Posted by Wes Bradford on Nov 05, 2019
Susan Wilcox is the Director of Development at the Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy, founded in 1988. Its mission is to preserve lands as open space and to restore habitat for historical, educational, ecological, recreational and scenic purposes. It has successfully preserved 1,600 acres of open space on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, and restores and maintains 25 additional acres every year, in coordination with the city of Rancho Palos Verdes. It operates 2 Nature Centers, at George F Canyon and at White Point, and brings 3000 children from local schools each year for science education. A set of Native Bird Greeting Cards is available for $20.
Palos Verdes is a global hotspot of “Mediterranean climate zones” for some species found nowhere else. These include coastal sage scrub (more than 85% already lost), Cactus Wrens and Palos Verdes Blue butterflies. Conservation is challenged by competition from invasive non-native species brought in by humans, such as ice plant, mustard, acacia, tumbleweed, castor bean and fennel. Acacia trees are adapted to desert environments and remove water needed by native plants, and 90% of the plant is dry with many seeds which explode when burning (a hazard in fire season).
The Land Conservancy grows 50,000 plants each year, and plants 20,000 per year in restoration projects. She showed before-&-after views of degraded, damaged or destroyed ecosystem land that has been recovered. These areas are monitored annually to document habitat and rare species recovery. Goats are now used in appropriate areas to clear unwanted vegetation (they will eat almost anything!). You can sponsor a goat for $100. There is a monthly Nature Walk every 2nd Saturday (RSVP at or 310-541-7613. Volunteers are always needed.
New trail signage is being installed for interpretive and regulatory information for visitors (watch for it on your next visit). She cautions against using trails after rain (which helps plants but damages trails and promotes erosion from foot traffic — watch for restrictive notices). Dogs must be leashed to avoid accidentally destroying sensitive wildlife and birds’ nesting sites.