The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, the focus of this week's nonprofit spotlight, is an organization founded in 1988 and dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the peninsula.
Communications manager Louise Olfarnes recently answered a few questions about the organization's activities.
Palos Verdes Patch: What is the main purpose of your organization?
Louise Olfarnes: The mission of the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy (PVPLC) is to "preserve land and restore habitat for the enjoyment and education of all."
The Conservancy preserves undeveloped land as open space for historical, educational, ecological, recreational and scenic purposes. Since its founding in 1988, the Conservancy has successfully preserved 1,600 acres of open space on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The Conservancy's vision is the creation and management of large blocks of natural open space where visitors may enjoy peaceful solitude, where children and adults can learn about the natural environment, and where native plants and animals can thrive.
Patch: Does your organization host any big or important events?
Olfarnes: The Conservancy hosts a full calendar of popular activities, volunteer workdays, training programs, and special events throughout the year, including:
- Nature walks, bird walks, and night hikes on the preserves
- Special topic events and workshops
- Volunteer workdays on the trails and at the nursery
- Trail crew training for outdoor volunteers
- Environmental education programs at White Point Nature Education Center
- Family activities at George F. Canyon Nature Center
- White Point Home Tour
- Palos Verdes Pastoral: Garden-to-Table Dining Experience
Patch: So far, what has been the defining moment of PVPLC?
Olfarnes: The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy is proud to be entering its 25th Year Anniversary in 2013. Twenty-five years ago, the community came together to that chooses natural lands over asphalt, forming the Conservancy. The Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy has created a wilderness expanse along the rugged and scenic Peninsula shoreline. The restoration of scarce coastal vegetation is revitalizing the long term survival of endangered and rare species such as the cactus wren and Palos Verdes blue butterfly that we are committed to protect.
By helping to maintain and improve the trail system and provide maps that guide the public onto approved-use paths, we are reaching out to the public to use the Preserves in a balanced and responsible way.
Thousands of adults and children visit the preserves every year to learn about the land and its history and to explore the natural wonders of this wilderness area.
Patch: If someone gave PVPLC $1 million with no strings attached, what would it be used for?
Olfarnes: We would do many things:
- Acquire or facilitate the acquisition of appropriate land from willing sellers to add to the open space on the Peninsula
- Preserve these lands in perpetuity through the establishment and monitoring of conservation easements
- Improve the quality of the habitat through restoration projects, which includes invasive plant control, seeding and planting native species
- Provide recreational opportunities including hiking, horseback riding and biking on the 40 miles of trails on the Preserves. Enhance visitors’ experience by maintaining trails, providing key access portals, trail guides and appropriate signage.
- Lead the effort to insure a balance between the conservation requirements and recreational use of the Preserves
- Work with local, state and national organizations & government agencies to acquire, preserve and maintain the land
- Create awareness of the Preserves as “Destination” locations – where the public is welcome to take advantage of multiple out-door uses and educational opportunities to learn about coastal geology, best restoration practices, drought resistant gardens and fire resistive landscape planning.
- Connect the community, including our youth, to the Preserves through both public and school based programs:
- The Conservancy’s docent-led walks allow the public to explore and experience this unique coastal landscape.
- Over 4,000 students a year, mostly from disadvantaged schools in the Los Angeles area, go through classes tied to the California State Standards for Science curriculum. Programming is provided at two Nature Centers on the Preserves with field trips into the adjoining wilderness areas.
- A comprehensive web site, frequent information emails and a quarterly newsletter encourages people to be involved and supportive of our progress.
- Establish and grow a robust fundraising operation and endowment fund to address the annual and long-range requirements of the Conservancy
- Recruit and train docents & volunteers to lead nature walks and other support and outreach activities
- Hire and train a highly qualified staff for the restoration, education, communications and fund-raising activities.
- Recruit and support a strong and diverse Board of Directors to guide the on-going operation and strategic direction of the organization
Patch: What makes the Palos Verdes Peninsula special?
Olfarnes: The Conservancy works cooperatively with the four cities in which the preserved lands are located: Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, Rolling Hills Estates and San Pedro (City of Los Angeles). In collaboration with these cities, we hold voluntary conservation easements and manage the public open spaces. The Conservancy’s successful approach to land protection has been endorsed by both public and private sector advocates.
Stewardship staff and crew, with the support of hundreds of volunteers year-round, restore native habitat on these properties and protects rare and threatened native species such as the California gnatcatcher and Palos Verdes blue butterfly.
Patch: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about PVPLC?
Olfarnes: Our key values are:
- Strong community involvement and support of our work
- Our obligation to maintain or increase the habitat value of preserved lands
- Helping people to appreciate and enjoy the preserved land by providing volunteer and educational opportunities
- Making the land available for public use in perpetuity
For more information on the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, visit the website at pvplc.org.
This article is part of a series spotlighting the various nonprofit and community organizations around the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Are you a representative of a great local nonprofit? Fill out this form. To be notified whenever we post a new article in the series, click the "Keep me posted" button below.