Irvine Ranch Conservancy takes pride in its mission of ensuring the protection of the historical landmarks that stretch from the mountains to the coast. With nearly 40,000 acres at hand, the success and maintenance of the Landmarks would not be possible without the generous support from the public.
In honor of National Volunteer Week from April 7-13, Irvine Ranch Conservancy would like to recognize the efforts of several exceptional volunteers who work diligently to create remarkable experiences and activities throughout the Landmarks.
As a founding volunteer and long-time Irvine resident, Phil Weinreich has cultivated a deep passion and love for the Irvine Ranch Open Space in the city that is set aside for recreation and preservation. Phil’s dedicated assistance spans across various types of activities including hiking, biking, stewardship and restoration.
The commitment of Ken Miller, another founding volunteer, has also created a significant impact with Irvine Ranch Conservancy. Following his retirement, Ken has dedicated a tremendous amount of time to the Landmarks by leading hikes and stewardships and mentoring volunteers. Ken also served as a regular part of the Conservancy’s surveys for the Gold Spotted Oak Borer within the oak trees and acorn planting stewardships in Weir Canyon.
The dedication of founding volunteer Jim Christy has brought over 12 years of stewardship and service to the lands. Jim’s reverence for the land led him to serve as an active Fire Watch volunteer patrolling Limestone, Weir and Fremont Canyons while also maintaining several water sources on the Landmarks for local wildlife and equestrian rides.
Don Hrossowyc’s commitment to the lands has also spanned over the last 12 years after transitioning to Irvine Ranch Conservancy, generously donating his time to the Open Space which, quite literally, is right outside the back door of his home. Since 2016, Don has shared his mastery of the Yang style of Tai Chi with the public by offering weekly Tai Chi classes under the canopy of sycamore trees on the Open Space.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy volunteers also play a key role in developing enriched programs and fun-filled activities throughout the lands for participants of all ages to enjoy.
Through the passionate contributions of Don Millar, an avid volunteer since 2006, Irvine Ranch Conservancy has implemented an improved wildlife camera monitoring program. He has been a vital part of IRC’s wildlife monitoring, dedicating over 4,000 hours to the program. Don’s dedication for the Landmarks is evident in his additional support during children's programs, interpretive activities and hikes.
Maintaining the beauty of the Landmarks is a duty that longtime volunteer Carolyn Parsons fully enjoys. From Quail Hill to Augustine Nurseries, Carolyn enthusiastically seeds, plants, and waters native shrubs for future restoration and Community Stewardship projects. Carolyn’s passion for bird watching has helped generate interpretive programs offered in many of the canyons as well. As a Land Steward or Trail Guide, Carolyn’s volunteerism supports the IRC mission of connecting others to the beauty of the Landmarks and restoring the land for future generations.
As a devoted volunteer, Bill Braly has also dedicated countless hours on restoration and invasive plant stewardships in Buck Gully. Irvine Ranch Conservancy is thankful for volunteers like Bill who aim to help in any area or task. His service as a Land Steward, Trail Boss and Trail Guide have been critical to the land, community, and flora and fauna of the Landmarks. When he’s not out on the Landmarks, Bill helps the Irvine Ranch Conservancy communications team by promoting awareness of public programs.
While volunteering helps to nurture the nature of the Landmarks, it also fosters genuine community spirit among both volunteers and public participants.
It was a simple conversation with an OC Parks Ranger in 2012 that lead Larry Robbins to volunteer with the Conservancy and he has served generously ever since. Larry enjoys stomping through the hills of Limestone Canyon and Agua Chinon and gladly shares that passion with visitors during the hikes he leads and assists with.
Similarly, Lesley Gill regularly participates in a variety of hikes all over the Irvine Ranch Open Space and is an active Fire Watch Volunteer and Trail Guide. Since becoming a volunteer in 2015, Lesley’s infectious love for the land has inspired many public participants and other volunteers.
JJ Fischer is another dedicated volunteer that brings a friendly warmth and welcoming to every public participant that he encounters. JJ pours his heart into the Landmarks by participating in restoration site plantings, removing invasive plants and more. Any time JJ travels the world hiking peaks, he continues to spread the word about this special place called the Landmarks in Orange County.
The Conservancy is immensely thankful for its tremendous volunteers who work carefully to maintain the vibrant lands from the canyons to the ocean. Volunteer opportunities bring refreshing experiences that connect the public with the bliss of nature.
Find your opportunity to volunteer on the Landmarks!
Join Laguna Canyon Foundation volunteers in the luscious land of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park on Saturday, April 13 at 8 a.m. to gain hands-on experience with habitat restoration. Volunteers at Keep it Wild - Native Plant Nursery can expect to care for native plants from their various stages from seed to plant.
Enhance the habitat for local wildlife at Newport Bay Nature Preserve every second Sunday. On Sunday, April 14, volunteers at the Second Sunday Restoration Program may engage in a variety of activities including planting natives, trash cleanup and Butterfly Garden maintenance. No experience is necessary; pre-registration is required.
Spend Earth Day giving back by participating in a restoration event on Saturday, April 20! Mustard Madness Restoration integrates opportunities of service with fun activities fit for the whole family including environmental-themed exhibits, a scavenger hunt, arts and crafts.
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 volunteering with Irvine Ranch Conservancy programs, hikes, and other activities visit LetsGoOutside.org.