Ventura Hillsides Conservancy needs volunteers

On Sat., November 14th, the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) will host a community tree planting party at the Big Rock Preserve near Foster Park to help kick-off the City of Ventura’s 150th birthday. VHC invites volunteers and community leaders to join them from 9 a.m. – 12 noon along the Ventura River Parkway to help plant 150 oak trees on property owned and managed by VHC.

VHC, a non-profit local land trust organization, was awarded grant funding by the County of Ventura’s Resource Management Agency for the purchase and planting of nearly 500 trees.  Over the next several months, they plan to host several planting parties where they will remove non-native plants and replace them with trees that are native to Ventura County.

“Planting trees adds additional aesthetic and wildlife value to the Big Rock preserve,” said Derek Poultney, VHC conservation manager. “Trees are not only beautiful; they also produce oxygen, provide homes for animals and prevent erosion.”

The 17- acre Big Rock Preserve is a collection of five properties owned by VHC. The name Big Rock comes from a once-popular swimming hole on the property that was home to a large boulder before floods swept it away. Though the boulder is gone, the water remains.

Due to the unique geology of the area, the Big Rock preserve is one of the only places between the Ventura River estuary and Matilija Canyon that has year-round water. The area is home to endangered steelhead trout, as well as western pond turtles, herons, deer, red-legged frogs and bobcats.

To RSVP for tree planting day, visit www.venturahillsides.org and click on the Events tab. For more information, call VHC  643-8044.

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