Calendar

Programs are open to the general public, groups, & Reserve supporters.

All events specify a minimum age for participation.

  • Eight (8) is the minimum age for most Reserve events.
  • Some events require participants to be ages 12 & up.
  • FAMILY events welcome children aged 6 & up.
  • Refer to specific event listing for details.
  • Be sure to review our age limit policy.

Pre-registration required for all programs.

  • Contact us for large groups or to arrange a special group outing.
  • Your registration enables us to contact you about program changes or cancellations. Please see our policy on Cancellations and Refunds.
  • All visitors to The Reserve must present a signed release waiver upon entry to the property. Families may submit a single form, as long as all entrants are identified on the form. Waivers are also available at the event.

After School Community Service

Join our staff for monthly after school service hours at the beautiful Reserve Headquarters on the Ortega Highway, nestled between the San Juan Creek and foothills covered in oak woodlands. The service project site hosts school field trips, summer camps and other programs. Maintaining the space allows for a safer and more enjoyable experience for all of its visitors. Earn volunteer service hours while giving back to the community!

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided. We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Thursday, November 15.

When: November 16, 2018, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Where: The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo Headquarters
Information: Available Spaces: 19 (out of 20)
  • Volunteer - ages 16 and older: Free
  • Volunteer - under age of 16 (must be accompanied by parent/guardian): Free
RSVP

California Indian Adventure - Family Walk

Experience life as a young California Indian! Try your hand at a fire bow, making string and spear throwing! Journey back in time as we discover how native plants and animals were used for daily survival.

Craft geared for ages 6 - 11 years, but all ages (6 and up) are welcome to participate.

Interpretation Level: Medium
Difficulty Level:  Easy
Ages: 6 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, November 16th.

When: November 17, 2018, 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 13 (out of 25)
  • Adult: $5.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
RSVP

Ridge to Ridge Hike

Celebrate the fall weather with a 3.5 mile loop hike on The Reserve.  This hike will traverse along Middle Ridge to North Ridge and provides some breathtaking views.

Interpretation Level:  Low
Difficulty Level:  Moderate with some strenuous hills
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, November 16.

When: November 17, 2018, 8:00 am – 10:30 am
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 0
  • Adult: $10.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
Wait List

Monday Trail Clearing and Weeding

Start off your week by working on maintaining Reserve land while enjoying a walk through nature. We will spend a couple of hours cleaning up the trails of The Reserve that traverse through oak woodlands and grasslands.

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided. We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Sunday, December 2.

When: December 3, 2018, 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 20
  • Volunteers: Free
RSVP

Astronomy Night

Orange County Stars

Visitors traveling to sparsely populated areas are usually delighted to discover how many more stars are visible than at home. Come out to The Reserve for Astronomy Night where you can still view many more celestial phenomena than elsewhere in urbanized Orange County!

Enjoy an evening outdoors, as you gaze into the heavens, learn the constellations, and peer through the telescopes of our volunteer astronomers.  Reserve astronomers are all volunteers who enthusiastically share their telescopes and expert sky knowledge with you. (BRING: Warm clothing, Red cellophaned flashlight, binoculars, optional beach chair.)

Interpretation Level: High
Difficulty Level: Easy
Ages: 8 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, Dec. 7.

When: December 8, 2018, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 5 (out of 25)
  • Adult: $10.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
RSVP

Saturday Trail Clearing and Weeding

Volunteer to spend a few hours in beautiful surroundings helping make The Reserve trails accessible to our visitors. Join the crew dedicated to protecting our native ecosystems by maintaining trails and eliminating weeds. Volunteer efforts make an impact!

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided. We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Friday, December 7.

When: December 8, 2018, 8:00 am – 11:30 am
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 15 (out of 20)
  • Volunteers: Free
RSVP

Holiday Nature Crafting

Enjoy a cool, winter morning creating treasured keepsakes and personalized gifts made from natural and recycled materials.

Ages:  All

Participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, December 7th.

