Volunteers sought for Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve projects and programs

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The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, now rebuilding its trails, bridges and outdoor stage damaged in the 2019 Tenaja Fire, is seeking 100 new volunteers to help with this year’s projects and entertainment venues.

The Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Educational Foundation is spearheading the search for volunteers by conducting the third annual Volunteer Fair Saturday, Jan. 25, at 10 a.m., at the Visitors Center, 39400 Clinton Keith Road, in Murrieta.

The fair is free with representatives from the Riverside County Parks department and the foundation on hand to answer questions and register volunteers. RSVP is required by emailing volunteer@srpnef.org, by calling the SRPNEF volunteer coordinator at (800) 369-4620 or the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve coordinator at (951) 677-6951. Volunteer opportunities are geared for age 21 and older.

“Together, (the SRPNEF and SRPER) we are announcing several great opportunities as we prepare for an exciting year of youth environmental education programs, special events, community outreach and administrative support,” a reserve representative said. “Over 100 new volunteers, age 21 and older, are needed for many specific activities including docents, volunteers for concerts, art show, Family Wildlife Day and craft beer events. Help is needed also for trail maintenance, trailhead greeters and gate keepers. Come and meet the happy, peppy people and become a part of the volunteer family at the Santa Rosa Plateau.”

Presentations will begin at 10 a.m. with a variety of opportunity stations staffed with friendly, experienced volunteers to answer questions, and there will be raffle drawings.

The Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve spreads out over 9,000 acres on the plateau above Murrieta and Wildomar and is home to Engelmann oak woodlands, riparian wetlands, coastal sage scrub, chaparral, bunchgrass, prairie and vernal pools as well as more than 200 species of native birds and 49 endangered, threatened or rare animal and plant species, including mule deer, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats and other wild animals. It also contains two historical adobes and other artifacts from early ranchers and Native Americans.

The Santa Rosa Plateau Nature Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization, strives to educate and empower youth to appreciate, protect and preserve nature. It sponsors hundreds of elementary school student’s trips to the reserve yearly, scholarships and other projects.

The reserve’s stage, which was destroyed by the Tenaja Fire, is being rebuilt with the help of donations to the Santa Rosa Plateau Fire Fund and work by the Riverside County Parks and Recreation Department.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.