Plantings at Cieneguitas Creek.
Since 2010, in partnership with the San Marcos Foothills Coalition and the County of Santa Barbara, CIR has been proud to work on several restoration projects at the 200-acre San Marcos Foothills Preserve in Santa Barbara, one of the most ecologically significant open public spaces in the county.  The Preserve is located in the foothills between Santa Barbara and Goleta, and is a County open space.  Funding in recent years for these projects was provided by REI and the San Marcos Foothills Coalition.  These projects were designed to improve the native plant communities that provide resources to the native animal species, as well as enhance the public experience along trails.

Volunteers at the Spring near the Antone Road entrance.
In the last six months at the Preserve, CIR has held 12 volunteer events and over 250 volunteers have donated their time and energy on this public trail enhancement project.  CIR staff, board members, and volunteers have removed several invasive plant species at the Spring, a natural fresh water source, and at restoration sites along Atascadero and Cieneguitas Creeks.  Over 50 native Purple Needlegrass plants have also been planted by CIR and volunteers by the Preserve trailhead at Via Gaitero Road.  Four UC Santa Barbara organizations: Alpha Phi Omega Psi Chapter, Wildlife Society, Naked Voices, and the Hermanas Unidas brought groups of energetic and diligent students to battle these non-native plants.  Groups from Stanford Alumni, the SB Rotaract Club, San Marcos High School AAPLE Program, and SB School of Squash have also joined in restoring this beautiful Preserve.  REI provided free REI Stewardship 2015 t-shirts and REI store coupons to volunteers who participated in these habitat restoration events.  In the near future, we will be spreading mulch in preparation for winter rains.  

Lupinus succulentus (Arroyo lupine) at the Preserve.
CIR has also held 3 educational tours since January.  Biologist Mark Holmgren led two bird walks in January and February of 2015, and gave participants an opportunity to view resident and migratory birds and other wildlife, and how they use the land we are working to preserve.  CIR’s Executive Director Ken Owen led a plant walk in March of 2015, and participants experienced the many plant species of California native wildflowers in bloom.  Wayne Ferren, CIR’s Principal Ecologist, also led a walk for the California Naturalist program in November of 2014.  These fun educational tours were offered free as a part of a developing docent program, and CIR hopes to offer more educational walks in the future!

Upcoming volunteer opportunities at the San Marcos Foothills
Preserve from 9AM—12:30PM:
Saturday, August 22
&
Saturday, September 26

Volunteers pose at the Via Gaitero Road entrance.