But wildflowers need more than just warm weather and rainfall to thrive long-term. Invasive and non-native plants can steal light and nutrients from native flora, making it harder for native species to grow. In 2012, the small-flowered morning glory – a rare, native flower that was in decline within the Landmarks – was discovered sprouting from dormant seeds in the West Loma Ridge watershed habitat restoration area. This uncommon flower was able to make a comeback in part due to the removal of invasive species; in the absence of weeds, its seeds remaining in the soil were able to return to an environment free of competition from invasive plants.
Make a lasting impact on the landscape and the wildlife which depends on it on Thursday, March 10, during Restore Wildflowers and Wildlife in Limestone Canyon. Volunteers will remove aggressive weeds that threaten to take over native plants in Bee Flat, a habitat restoration area within OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon. Conservancy staff will be on hand to provide all training and tools, and will also be teaching participants the names of common weeds and wildlife encountered. The work will be challenging – activities include bending, kneeling and walking across slopes and uneven terrain – yet unique, and your efforts will be rewarded with the chance to enjoy rarely visited scenic vistas overlooking Orange County.
On Tuesday, March 8, join a large-scale restoration project during Adopt a Grassland – West Loma Stewardship. California native grasslands are a disappearing habitat that many unique, endangered plants and animals depend on. Volunteers will be identifying plants, planting native seedlings and hand-weeding to help this habitat and local wildlife thrive. This grassland area within Limestone Canyon is easily accessible, and the slopes of West Loma Ridge are an opportune spot to see California poppies, chocolate lilies and wild hyacinth in bloom. Adopt a Grassland – West Loma Stewardship activities happen monthly throughout spring. Visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities for a list of event dates and to register.
If you’re interested in helping native habitat at an easily accessible location along flat ground, consider joining the Conservancy at its one-of-a-kind Native Seed Farm. Volunteers will be weeding to encourage the growth of seedlings planted in the beginning of this year – many of which are now in bloom! You’ll enjoy rows of arroyo lupine and chia while learning more about native wildflowers seen out on the trails. The public can volunteer at Dig in! Plant Wildflowers with the Native Seed Farm next on Wednesday, March 9, and the program occurs every Wednesday and Saturday. In spring, help is needed from the public to collect and harvest seeds, which will be used to restore additional habitat within the Landmarks.
A little weeding can go a long way in support of the Landmarks’ native wildflowers, but continued support from the public is vital. All stewardship programs are free with required pre-registration. No experience is required, and all training and tools are provided by highly trained Conservancy staff and volunteers. All minors are required to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Age restrictions can vary by activity, so please read more about, or register for, each program by clicking the titles above. For more details, visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.