When: December 8, 2018, 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Where: The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo Headquarters
Information: Available Spaces: 20 (out of 30)
  • Adult: $5.00
  • Child: $5.00
RSVP

Christmas Bird Count

Join experienced birders for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Over the years, more than 80 species of birds have been seen at The Reserve. How many will we see in 2018? Join us and find out!! BRING: Binoculars & field guide if you have them, if not we have plenty for you to borrow. Visit Audubon's website to learn more about the CBC, one of the oldest "citizen science" events in the nation.

This bird count will take place alongside a private road.  Counters will drive from site to site to look, listen and count the birds.  Please wear neutral colored clothing.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Easy
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, December 19.

When: December 20, 2018, 8:00 am – 11:00 am
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 14 (out of 25)
  • Adult: $10.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
RSVP

Welcome Winter Moon Hike

Explore The Reserve by the light of a winter moon and celebrate the seasonal and nocturnal changes in the landscape.  In the winter, the moon seems brighter against the night canvas and our walks are enlivened by the crunch of leaves, which add contrast to quiet of the woods and grasslands. Along the way hear stories about night ecology and moon lore.

Interpretation Level: Medium
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 8 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 20.

When: December 21, 2018, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 0
  • Adult: $10.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
Wait List

Holiday Break Community Service

Give back during the holiday break by joining our staff for service hours at the beautiful Reserve Headquarters on the Ortega Highway, nestled between the San Juan Creek and foothills covered in oak woodlands. The service project site hosts school field trips, summer camps and other programs. Maintaining the space allows for a safer and more enjoyable experience for all of its visitors. Earn volunteer service hours while giving back to the community!

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided. We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Thursday, December 20.

When: December 21, 2018, 8:30 am – 10:30 am
Where: The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo Headquarters
Information: Available Spaces: 19 (out of 20)
  • Volunteer - ages 16 and older: Free
  • Volunteer - under age of 16 (must be accompanied by parent/guardian): Free
RSVP

Monday Trail Clearing and Weeding

Start off your week by working on maintaining Reserve land while enjoying a walk through nature. We will spend a couple of hours cleaning up the trails of The Reserve that traverse through oak woodlands and grasslands.

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided. We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Sunday, January 6.

When: January 7, 2019, 7:30 am – 9:30 am
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 19 (out of 20)
  • Volunteers: Free
RSVP

Lecture: Getting Friendly with Fungi

Explore the fascinating world of the kingdom Fungi with amateur mycologist Joanne Schwartz. She will describe methods for locating and identifying wild mushrooms in Southern California and beyond, as well as understanding their place in nature – oaks, pines, orchids and more are dependent on fungal associations. We will hear tales of fungal folklore and consider eating and growing them. Joanne will bring her collection of mushroom hunting gear and ID resources … and mushrooms too, if they are fruiting locally.

Her collecting in 2017 has focused in the Redwoods and southern Sierra, as well as Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. Her presentation will feature recent finds from these locations.

For a reference flyer by Joanne, please click HERE.

For more information on Joanne, please click HERE.

Ages: 8 and up

Participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm, Jan.10.

When: January 10, 2019, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Where: Ranch House in Rancho Mission Viejo
Information: Available Spaces: 47 (out of 50)

Fun Finding Fungi Mushroom Walk

What are Mushrooms and Why Do We Care?

Why do they grow with Oaks?

Can I Touch Them? Can I Pick Them? Can I Eat Them?

How to Find, Photograph, and Identify Fungi.

Explore the fascinating world of wild mushrooms with amateur mycologist Joanne Schwartz. If we are fortunate and get rain, we might find a wide range of fungal forms and species.

For a list of references by Joanne, please click HERE.

For more information on Joanne, please click HERE.

Interpretation Level: High
Difficulty Level: Easy
Ages: 8 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, Jan. 11.

When: January 12, 2019, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 24 (out of 25)
  • Adult: $10.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
RSVP

Saturday Trail Clearing and Weeding

Volunteer to spend a few hours in beautiful surroundings helping make The Reserve trails accessible to our visitors. Join the crew dedicated to protecting our native ecosystems by maintaining trails and eliminating weeds. Volunteer efforts make an impact!

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided. We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Friday, January 11.

