5 Organizations Protecting Natural Areas in California

With so many gorgeous mountains, miles of coastline, and awe-inspiring forests, California is truly a nature-lover's paradise. In order to keep it that way, we need to preserve and fight for the natural areas in the state. These organizations work with local communities to ensure future generations can enjoy the wildlife and open spaces that make California such a special place to live. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

5 Groups Preserving Nature in California

Organization Location
Sequoia Riverlands Trust Visalia
The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County Santa Barbara
Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District Santa Rosa
Peninsula Open Space Trust Palo Alto
Catalina Island Conservancy Avalon

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In Depth

California is a place of enormous topographical and ecological diversity, home to forests, mountains, farmlands, and a long coastline possessing critical natural resources. With the state of industry today, it's especially important that these areas are receiving the attention and care they require to be defended from harmful human development. Working valiantly to maintain the health of wildlife habitats, ensure accessibility to public land, and improve the overall ecosystem, here are, in no particular order, five organizations that preserve California's abundant natural areas.

Coming in at #1 is Sequoia Riverlands Trust, which works to safeguard and fortify the natural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley. Determined to preserve the cultural richness and beauty of the land for the benefit of future generations, it collaborates with landowners, farmers, and various other regional partners to implement land conservation projects throughout the South Central Valley. Moreover, SRT owns and operates seven nature preserves that protect thousands of acres of landscapes and wildlife habitats.

Among the essential areas SRT conserves are farms, rivers, valley oak groves, vernal pools, and endangered woodlands. In addition to utilizing stewardship strategies to restore and maintain these places, the organization uses advocacy to push for important policy reforms, and provides mitigation services to local governments and businesses. It also works to engage the public through a host of fun and educational outdoor programs, many of which are designed to supplement students' classroom curricula. Become an environmental steward by volunteering to work on an SRT project.

Become an environmental steward by volunteering to work on an SRT project.

For #2 we have The Land Trust for Santa Barbara County. Founded in 1985, this organization operates with the mission of protecting and maintaining agricultural land, wilderness, and natural resources throughout the county. Through partnerships with community groups and grant agencies, it establishes conservation and restoration plans, raises private contributions, and negotiates easements with property owners to acquire and secure land. In addition, it educates the public about ecological topics, offering field trips and other activities at its many preserves.

The Land Trust's projects help permanently sustain working farm and ranch lands, wildlife corridors, woodlands, and watersheds, among other significant historic, scenic, and agricultural spaces. Its habitat restoration efforts, meanwhile, improve the ecosystem by bolstering coastal creeks and wetlands, minimizing erosion, and quelling the spread of invasive plantlife. Thousands of acres of the organization's preserved areas, from coastal bluffs to marshes and ranches, are open to the public for hiking and community activities. You can assist The Land Trust by donating to its endowment fund, or by becoming a member.

Showing up at #3 is the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. With the understanding that land conservation is essential for the environmental, social, and economic welfare of communities, Ag + Open Space works to safeguard diverse natural areas, retain the county's unique pastoral character, and productively connect people to their surroundings through education and recreation. The District sustains over 100,000 acres of public and private land including ridgetops, hillsides, waterways, ranches, and other spaces that contribute to the wellbeing of people and wildlife.

With the understanding that land conservation is essential for the environmental, social, and economic welfare of communities, Ag + Open Space works to safeguard diverse natural areas, retain the county's unique pastoral character, and productively connect people to their surroundings through education and recreation.

Ag + Open Space carries out its mission through an organizational strategy of four integrated programs. Employing systems-based approaches, the Conservation Planning Program emphasizes data analysis, legislation, and civic relations and stakeholder engagement. The area of Land Acquisition is focused on conservation easements, transactions, and funding, while Stewardship involves the effective management of natural resources and infrastructure. Finally, Fiscal & Administrative measures ensure the District's taxpayer funds are being used responsibly and transparently. Join the Volunteer Patrol to help Ag + Open Space monitor and protect its properties.

For #4 we get Peninsula Open Space Trust, which strives to create an enduring network of protected open areas throughout the San Francisco Peninsula and South Bay. Working with numerous organizations and private owners, POST secures permanent spaces that include parks, farmland, and forests in Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Santa Clara counties, and conserves critical natural resources such as water, soil, and flora and fauna. Embracing the importance of ongoing stewardship, POST provides further wide-ranging care through infrastructure improvements and restoration projects.

POST operates through five core program areas that holistically address the regional ecosystem. These involve a range of efforts such as improving public land access, enhancing sustainable farming practices, and connecting lands to prevent human development from disrupting wildlife habitats. There's also a program devoted to safeguarding the area's vital redwood forests, as well as one that maintains the Coyote Valley, an undeveloped space that spans the Santa Cruz and Diablo mountain ranges. On top of these projects, the organization hosts many events such as lectures and group hikes. Contribute to a thriving environment by making a donation through POST's site.

Contribute to a thriving environment by making a donation through POST's site.

Finally, arriving at #5 is the Catalina Island Conservancy. One of Southern California's oldest private land trusts, the Conservancy preserves the majority of Catalina Island, including over sixty miles of undeveloped, publicly accessible beaches and coves. Its programs help restore and sustain endangered habitats, and protect the myriad unique plant and animal species that depend on them. Specific stewardship projects focus on areas such as fire recovery, vegetation restoration, and the support of the island's bald eagle population.

To further its mission, the Conservancy facilitates a variety of educational outreach and recreational activities that bring the public into a more knowledgable, intimate relationship with Catalina Island's natural splendor. Among its offerings are formal classes, casual outdoor experiences, guest lectures, and naturalist training programs. Additionally, visitors have plenty of opportunities for hiking, cycling, boating, and camping, plus the chance to see an array of native plants at the Wrigley Memorial & Botanic Garden. Join at your chosen membership level to support the Conservancy's many crucial operations.