Laguna Canyon Foundation is thrilled to announce our participation in the second annual i❤oc Giving Day! Join us from 6 am on April 27 to noon on April 28, 2016 to “Give Where Your Heart Lives” and celebrate and support Orange County nonprofits.
i❤oc is a thirty-hour online giving day hosted by the Orange County Community Foundation that brings together over 400 participating nonprofits – including Laguna Canyon Foundation! Show your love by supporting us on April 27th and 28th through our i❤oc website (link coming soon). Your donation will provide vital support to Laguna Canyon Foundation’s programs, including:
- Our education program, which offers FREE standards-based nature programs to thousands of students from eleven Orange County Title 1 schools
- Our trails program, which works hand in hand with Orange County Parks staff to improve and maintain our seventy-mile network of trails in Laguna Coast and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Parks
- Our volunteer program, which served 350,000 park visitors last year over nearly 7,000 volunteer hours, and offers approximately thirty free public programs per month to Orange County residents and visitors alike
All donations through i❤oc are tax-deductible, and your donation goes directly to Laguna Canyon Foundation. Plus, OCCF offers a bonus pool providing a percentage match of all donations made – and donating to LCF through the i❤oc website on Giving Day gives us a chance to win additional prizes of up to $5,000!
Visit the i❤oc website for more information, and keep watching the LCF blog and Facebook page for our Giving Day website link and more information on prizes, how to participate, and easy ways to spread the word!
Since 2008, Laguna Canyon Foundation has partnered with Aliso Viejo’s Soka University of America to offer student internships in the spring and fall. While internships are offered in a variety of roles, including work in the Native Plant Nursery and the LCF offices, most of the internships offered focus on restoration, allowing students to gain firsthand experience in environmental fieldwork and habitat conservation.
LCF’s Spring 2016 restoration interns will be taking part in their first restoration activity this weekend. Under the supervision of LCF Restoration Coordinator Matthew Sutton, they will be removing Sahara mustard plants from Park Avenue in the City of Laguna Beach. Sahara mustard is an extremely invasive, non-native species of mustard. It grows quickly, crowding out native plants, and is self-pollinating, with the largest plants producing up to 16,000 seeds each season. The photos below show the before and after of Sahara mustard invasion in the Mojave desert. The “before” picture (on the left) shows the original native creosote and desert dandelion, while the “after” picture (on the right) shows the bleaker, less diverse landscape of creosote overgrown by Sahara mustard.
Sahara mustard is already widespread throughout the southwestern desert regions of the United States and Mexico, but it’s only recently been introduced to Laguna Canyon. Laguna Canyon Foundation’s goal is to eliminate the first small, introductory pockets of Sahara mustard before it gains a foothold in our canyons and threatens to overrun native species and transform fragile, diverse native habitat into a sea of dry, flammable Sahara mustard.
Past restoration activities with Soka interns have been very successful, including last fall’s project working on restoration and native plantings at Aliso Creek. Welcome to all our new interns – we’re glad to have you on board!
After months of work and planning with the Laguna Beach City Council, Laguna Canyon Foundation is excited to announce that our lease of the DeWitt House on Laguna Canyon Road has been approved!
The City acquired the DeWitt property in 1990 through the California Wildlife, Coastal, and Park Land Conservation Act, and LCF has been doing restoration work there since 2014. Heavy rainfall in 2010 exposed a debris field on the property, uphill of the house. The debris was the result of 20 years of garbage burning by residents back in the 1950s and 1960s. After the waste was removed, the City hired LCF to restore the property to its previous state. While the remediation is complete, LCF continues to work on restoration and monitoring at the site.
The house on the property is unoccupied and in need of repairs, but now that the lease has been signed, we’ll be starting the planning process for the restoration and renovation of the house. The renovated house will serve as LCF’s offices – actually located in the canyons for the first time in its history. Other plans for the property include a new native plant nursery, landscaping using native plants, and an outdoor area for public programs. It’ll take a lot of time and work to get there, but we’re very excited to be moving closer to the canyons and the open space we’re committed to protecting!
This month’s Keep It Wild volunteer day, co-hosted by Laguna Canyon Foundation and OC Parks, must have broken a record for attendance with 62 volunteers participating! In fact, we had so many participants that we had to divide the event into two projects to maximize the effectiveness of our generous labor force.
One group of 23 volunteers helped break up and reseed an old, unauthorized trail in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. This was arduous, challenging work, but everyone rose to the occasion. All of the volunteers carried tools or 6-foot wattles up this steep canyon trail. One crew dug up 1300 feet of trail using only picks. Once the packed soil was loosened, other crews raked, seeded, and tamped the seeds into the soil. With a little rain, this old trail will transform into wildlife-friendly chaparral habitat.
Our other group of 38 volunteers worked on restoring part of large meadow in Laguna Canyon that has been heavily invaded by non-native grasses and other weeds. Volunteers removed weeds including mustard, hemlock, thistle, and cheeseweed. They also planted several oak trees. In the near future, we hope this weedy meadow will return to the mixture of oak woodland and coastal sage scrub habitat that existed there prior to disturbances such as cattle grazing.
This was a great demonstration of the positive collaboration between LCF and O.C. Parks. Altogether four OC Parks staff, three LCF staff, and four LCF volunteers helped to coordinate and manage these activities. We look forward to many more opportunities to work alongside community members in restoring our beautiful canyon habitats. Thank you to EVERYONE who came out and joined us!
Take a break from the hustle of the holidays, and get outside! Take a hike, get in a ride, maybe even go for a trail run and make room for an extra piece of pumpkin pie. And while you’re out in the hillsides, smelling the coastal sage and watching the birds, take a moment to remember how very lucky we are to have such incredible open space right here in crowded Orange County. And how lucky you are to be able to be in it.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy 2016 from Laguna Canyon Foundation. Feel lucky, feel blessed, and be a part of making our parks better. Give your end of year gift to Laguna Canyon Foundation today.
And remember to check our Calendar of Events and join us out on the trail!
Twenty-five years ago, a few dedicated people formed Laguna Canyon Foundation with one primary mission: to buy open space and save it from development. We’ve done an incredible job preserving land, and in fact, there are only about 350 acres remaining to add to our greenbelt.
Now, in 2015, there’s no doubt in my mind that we’re at a watershed moment. It’s time to expand beyond preserving the land and move into protecting it. Protecting it from what? Simple. It’s time to protect this land from being loved to death. The number of people in our parks has tripled over the last five years. People are flocking from all over the country, and in fact, from all over the globe, to ride our trails and hike in our canyon.
Once again, we need to come together to protect what we all love. To work together to enhance our parks, improve our trails, and make our coastal canyons even more beautiful. Your gift to Laguna Canyon Foundation goes a long way. In fact:
- $5,000 will fix ¼ mile of tread
- $1,000 will plant 100 coastal sage scrub plants
- $500 brings an entire classroom of kids into the open space
- $100 installs one grade reversal
- $50 grows a California sagebrush from seed to mature
We hope you’ll join us this year in the fight to keep the land you love wild and pristine!
Give the Gift of Open Space
Join Laguna Canyon Foundation as we celebrate 25 years of working to protect the open space we all love. We’ll be dancing to live bluegrass at the Nix Nature Center, enjoying Laguna Beach Beer Company’s Laguna Canyon Road brew, and great food! You can even win a locals only ultimate staycation at the Ranch at Laguna Beach.
Bring your kids, your friends and your family! Kids free, adults $30. Buy your tickets today!