(Photograph Courtesy Of The Irvine Ranch Conservancy)
Irvine Ranch Conservancy Celebrates National Public Lands Day September 24
Volunteer for Stewardship Programs on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks during September in honor of National Public Lands Day
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. (August 29, 2016) – Irvine Ranch Conservancy is celebrating the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks and its stewardship programs during the month of September, in honor of National Public Lands Day – traditionally held one day on . This national movement is being repurposed into a monthlong campaign to encourage environmental stewardship, education, and recreation on the Landmarks. Outdoor enthusiasts can join the celebration by registering for stewardship programs that offer an opportunity to explore the land while giving back to the environment.
“National Public Lands Day is an important chance for the community to care for our local wildlands, but there are opportunities every single day to steward the Landmarks,” said Michael O’Connell, Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director. “There is nothing more rewarding than knowing you’ve had a personal impact on protecting rare and endangered plants and animals, and we’re excited to connect more people to the National and State Landmark in their own backyard.”
Stewardship programs on the Landmarks are offered by landowners such as OC Parks, the City of Irvine, and the City of Newport Beach, and are managed by partner organizations including the Conservancy. Staff and volunteers help protect and restore the natural resources of the Landmarks by removing invasive weeds, planting native seedlings, harvesting seeds from wildflowers, and more. Stewardship programs also combat the adverse effects of off-trail use, and foster a love of the land by giving the public a direct, personal connection to the open space. Stewardship programs on the Landmarks encompass a wide variety of interests, locations, and difficulty levels. Examples include:
Adopt A Canyon – Agua Chinon is a longer-term program in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve that connects the community to a local canyon across four seasons. Volunteers engage in plant identification, invasive weed removal, and help plant native seedlings throughout the year, allowing stewards to watch their efforts come full circle.
Native Seed Farm activities give volunteers hands-on interaction with native plant species. Volunteers plant native seedlings, weed, and harvest seeds from native wildflowers, all of which directly benefit habitat restoration sites throughout the Landmarks.
Santiago Oaks Stewardship programs in Santiago Oaks Regional Park offer those who enjoy the outdoors an opportunity to leave their local parks better than they found them. Volunteers work closely with Park Rangers to combat the effects hiking, biking and riding off-trail have on native flora and fauna.
A complete list of all stewardship programs offered on the Landmarks can be found here.
Irvine Ranch Conservancy will celebrate National Public Lands Day further with a social media photo-sharing contest. Nature lovers are invited to like Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks on Facebook, and then share a photo of themselves caring for or giving back to the open space in the comment section of the specified contest post. One winner will be chosen at random to win a canvas portrait of The Sinks in Limestone Canyon.
Stewardship programs on the Landmarks offer the community an opportunity to protect and enhance the natural resources of the open space, and ensure the local wildlands are around for future generations to enjoy. All docent-led stewardship programs on the Landmarks are free and open to the public with required pre-registration. No experience is necessary, and all tools and training are provided. Volunteers should bring water, sunscreen, and a light snack. For more information on the Landmarks and stewardship programs, visit LetsGoOutside.org/activities.