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Landmarks Focus: What is Stewardship

PictureVolunteers help at the Native Seed Farm

The Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are home to hundreds of native species of plants and animals, both common and rare. In fact, scientists have identified this region as one of the world’s biodiversity “hot spots”, meaning this is one of the few areas in the world with such a high concentration of different species. Made up primarily of Chaparral and Coastal Sage Scrub ecosystems, the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are symbolic of what Southern California looked like before large populations of people moved in. It is no secret that the growth of urban areas surrounding the lands have reduced the available habitat for native plants and animals, but that doesn’t mean we should give up on them… that’s where stewardship comes in.

Both the website and the Summer Activity Guide have an entire section dedicated to stewardship activities, but many people often ask “what is stewardship?” Stewardship is the concept of caring for and managing something, and since most of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks are publicly owned lands it is our collective responsibility to manage and care for these amazing places. Stewardship on the lands can take many forms; from removing invasive and harmful plants, to harvesting seeds on the Native Seed Farm. Even participating in the Fire Watch program is an act of good stewardship. Stewardship activities are designed to give everyone an opportunity to give back to these beautiful lands so we can make sure the plants and animals that call them home continue to thrive. 

“Your time volunteering really does matter,” says Rachel Lambert, Seed Farm Stewardship Coordinator at the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. “Good stewardship is the way we fix our problems as a planet – together, and over the long term”. These lands truly are spectacular, and through good stewardship we can ensure that future generations will have a chance to revel in their natural beauty for years to come.