the programs below to register and volunteer for restoration programs:
- Second Thursday Habitat Restoration in Newport Bay on Thurs., June 8 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Newport Bay and Big Canyon. Volunteers ages 14 and older can help create a healthy habitat for birds and other wildlife by weeding and watering native plants. This activity is held on the second Thursday of each month.
- Keep it Wild –Laguna Coast Wilderness on Sat., June 17 begins at 8:00 a.m. and ends at 11:00 a.m. and invites volunteers ages 15 and older to OC Parks’ Laguna Coast Wilderness Park to assist with various restoration activities including removal of non-native plants, seed collection and/or planting of native plants.
- Dripping Springs Trail Restoration on Tues., June 20 and Sun., June 25 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. invites volunteers ages 10 years and older to join the Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff as they convert Dripping Springs ranch road into a single-track trail through weeding and watering newly planted plants. Volunteers will get to spend the day working through grassland, coastal sage scrub, and woodland habitats and hike to Dripping Springs, a natural water source dripping out of an earthquake fault and then down a gorgeous fern-covered rock face.
- 4th Wednesday Habitat Restoration at Quail Hill on Wed., June 28 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. welcomes volunteers ages 14 and older to make a positive impact on the Quail Hill trail by weeding non-native plants. This activity is held on the 4th Wednesday of each month.
Visit the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks this summer and throughout the year. Most activities are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. For restoration and stewardship programs, all training, tools, and gloves will be provided to volunteers. Remember to pack a snack, water, and wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen. Children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian, age requirements for programs vary. For more details on programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.