FALLBROOK – Land donors and major contributors were celebrated at the Fallbrook Land Conservancy’s (FLC) 17th annual Emerald Grove Recognition Event in June.
Held at the Fallbrook home of Chris and Jacquie Pierson, guests enjoyed a reception and dinner, as well as brief presentations by members of the FLC’s board of directors. Chairman Will Shakespeare began the program by thanking Emerald Grove members for their ongoing support over the last 29 years.
Formed in 1988, the FLC “is in sound health and growing thanks to their generous contributions,” Shakespeare said.
Contributors to the conservancy qualify to be Emerald Grove members by donating land or $1,000 or more in a year. In 2016, there were nearly 40 organizations, businesses, couples and individuals who contributed funds at this level. Over the years, Emerald Grove members have generated more than $1 million in donations to the FLC.
Shakespeare also updated attendees on recent FLC events and activities, including the board’s application in January for the “level of accreditation,” a system of standards and practices created by the Land Trust Alliance, a national organization of land trusts. He acknowledged Mike Peters, the executive director and preserve manager, for his efforts in guiding the FLC’s board in this process, which takes a minimum of two years. It is an honor that has been awarded to only 384 out of 1,700 registered land trusts to date, according to Tom McCampbell, an LTA facilitator.
Shakespeare noted other ongoing projects, including Save Our Forest’s environmental education programs in elementary schools, and work with the Boys and Girls Club and with the Rotary clubs of Fallbrook. The Native Plant and Restoration Team, another committee of the FLC, has also continued the expansion of the Habitat Garden at the popular Los Jilgueros Preserve on South Mission Road with new plants to attract pollinators, and extensive new plantings in the area around the “Always Aspiring” spiraling hawk sculpture.
The FLC is also continuing to work with students enrolled in the Geographic Information System (GIS) program at Palomar Community College. Over the last three years, 12 different students have contributed maps of FLC preserves and trails, including Los Jilgueros and Monserate Mountain (downloadable from the FLC’s website), as well as a map of a seven-mile loop in Fallbrook’s downtown area, and six new maps of hiking trails. Next year, the FLC will extend the Palomar student program to include interns studying drone technology.
Susan Liebes, vice chair, also briefed attendees on a new project in collaboration with local businesses called Village Green. Details of the program will be unveiled on Wednesday, July 19 at a SunDowner reception co-hosted with Fallbrook’s Chamber of Commerce. The event will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the FLC’s historic Palomares House and Park.
Wallace Tucker, FLC co-founder and current chairman of the FLC’s Acquisitions and Stewardship Committee, gave an update on recent acquisitions and endowments, including a 54-acre preserve in Pauma Valley, plus 296 acres of conservation easements in Lakeside and Valley Center. The FLC now owns and manages 2,100 acres of open space, and holds conservation easements on another 956 acres.
Tucker also noted that Monserate Mountain, one of 11 nature preserves owned and managed by the FLC, now attracts more than 20,000 visitors annually, with Los Jilgueros averaging some 18,000 people.
“You, the Emerald Grove donors, have been vital to the health of the FLC,” Tucker told attendees, many of them longtime supporters of the organization since its inception. “And the FLC is vital for the health and general well-being of our community and our environment.”
To learn more, visit fallbrooklandconservancy.org.