Momentum blossoms following a recent land grant to the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy.
- Written byDiane E.
“In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous.” Those words written centuries ago by the immortal Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle aptly speak to the spirit of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy.
For more than 25 years, the conservancy has been committed to preserving open space on the peninsula and is currently the steward of more than 1,600 extraordinary coastal acres, including the recent grant of an 11½-acre easement from Donald Trump.
“Mr. Trump approached us about granting the easement, and the land conservancy now holds it in perpetuity. We are delighted that the land will remain undeveloped open space for coastal land preservation and the full benefit of the community,” says executive director Andrea Vona.
Looking toward the future, the conservancy’s staff, board of directors, donors and hundreds of volunteers share a collective vision: to create greater awareness and transform the nature preserve into all it can be. To accomplish this, supporting wildlife and a healthy ecosystem while maintaining a quality preserve are paramount.
“We are very focused on land stewardship, including reestablishing natural habitat,” says Andrea. “Many years ago much of the land was used for farming and agriculture, which degraded the natural landscape. Now we are working to restore its biodiversity and caring for the flora and fauna for people to enjoy every day.”
The restoration of the decades-old habitat deprivation is labor-intensive and a major undertaking that requires the support of a very hands-on community. Some of the 20,000 hours of multi-generational volunteer service provided each year is allocated to seed collection from native plants to cultivate and grow new plants in the conservancy’s nursery at the U.S. military Defense Fuel Support Point in San Pedro. With more than 60 species (the California sunflower, sagebrush and elderberry, to name a few), the nursery is a tremendous South Bay educational and environmental asset. Terranea Resort’s landscaping is a testimony to its importance, as many native plants thriving at the resort were transplanted from the nursery.
Key to the preservation of the reserve (which includes the 1,000 contiguous acres of the Three Sisters, Filiorum, Portuguese Bend and Forrestal reserves) is the recently formed volunteer trail watch program. Local volunteers help monitor nearly 40 miles of trails, including some that are designated for hiking, horseback riding, biking, dog walking and other pedestrian activities.
“They are the eyes and ears of the preserve for the land conservancy and the city of Rancho Palos Verdes,” says Andrea. “They note what they see and also engage with people to help educate them about nature preserve consideration and etiquette.”
With education and fundraising at the forefront of the charity’s day-to-day operations, numerous workshops, field trips, special events and other community activities are calendared every year. An especially notable event is the annual Palos Verdes Pastoral garden-to-table fundraiser and moonlit dining experience at Terranea Resort, which will be held October 18.
The conservancy also launched an annual “Beauty of Nature” film series in 2014. Past screenings on the peninsula and in San Pedro have included More than Honey about the plight of the disappearing honeybee population, Yosemite: A Gathering of Spirit celebrating the 150th year of U.S. national parks and a surfing film entitled Riding Giants.
The 2015 film presentations run through November and will include screenings of Renoir, about the life of renowned pleinair painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir (June 13), and Chasing Ice, a photojournalist’s story about the world’s changing glaciers (July 19).
As it reaps the benefits of great community support, the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy sows immeasurable gifts of kindness to the earth, beautification, partnership, experiential education, scenic enjoyment and enhancement of property values in return. More than 100,000 preserve visitors annually revel in year-round nature walks, an immense outdoor classroom, empowerment through volunteerism, and nourishment for the mind and soul that can only be found in the solitude of nature.
To volunteer or donate, visit pvplc.org.