Volunteer Program Descriptions
One of the most rewarding ways to experience the beauty of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks is as a volunteer. Volunteers have a crucial role in the land, whether it is serving as docent-guides on a mountain-bike ride through Fremont Canyon, teaching middle school students about ecosystems in Limestone Canyon, helping to maintain a trail near Bommer Canyon or planting oaks near Weir Canyon.
Volunteers are always needed; there are many ways to participate:
Volunteer docents help lead interpretive nature tours (hikes, mountain-bike rides, equestrian rides) throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. These tours are offered at different levels, from easy strolls through wooded meadows to strenuous rides up mountain peaks.
People interested in becoming docents are required to first take the Naturalist Training class offered throughout the year at Saddleback College, Fullerton College, and Santiago Canyon College. The class provides information about local habitats as well as the different agencies that manage them, and is highly recommended for everyone, even those not interested in volunteering. Upon completion of the class, potential docents can apply to the Irvine Ranch Conservancy to become a docent or to other organizations such as Laguna Canyon Foundation or Newport Bay Naturalists and Friends. Interested individuals should submit a volunteer interest and information form.
Volunteer Trail Guides assist Docents with interpretive nature tours (including hikes, mountain-bike rides and equestrian rides). They also help with program registration, group management, setup and cleanup, and act as sweeps (the last one in line) during public nature and recreation programs. Ideally Trail Guides would work their way toward to becoming Docents as they become more familiar with the land, although this is not a requirement. Interested individuals should submit a volunteer interest and information form.
Volunteer Trail Bosses assist in managment, maintenance and creation of trails. After training and certification, Trail Bosses supervise and lead groups of volunteers on trail maintenance activities. If you’re interested in this specialized and very important volunteer function, please submit a volunteer interest and information form.
Land Steward/Citizen Scientist
A very special way to get involved in helping care for the land is through the Land Stewards program. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy and its partners conduct stewardship days throughout the year to pull weeds, plant native plants and manage habitats. These projects are often led by Lead Land Stewards, who receive special training in supervising groups of volunteers. Projects include exotic weed removal, wildlife studies, cleanup days, nursery maintenance and seed collecting and planting. Citizen Scientist Volunteers are guided by IRC’s scientists and field managers, and can get involved in many projects including wildlife monitoring and human access management, post-fire surveys and many other research projects to gather information to help manage the land. You don’t have to be a scientist to participate!
For more information on either Land Stewards or Citizen Science opportunities, email us or to become a Land Steward click here.
Fire Watch Volunteers
Become a trained Fire Watch volunteer and join a network of dedicated volunteers and organizations such as the Irvine Ranch Conservancy, Orange County Fire Authority, the County of Orange, local cities, the State Parks and local Fire Safe Councils. Fire Watch is a community partnership to deter and report behaviors that could lead to fire, and to spot fires quickly if they start. Recent events in Southern California have shown that wildfires are a challenge for the entire community, not just the Fire Department. Communities must work together to prevent future fires – especially neighborhoods bordering wildlands. **There are no fire fighting duties for Fire Watch volunteers, strictly prevention and providing a visual presence to deter unwanted behaviors on Red Flag days. To become a trained Fire Watch volunteer click here.
Volunteers are always welcome for general purposes. For example, to stay closely connected to the communities it serves, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy and other partners regularly participate in festivals and promotional events throughout the year. These events provide numerous excellent volunteer opportunities. We also welcome volunteers who can help with clerical work and other general tasks. Interested individuals should submit a Volunteer Interest and Information form.
For more information send us an email.