Every year on February 2, we look forward to Punxsutawney Phil making his weather prediction for the next six weeks. While this may not be the most accurate weather prediction, it’s all in good fun! Luckily, in Orange County, we don’t have to worry too much about Phil’s yearly prediction. With favorable weather all year long, there’s no reason to hibernate during the winter.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy is here to help with an extensive list of activities that allow you to explore the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and will leave you coming back for more. Unfortunately, you won’t see any groundhogs out on the Landmarks, but there are plenty of other native species to look out for. Through LetsGoOutside.org, you can discover a wide range of weekly and monthly activities that allow you to workout, learn something new, give back, and spend time with family and friends. The possibilities are endless!
If you prefer to start your day outside, try the Thursday Morning Trek activities that happen every week in the Irvine Ranch Open Space. Each trek explores a different area on the Landmarks, presenting a new challenge every week. Hikers can discover Fremont Canyon, Bommer Canyon, Baker Canyon, Quail Hill, Orchard Hills, Limestone Canyon and Dripping Springs, and Agua Chinon and The Sinks.
Amateur and experienced horticulturists of Orange County can give back to nature by volunteering at Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s one-of-a-kind Native Seed Farm. Every Wednesday and Saturday, join Conservancy staff and volunteers to help restore native habitats at Dig In! Plant & Protect Wildflowers with the Native Seed Farm. All plants grown and harvested are beneficial in some way, whether it’s providing animals with food and shelter or mitigating the negative impacts of floods and wildfires. Make this activity part of your regular schedule and watch your hard work pay off when the wildflowers bloom in the spring.
Bring your little Wild One to learn about nature and enjoy the outdoors during Wild Tales every Friday morning. This fun-filled child and parent experience includes storytelling, a guided nature walk, hands-on activities, and arts and crafts. Wild Tales programs and crafts are tailored for preschool level, but all ages that might enjoy the experience are welcome to attend!
One of the best ways to explore the Irvine Ranch Open Space is by creating your own adventure during the bi-monthly Wilderness Access Days. Enjoy a self-guided hike or an opportunity to get outside with friends and family. Wilderness Access Days take place in Bommer Canyon, Black Star Canyon, and Limestone Canyon, which are great spots for leisurely walks through beautiful scenery, mile-long hikes and everything in between.
Birds and other wildlife need a healthy habitat to thrive and you can do your part by joining Irvine Ranch Conservancy experts every month for First Friday Habitat Restoration in Buck Gully. Volunteers will have the opportunity to make a positive impact by planting native plants in the beautiful landscape of the Buck Gully Reserve in Newport Beach.
No matter what Punxsutawney Phil predicts this weekend, be sure to visit the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and experience reoccurring programs throughout the year. All activities offered are free with required pre-registration, which closes at 4 p.m. the day prior to each event. Some programs are suitable for children 12 and over, and children must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. For more details on reoccurring programs, hikes, and other activities visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.