Calling All Houses of Worship: Free Solar Workshop

sally-bingham-solarThe Orange County Interfaith Coalition for the Environment (OCICE) in partnership with California Interfaith Power & Light (CIPL) is providing a “Solar Nights” workshop. In a non-pressure environment, the workshop will provide “up-to-date & valuable information to assist congregations who are ready to go solar, or just curious!”

For those congregations that are ready to go solar, the workshop will provide practical options that will help them save money. And for those congregations that are not sure if solar is the right option for them, the workshop will provide information that will help them decide.  It’s open to all–church leaders, laypersons, or the just plain curious. In addition, it’s free.

church-of-the-foothills-location-mapHere are the basics:

Date: Thursday, February 9, 2012

Time: 7 pm - 9pm

Location: Church of the Foothills, 19211 Dodge Avenue, Santa Ana, CA  92705

Cost: Free (A free will offering to cover the cost of printed program materials will be accepted.)

RSVP and Questions:
Allis Druffel, 310-752-3436

Deborah Strunk, 714-809-6166

Additional information is available on the OCICE flyer.

Photo: Reverend Canon Sally Bingham of Interfaith Power & Light

Our Backyard Playground: The Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark

“[O]nly in California can you see a 40,000-acre Natural Landmark right in th midle of one of the nation’s most vibrant and economically important urban areas.”–Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger


The National Natural Landmark program gives federal recognition to both private and public land that shows examples of the best biological and geological features that exist in the United States. Fewer than 600 areas in the United States have been designated as National Natural Landmarks. One of them is right in “our backyard.”

In 2006, the Department of the Interior designated approximately 40,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch as one of these rare locations. The Irvine Ranch was once one of the largest working ranches in the United States and covered much of Orange County, not just Irvine. Today, the Irvine Ranch covers about 93,000 acres of Orange County land. The Irvine Ranch Conservancy is about 50,000 acres of that 93,000 acres.

On Earth Day 2008, this area received a similar designation from the State of California. Under a new program that recognizes stewardship of both public and private land that contains important animal life, plant life and geological features, the State of California designed this area as the first California Natural Landmark.

“The landscape is home to hundreds of species of plants and animals, including eagles, badgers, mountain lions, Tecate cypress trees, and many rare species of birds, reptiles, amphibians and plants. Scientists have identified this region as one of the world’s biodiversity “hot spots” an area with large concentrations of species found nowhere else.”

For a look at the locations that are included in the Irvine Ranch National Natural Landmark (such as the San Joaquin Marsh, the Mountains to Sea Trail, Laguna Coast, and Irvine Regional Park) as well as the activities available at these locations, click here. For a look at an Irvine Company YouTube video of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmark, click here.

Graphic of Upper Newport Bay Courtesy the Irvine Ranch Conservancy

Tomorrow: a look at homes on the market in Eastside Costa Mesa

Update: For more on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmark as well as information on National Natural Landmarks, see these posts: “Take a Day Trip Orange County Style” and “Take a Long Weekend Trip Orange County Style.”

South Coast Plaza’s Spring Garden Show—and Earth Day

southcoastlaza-springgardenshow1A few weeks ago, I wrote about the IBC, Irvine’s mixed-use, live-work-play district. In the future, I will write about Costa Mesa’s mixed-use, live-work-play district, South Coast Metro. South Coast Metro includes Costa Mesa’s arts and cultural center as well as South Coast Plaza, a shopping mall that includes international and local shoppers.

More on all that later. Today, I am going to concentrate on South Coast Plaza’s Annual Garden Showespecially some of the events that are appropriate for Earth Day, which is Wednesday. Many seminars and talks are available, but the following are particularly appropriate for Earth Day.  Some of the topics include composting, planting a victory garden, and lowering garden water use and, therefore, your water bill.

Thursday, April 23, 4:00 pm, Annuals and Perennials; and Practice Urban Composting

The University of California Master Gardeners of Orange County present Annuals and Perennials, discuss plants that flourish in Orange County gardens and Practical Urban Composting, home composting de-mystified, and From Garden to Table, how to plant your own Victory Garden in 2009.

Friday, April 24, 2009, 10:00 am, Gardening Green in Orange County

Ron Vanderhoff, Nursery General Manager, Roger’s Gardens and weekly columnist for the Daily Pilot, The Coastal Gardener, will give a comprehensive overview of the green issues related to gardening including, water conservation and runoff, coastal pollution, invasive plant issues and green waste concerns. He will also discuss plant selections, sustainable designs, new irrigation techniques and technology, water harvesting and composting.

Saturday, April 25, 2009, 2:30 pm, Protecting the Pacific

Douglas Kent, Author and Environmental Horticulture, Landscape Designer discusses his unique strategy for creating landscapes that help breathe life into our ocean and waterways. Kent, a successful environmental horticulturalist and landscape designer will discuss design strategies, illustrate construction ideas, and provide a wealth of maintenance tips that, when combined, will either stop and/or clean the water running off your property

Sunday, April 26, 2009, 3:30 pm, Earth Friendly Landscape Designs

Rama Nayeri, owner Creations Landscape Designs, describes the many, easy and cost effective ways to significantly reduce water and grocery bills by having an earth friendly landscape design that will combine beauty of the natural environment and improve the community.

South Coast Plaza’s annual spring garden show runs this week from Thursday, April 23, through Sunday, April 26. For a look at all the South Coast Plaza events, which includes demonstration gardens and children’s events, see the event calendar.

Tomorrow: a look at the numbers for Irvine’s University Town Center homes

Wednesday, Earth Day: a look at some National Natural Landmark spots that are suitable for a day or long-weekend trip