The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

Featured photo: Courtesy of The Nature Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo

Lately, The Nature Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo has held regular orientation and training sessions for prospective volunteers who may go on to become field guides, office assistants, or representatives for the outdoor area at local events.

The frequency of such training sessions is not likely to drop any time soon, as The Nature Reserve continues holding community events. In fact, the orientation meetings—which have been held online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic—will soon resume being held in-person.

“We had been keeping them in an online format until now,” said Leeta Latham, executive director for The Nature Reserve. “We will offer monthly in-person programs beginning in May. May’s Volunteer Orientation and Training is on Saturday, May 21.”

Introductory classes for volunteers are “fun and interactive,” Latham said.

“During training, we’ll teach people The Nature Reserve’s history, philosophy, mission, as well as skills for working with the public,” she said.

Volunteers are considered vital to not only preserving the habitat reserve but also in connecting the community with the land through interpretive and recreational programs.

“Our volunteers mean the world to us,” Latham said.

On average, there are usually about five people who complete the training per month—though as The Nature Reserve transitions back to in-person training, more people are anticipated to volunteer.

“We always welcome and need new volunteers,” Latham said. “With more volunteers helping, we can offer more opportunities for the public to access the land through our School, Community, and Stewardship Programs.”

The Nature Reserve is particularly looking for Certified Nature Reserve Volunteers.

“Certified volunteers are trained to lead and co-lead volunteer Nature Reserve programs,” Latham said. “Training is provided, and no experience is necessary.”

Visit to get involved or for more information.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Capo Dispatch

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>