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Irvine Ranch Conservancy Staff Spotlight: Kate Fancher, Program Coordinator

PictureKate Fancher, Program Coordinator

​Since 2005, Irvine Ranch Conservancy has been dedicated to the health and protection of the native wildlands that make up the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and the wildlife that call these lands home. The Conservancy team regularly monitors the Landmarks by using a network of strategically placed heat and motion-triggered remote cameras to monitor the health and activity of wildlife in correlation with human activity on the land over time.
Kate Fancher, a Program Coordinator for Irvine Ranch Conservancy, helps track human activity through the Conservancy’s Human Access Monitoring Program, which uses the motion activated trail cameras to analyze how the public uses the trail systems throughout the Irvine Ranch Open Space, the City of Irvine Open Space Preserve and Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park. Using the images from the trail cameras, Kate can assess how human activity affects the Landmarks, as well as coordinate with land owners and law enforcement when illegal activity, such as trespassing, occurs.

​“I really enjoyed participating in activities run by IRC. I was impressed with their volunteer support and the type of work they conduct,” said Kate. “I have a background in photography and at the time was volunteering with OC Parks through their park ranger academy. The position I applied for at IRC was a great use of those two things.”
Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Arts from California State University, Long Beach and a graduate of the OC Parks Ranger Academy, Kate has brought a unique blend of experience to her work at the Conservancy for the past eight years. Not only does she have years of experience as a professional photographer, but Kate also spends time as a volunteer Ranger Reserve with OC Parks and the San Bernardino National Forest with the San Gorgonio Wilderness Association.
“Getting out on the land to service the cameras is always enjoyable. I look forward to reviewing certain cameras that I know get frequent wildlife crossings. Seeing a photo of a bobcat, owl, or fox never gets old,” said Kate. “There have also been some silly moments on the cameras where people have pranked them. I will never forget the time that a gorilla was spotted on camera in Black Star.”
When she’s not spending her time analyzing images from the wildlife cameras, Kate enjoys hiking and weightlifting, as well as traveling, especially through California to the Paso Robles wine country.
“When I can, I like hiking Merkel Spur in Limestone Canyon,” said Kate. “It is my ideal single-track trail with a good climb and gorgeous surroundings.”
For more information about Irvine Ranch Conservancy and programs on Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks, visit