Orange County's rainy winter season is often a precursor to greenery on the local open spaces, and the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks welcomes the community to join stewardship programs during winter months to help restore and protect the native habitat. Winter is an ideal time for restoration projects, and volunteers are needed to plant native seedlings, water and care for native habitat, and remove invasive weeds. All stewardship activities help local wildlife thrive and ensure future generations can enjoy the natural communities on the open space forever
Seeds from the Native Seed Farm are integral to the restoration process, and all planting on the Landmarks relies on year round harvesting programs. Seeds harvested from the Seed Farm are planted at one of two nurseries found on the Landmarks, the Quail Hill Nursery located at the Quail Hill Trailhead in the City of Irvine and the Augustine Nursery located in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve. Seedlings from the nurseries are used to support a variety of restoration projects throughout the Landmarks.
The winter season is also an ideal time for trail work, when volunteers can help trim back overgrown vegetation, restore native habitat trailside, and manage drainage to prevent erosion on the trails. All of the programs rely on volunteers, and have a positive and important impact on the Landmarks. Volunteers are welcome to become repeat participants and build a lasting relationship with the lands.
"Habitat restoration projects on the Landmarks wouldn’t be possible without support from the community, and we welcome both returning and first-time volunteers to join us this winter for stewardship and trail work programs,” Raetz commented.
Landowners including OC Parks, the City of Irvine, and the City of Newport Beach partner with nonprofit organizations including Irvine Ranch Conservancy to offer a variety of stewardship activities to the public. The programs are free with registration and range from trail restoration to harvesting and planting seeds, and can be suitable for children as young as 8 years of age. Click the links below to join a stewardship program on the Irvine Natural Landmarks during the winter season!
- Dig In! Plant Wildflowers at the Native Seed Farm is a reoccurring program that lets volunteers feel the earth beneath fingertips! Join Irvine Conservancy staff as they lead you in harvesting seeds from seasonal bushes and wildflowers.
- 4th Wednesday Habitat Restoration at Quail Hill kicks off at 8:30 a.m. every month in the City of Irvine, when simple actions like weeding and planting can greatly improve the local lands.
- First Friday Habitat Restoration in Buck Gully in the City of Newport Beach offers an opportunity to help birds and other wildlife have a healthy habitat to thrive in. The ongoing program involves a light hike and planting.
Stewardship programs offer the community an opportunity to give back to the land and potentially become a long-term caretaker of the local habitat. No experience is necessary and all tools are provided. Volunteers should wear layers and bring water, sunscreen, and a light snack. For more information on the Landmarks and stewardship programs, and to ensure registered programs are not cancelled due to weather visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.