When: January 12, 2019, 8:00 am – 11:30 am
Where: Ladera Open Space - East
Information: Available Spaces: 20
  • Volunteers: Free
RSVP

Start the Year Off Right Hike

Start the year off right by spending time in the cool, crisp beauty of winter. Hike and observe winter wonders on the Reserve such as Sycamores dotted with mistletoe bunches and “California holly” bursting with red berries. This 2.3 mile hike will take you through Shady Canyon, to Wilson’s Camp and return along Sycamore Loop.

Interpretation Level:  Low
Difficulty Level:  Moderate
Ages: 8 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, January 11th.

When: January 13, 2019, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 25
  • Adult: $10.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
RSVP

After School Community Service

Join our staff for monthly after school service hours at the beautiful Reserve Headquarters on the Ortega Highway, nestled between the San Juan Creek and foothills covered in oak woodlands. The service project site hosts school field trips, summer camps and other programs. Maintaining the space allows for a safer and more enjoyable experience for all of its visitors. Earn volunteer service hours while giving back to the community!

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided! We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Thursday, January 17.

When: January 18, 2019, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Where: The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo Headquarters
Information: Available Spaces: 20
  • Volunteer - ages 16 and older: Free
  • Volunteer - under age of 16 (must be accompanied by parent/guardian): Free
RSVP

Winter in the Wild - Family Walk

Get wild this winter with a family walk in the woods. Winter on The Reserve means that new life is popping up everywhere.  We'll look for mushrooms pushing up out of the ground and wildflowers just beginning to bloom. We'll also be on the lookout for animals like deer and wintering birds. Activities include a mushroom craft, Winter Wildlife game, and nature walk.

Activities geared for ages 6 - 11 years, but everyone 6 and up is welcome to participate.

Interpretation Level: Medium
Difficulty Level:  Easy
Ages: 6 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, January 18th.

When: January 19, 2019, 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 24 (out of 25)
  • Adult: $5.00
  • Child: $5.00
  • Supporter: Free
RSVP

Total Lunar Eclipse Viewing and Photography

Join us on this special night to view a total lunar eclipse. As usual, our Reserve astronomers will be on-hand to enthusiastically share their telescopes and knowledge with you.

In addition, taking photographs of a lunar eclipse is relatively easy, so for those interested we encourage you to bring your own equipment and we will begin with a presentation by Spencer Murray, explaining the ins and outs of successful lunar eclipse photography.  Please click HERE for a recommended list of equipment and tips before attending the event.

This is the last total lunar eclipse visible in North America until May 2021. Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of this rare celestial event.

(BRING: Warm clothing, optional binoculars, optional beach chair.)

Interpretation Level: High
Difficulty Level: Easy
Ages: 8 and up

Please note: participants must be registered or on the wait list by 4:00 pm on Friday, Jan. 19.

When: January 20, 2019, 7:45 pm – 9:45 pm
Where: The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy
Information: Available Spaces: 26 (out of 33)
  • Adult: $10.00
  • Child: $5.00
RSVP

Martin Luther King Jr. - Day of Service 2019

Enjoy a morning of service with Reserve staff and fellow volunteers as we beautify the grounds of our headquarters and gardens. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the Martin Luther King Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a "day on, not a day off."

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 8 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Friday, January 20.

When: January 21, 2019, 9:00 am – 11:30 am
Where: The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo Headquarters
Information: Available Spaces: 23 (out of 30)
  • Volunteers: Free
RSVP

After School Community Service

Join our staff for monthly after school service hours at the beautiful Reserve Headquarters on the Ortega Highway, nestled between the San Juan Creek and foothills covered in oak woodlands. The service project site hosts school field trips, summer camps and other programs. Maintaining the space allows for a safer and more enjoyable experience for all of its visitors. Earn volunteer service hours while giving back to the community!

Drinks, snacks, gloves and tools are provided! We recommend bringing your own work gloves if you have them.

Interpretation Level: Low
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Ages: 10 and up

Please note: participants must be registered by 4:00 pm on Thursday, February 14.

When: February 15, 2019, 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm
Where: The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo Headquarters
Information: Available Spaces: 20
  • Volunteer - ages 16 and older: Free
  • Volunteer - under age of 16 (must be accompanied by parent/guardian): Free
RSVP

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