The many trails throughout Orange County’s open spaces are what draw and allow visitors to…
Habitat restoration work on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks is a crucial part of Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s mission. From planning to execution, the Conservancy leads long-term, comprehensive ecological restoration efforts with a variety of methods tailored to local wildlands.
IRC Program Coordinator Alan Blake is one of the dedicated staff members who works on habitat restoration projects through the Conservancy’s Habitat Restoration and Enhancement program. A native to southern California, Alan grew up in the Inland Empire and attended California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, earning a degree in Environmental Biology.
“After graduating, I spent time traveling and working in agriculture and landscaping for a few years,” said Alan. “When I came back to southern California, I found IRC and knew it was a great opportunity to do the kind of work I want to do in an awesome environment.”
For the past four years at IRC, Alan’s main job duties have focused on coordinating and leading field crews in the implementation of Conservancy restoration projects including site preparation, seeding and planting, and cultivating the native ecology.
“The best part about the job is being out on the land and feeling integrated with the seasonality of the years as our project sites transform from weed monocultures into diverse native ecosystems,” said Alan.
Currently working on several projects ranging from the uplands of Chino Hills down to the coast of Crystal Cove, Alan enjoys working in the diverse habitats that make up the Landmarks. In fact, he is particularly fond of the oak woodlands found in Limestone Canyon.
“One of my favorite memories working with IRC was in March of 2019 we had a mass migration of painted lady butterflies swarm through our lands. I was driving a small open air 4×4 vehicle in our West Loma project site and the butterflies were zipping right by my face in swarms,” said Alan.
When Alan isn’t busy helping restore native habitats on the Landmarks, he enjoys gardening, growing unique varieties of peppers and experimenting with hot sauces, salsas and pickles.
For more information about Irvine Ranch Conservancy and restoration work on Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit LetsGoOutside.org.