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Irvine Ranch Conservancy Begins New Restoration Project in Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve

Five hundred locally sourced acorns to be planted in OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon as an ongoing effort to maintain valuable oak woodlands

Since 2005, Irvine Ranch Conservancy (IRC) has made it their mission to help preserve and restore natural habitats found throughout the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks. The Conservancy was recently approved to plant 500 acorns at the Augustine Staging Area Nursery in Limestone Canyon, which will then be transferred to OC Parks’ Limestone Canyon Nature Preserve to support the valuable oak woodland habitats that support wildlife throughout the area.

The acorns, collected by Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff and volunteers, are locally sourced from oak trees throughout the area, giving them a greater chance of success due to acclimation to local climate and soil. After the acorns are collected, they will be planted at the Augustine Nursery, where IRC staff and volunteers will tend and grow the acorns to seedlings until they are ready for planting on the land.

“These oak woodlands are an important habitat in Limestone Canyon and must be maintained in order for other native plants and animals to thrive,” said Matt Garrambone, Irvine Ranch Conservancy Program Director. “With the community’s support we hope these acorns will grow into majestic oak trees that we can all enjoy for years to come.”

Once all 500 acorns are prepped at the Augustine Nursery, they will grow into seedlings that will then be transferred to Limestone Canyon for planting. With the help of Conservancy staff and volunteers, the acorn seedlings will be cared for over the next few months, with a goal of being planted on the land at the end of the year. The planted seedlings will continue to be monitored until they grow into trees, which should take approximately three to five years.

“We’re inviting the community to play a crucial role in this new restoration project,” said Irvine Ranch Conservancy Program Coordinator Matilde De Santiago. “Community members can sign up for activities online and will have the opportunity to see the project through, as the seedlings grow from acorn to tree.”

Irvine Ranch Conservancy invites nature lovers to get involved with this new project by lending a hand during stewardship activities at the Augustine Nursery. Whether you have an experienced green thumb or are simply looking to connect with the land, community members will help with weeding, watering, mulching, transferring and planting seedlings, and more! This will be a rare opportunity for the community to help Conservancy staff see a restoration project through from start to finish. Those interested can sign up for monthly activities offered on The first two public activities for this project will be held on Thursday, February 13 and Thursday, March 12 from 9:30 – 11 a.m.

The public can experience the beauty of Limestone Canyon, the future home of these acorn seedlings, during upcoming Wilderness Access Days offered through the Let’s Go Outside website. Wilderness Access Days give visitors of all skill levels a chance to explore the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks at their own pace through self-guided access.

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