Earth Day is quickly approaching and 2018 is a special year on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. This upcoming Earth Day marks the 10th anniversary of nearly 40,000 acres of open spaces being designated as the first-ever California Natural Landmark. Nature lovers can find several opportunities to connect with the land by registering for a stewardship program in honor of Earth Day and the 10th anniversary of the state landmark designation during the month of April and throughout the year.
“This is an exciting year on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. The 10th anniversary of the California Landmark designation truly validates how important this land is to the local community, state, and nation,” commented Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director, Michael O’Connell. “Stewardship programs are a great way the community can connect and improve the local lands while celebrating the 10th anniversary and Earth Day.” O’Connell continued.
On Tuesday, April 24 from 8:30 a.m.—12 p.m. outdoor enthusiasts can join volunteers during OC Parks’ Sahara Mustard Pull at Loma Ridge stewardship program. Sahara Mustard is an exotic non-native plant that has invaded thousands of acres across Southern California and is beginning to make its way onto the Landmarks. During this stewardship program volunteers will identify and remove this invasive species, helping native plants and wildlife thrive on the Landmarks.
On Wednesday, April 25 from 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., volunteers can join the It’s Harvest Time! Collect Wildflower Seeds at the Native Seed Farm program at the Native Seed Farm in Irvine to harvest seeds from the beautiful native spring flowers, like the California Poppy and Arroyo Lupine. This stewardship program is a great opportunity for nature lovers ages 8 and up to connect with the land while positively impacting our local plant and wildlife. Seeds harvested during this program will be used to re-grow animal habitat, provide food for wildlife, and buffer negative impacts of floods and wildfires.
Volunteers can spend a warm spring day at the Irvine Park Trail Restoration Day program on Sunday, May 6 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. During this program at OC Parks’ Irvine Regional Park participants are encouraged to leave the park better than they found it by keeping the park’s trails and habitat healthy. Volunteers can look forward to rolling up their sleeves to remove invasive plants and plant native species to combat the effects of off-trail use.
Celebrate Earth Day throughout the month of April and beyond to enjoy fresh air and beautiful scenery while giving back to the lands! Most activities on the Landmarks are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. Remember to wear sunscreen and don’t forget to pack water, a snack, and wear appropriate shoes. Programs are open to the public with required registration, but space is limited and early registration is recommended. For more information and to register for a program visit www.LetsGoOutside.org/activites.