Before joining the Conservancy, Collin graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Integrative Biology with an emphasis in ecology, evolution and organismal biology. While studying at Berkeley, he had the opportunity to work as a lab assistant at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. Collin has been an integral part of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy team for a little over four years. Prior to joining Irvine Ranch Conservancy, Collin worked for the Catalina Island Conservancy, where he provided public outreach to visitors of the island and assisted with many of their conservation projects.
“I enjoy watching restoration projects progress over time. It is a super rewarding feeling looking back at previous years’ photographs and data to compare what we see out there today,” said Raff. “Also, it’s always great when I get to observe wildlife utilizing the habitat we have restored over the years.”
One challenge Collin often faces while working on restoration projects is the variable Southern California weather, meaning he and the IRC team always have to be prepared to adapt their management strategies.
“Each year presents unique challenges based on what the weather brings,” said Raff. “For example, a drought year presents an entirely different set of challenges compared to an El Niño year.”
Despite his busy schedule managing multiple restoration projects, Collin finds time to visit some of his favorite places on the Landmarks - the slot canyons in Silverado, West Loma and even taking a lunch break under the oaks in Limestone Canyon.
“There are some awesome spots at West Loma, especially in the winter,” said Raff. “On clear days, you can see snowcapped mountains to the north and Catalina Island to the south.”
Thanks to staff members like Collin, Irvine Ranch Conservancy is able to carry out their mission of restoring and protecting native habitats on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. To learn more about restoration projects throughout the Landmarks and how you can get involved, visit LetsGoOutside.org.