I’ve always been an outdoors person, and I love going hiking and exploring in Southern California’s beautiful wild lands, mountains, and deserts. Long before I entered politics, I served as a volunteer Ranger with the Orange County Park Ranger Reserve. This past week, I had the pleasure of talking with Irvine Ranch Conservancy Executive Director Michael O’Connell last week during a ZOOM meeting Town Hall.
The Irvine Ranch Conservancy is a non-profit, non-advocacy organization, committed to the highest possible standards of long-term land stewardship. Based in Orange County, California, the mission of the IRC is to ensure the protection, restoration and enhancement of the natural resources of the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks forever and to provide diverse opportunities for public participation by conducting and supporting scientific, recreational and educational initiatives and programs.
Michael O’Connell, Irvine Ranch Conservancy President and Executive Director, oversees all aspects of stewardship, public programs and business operations for the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. He has 25 years experience in land protection and conservation science including senior positions with The Nature Conservancy and World Wildlife Fund. He has served on the Board of Governors of the Society for Conservation Biology, and the Advisory Board of the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara. He is currently on the Dean’s Leadership Council for the School of Biological Sciences at UC Irvine. Michael has co-authored two books on conservation and a number of scientific and popular articles. He has a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Carleton College and a Master’s in Conservation Biology from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
After we talk about the history and the special character of this incredible land, Mike leads us on a tour of this incredible natural resource in our backyard.
Watch our Town Hall on the Irvine Ranch Conservancy here: