Weeding in your backyard may keep your garden nice, but the same simple activity can have a much bigger impact when done in the wilderness areas of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. This simple task has major rewards for both the land and the volunteers who work on it.
Removing non-native and invasive plants such as black mustard and milk thistle is key to restoration work managed by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. Particularly noticeable at this time of year, hills are full of tiny yellow black mustard flowers. They look pretty, but in a short time the stems will dry and harden, increasing the wildland fire hazard with every growing season. Plus, by now this aggressive weed has already stolen sun and soil resources from nearby native plant seeds that might bloom later in the season, thwarting the spread of native seed and a healthy diversity of plant life.
Weeding invasive plants also rewards the volunteer. Visiting locations within the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks for restoration work means spending a day giving back to the land while enjoying fresh air, beautiful native plants and panoramic views.
A variety of volunteer restoration activities are available this week -- all tools are provided, and no prior experience is necessary. Plus, the work is done alongside trained Conservancy stewardship staff and volunteers, so you might just learn a few things that you can take back home and put to use in your own garden.
For upcoming volunteer opportunities, please visit www.LetsGoOutside.org.