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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

A popular slogan to describe the Martin Luther King Service Day is, “A day on, not a day off.”

Come Jan. 17 at The Nature Reserve in Rancho Mission Viejo, that description should hold true.

Volunteers will get to participate in restoration projects such as removing invasive plant species and planting native plants in the outdoor area’s pollinator garden.

“Volunteers will also help restore trails and teaching areas used during our many school field trips, spring and summer day camps, and community events hosted at The Nature Reserve headquarters,” said The Reserve Connection Executive Director Leeta Latham.

The Martin Luther King Day of Service is annually observed as a federal holiday and national service day on the third Monday of every January.

“We’re so grateful for the many volunteers who observe this day and spend their time giving back to The Nature Reserve to improve and enhance our community,” Latham said.

The MLK Day of Service has been held at The Nature Reserve since staff members for the outdoor preserve moved into their offices five years ago. Since then, volunteers have created an outdoor classroom for students visiting on field trips, an exploration area for summer campers, and a natural playscape for kids. In perhaps a sign of how important it is for The Nature Reserve and volunteers, the event’s capacity is full and no longer able to accept sign-ups.

“Making time to volunteer for MLK Day of Service has been a great way to engage with and educate our residents and the community at large while honoring the legacy of Dr. King,” Latham said.

Latham further said volunteers “mean the world” to The Nature Reserve and make a difference whether they’re restoring lands and trails, helping share the area’s mission at community events, or assisting with “much needed” office work.

“They are developing their own deep connection to The Nature Reserve land while also making sure that it’s sustained for years to come and can be enjoyed by all,” Latham said.

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

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