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September 24, 2020 13:20PM
September 24, 2020 13:20PM

customer care

Sea & Sage Audubon

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 Committed to the Environment
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Water is nature’s lifeblood, so it’s vitally important to safeguard our precious water resources to protect the environment. IRWD’s commitment to conserving the environment has its roots in our agency’s history, when we served mostly farmers and ranchers whose livelihood depended on the sustainability of our water and their land.

Today, IRWD preserves wetlands and natural habitat, partners with nurseries to promote native plants, and educates students and the public about the beauty and diversity of the region’s ecosystems. These efforts help ensure a safe and reliable water supply for our customers and work to protect the unique environment of Orange County. As an environmental steward, IRWD's collaborative partnerships with local organizations is a proactive approach to achieve mutual environmental goals.

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The Sea and Sage Chapter of Audubon was founded in 1958 with a mission to protect birds and their habitats through conservation, science and education for people of all ages. The unique partnership between Sea and Sage Audubon and IRWD began in 1992. Sea and Sage was offered exclusive use of the Audubon House, formerly a bunk house for the duck hunting club that used the marsh for more than 60 years, in exchange for promoting education, awareness and understanding of the marsh environment.

The Sea & Sage Audubon has been an outstanding partner to IRWD. Through the years, we’ve made great strides in educating residents of Orange County. Our collaborative programs and activities are designed to increase public appreciation and awareness of the beauty and diversity of wildlife in the San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary.

 Audubon House

The Audubon House once served as a bunk house for the members of two duck clubs that operated at the San Joaquin Marsh from the 1940s until 1988. The area was once known as the old San Joaquin Gun Club complex. The permit was not renewed by the City of Irvine in 1988 as the area grew and homes were built nearby.

The old bunk house, along with the Duck Club facility, were moved to their present location from what became the Tustin Marine Base (AKA: Lighter than Air Base) in the 1940s. The duck hunters slept and kept the guns in this house. The Duck Club was used for gathering.

Today, IRWD provides the Audubon House facility to the local Sea and Sage Chapter of the National Audubon Society, an organization dedicated to teaching about birds, wildlife and conservation. The Audobon House, staffed by Sea and Sage Audubon Society volunteers, is open to visitors from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.

Audubon offers public tours of the marsh, educational programs, materials and displays, and a reference library for birders, students and nature lovers. Programs and activities are designed to increase public appreciation and awareness of the beauty and diversity of wildlife in the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. More than 3,000 students from local schools visit the sanctuary for the Audubon Adventures Program and approximately 12,000 marsh visitors and bird watchers visit the site each year. The San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary is recognized as a premiere birding site.

For more information, contact the Sea and Sage Audubon Society at 949-261-7963.

 Sea and Sage House

The blue house used by the Sea and Sage Audubon Society for its administrative offices, is the oldest house on the Marsh Campus. Known as the Cook House and built in 1900, this house was originally located in the middle of what is now the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. The house was first occupied by George Cook, an industrious man who at one time leased the world's largest lima bean field (17,000 acres) from James Irvine. This house was moved to 14882 Sand Canyon Avenue in 1941 when the government established the air base. It was then moved to the Marsh in 1990.

 Sea and Sage Audubon Activities

Monthly General Meeting & Program - 3rd Friday evening, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Duck Club in the IRWD San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary. See website for meeting information.

Monthly Bird Walks at the Marsh - 2nd Sunday morning of each month, 8 a.m. to 12 noon in the IRWD San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary. Meet in front of Audubon House. Directions & information.

Monthly Bird Walks at the Upper Newport Bay - Last Sunday morning of each month (except Dec. 25), 8 a.m. to 12 noon. Group meets in the Big Canyon parking lot in Newport Beach, which is on Back Bay Drive. For details call 949-786-3160.

Visit the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary - Sea and Sage Audubon House, located at the IRWD San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. There is a small natural history museum, book store, gift shop, a reference library, a large flat-screen monitor showing beautiful photos of the sanctuary and its wildlife, as well as free trail maps and bird lists. A volunteer is on duty every day to answer questions.

Audubon House Volunteers Needed. Answer phones, greet guests, and staff Audubon House. Shifts are four hours once a week or month. If you're interested, please call Judy Fritts at 949-551-4513.

Calling all Nature Lovers, Artists and Retired Teachers: Teaching effectively is a skill that takes many years to develop, but sharing a love of nature can be done by anyone. We are currently looking for special individuals who are willing to teach effectively and share nature with school children in the beautiful setting of a wetland habitat for our two outdoor science programs for elementary school children. Website information.

Become a member of the National Audubon Society and the Sea and Sage Audubon Chapter. For more information visit their website or call the Audubon House at 949-261-7963.