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Irvine Ranch Conservancy Staff Spotlight: Collin Raff, Project Manager

PictureCollin Raff, IRC Project Manager

​Irvine Ranch Conservancy is regularly engaged in a wide variety of habitat restoration projects that help restore and maintain the beauty of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Through collaboration with land management partners such as OC Parks, City of Irvine and the City of Newport Beach, IRC staff members can work to help preserve the Landmarks for generations to come. Irvine Ranch Conservancy Project Manager Collin Raff is one of the key players helping to restore parts of Orange County, focusing mainly on West Loma Ridge and Silverado Canyon.
 
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. 

​As a native of Orange County, Collin is excited for the amazing opportunity to get to know and work towards restoring and enhancing the open space so close to where he grew up. Collin manages a variety of restoration and enhancement projects, which involves a number of duties including reporting project activities and status updates to partners, assisting with monitoring and implementation, and managing budgets, contractors and field tasks.
 
“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.