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Irvine Ranch Conservancy Volunteers Awarded for Service in Buck Gully

PictureVolunteers in Buck Gully

Since forming in 2005, Irvine Ranch Conservancy has relied on the help of its volunteers to protect and preserve the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. From habitat restoration to leading public activities, IRC volunteers play a crucial role in caring for the land and connecting people to these natural resources.
Every year, the California Parks and Recreation Society awards local residents for their outstanding efforts in volunteerism. We are proud to have three Irvine Ranch Conservancy volunteers nominated this year for their incredible efforts at Buck Gully in the City of Newport Beach.

Peter Ridley has been volunteering with the Conservancy since 2011 and is known by many as the “Buck Gully whisperer.” As a local living in the area, Peter knows Buck Gully like the back of his hand. When IRC helped the City of Newport Beach open the Buck Gully trails, Peter volunteered to make this unique trail system a personal project. He began regularly leading public activities in the area, along with other activities throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. Anyone who has participated in one of Peter’s guided hikes has experienced his vast knowledge of local flora, fauna and cultural history – from butterflies to canyon history, he knows it all. Even when Peter isn’t guiding groups through the trails, he still finds a way to connect people to the land. He has been an integral part of the Buck Gully public outreach campaign, helping IRC partner organizations promote their activities on the Landmarks via the LetsGoOutside website. He is a treasure we consider priceless.
John Brown is a trail manager’s dream, with a valuable combination of skills and experience. He can do anything from educating the public during activities to working solo on restoration projects for hours on end. He spends most of his time bravely battling poison oak in Newport Beach’s hidden treasure, ensuring the Buck Gully trail system is free of the itch-inducing plant and keeping the area safe for public recreation. He has spent nearly 500 hours of volunteer time in Newport on restoration and invasive removal alone. In addition to tackling poison oak, John works on behalf of Irvine Ranch Conservancy to combat invasive species in Big Canyon and Fremont Canyon. Even when he is not volunteering, John can be found on the Landmarks supporting public activities during a mountain bike ride or Wilderness Access Day.
Richard Dryden has been diligently volunteering in Buck Gully at every activity scheduled since the beginning of the Water-Wise Restoration Project. Helping maintain the restoration site in Buck Gully and giving hundreds of hours of his time to the project, Richard is known as an IRC superstar for his enduring support of the Landmarks. No matter the assignment, Richard is always ready and eager to walk long distances or up steep hills to hand pull hundreds of Russian thistle seedlings. Other volunteers and community members can always count on Richard’s understated sense of humor to provide some relief when work gets tough.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy is eternally grateful for its tremendous volunteers who dedicate their time to maintain the natural resources in our community! For more information about volunteering on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks visit