BLM-Ft Ord Public Lands Return of the Natives has been partnered with the BLM-Ft.Ord Public Lands since 1995. Every year since, RON staff, students and volunteers have collected native seeds, propagated seedlings, and in the rainy season out-planted the seedlings to restore degraded areas on the old Ft. Ord. So far we have planted over 195,000 natives and involved 30,000+ schoolchildren and 6,000+ weekend volunteers. Weekend planting events feature live music from local bands and volunteers have been known to dance on the hillsides. RON staff goes with BLM partners into schools to present lessons and BLM staff truly value RON's outreach and school efforts.
The City of Salinas Return of the Natives has partnered with the City of Salinas since 1994 around a series of community based habitat restoration projects that have resulted in native vegetation and native habitats being the keystone of what has become known as the Creeks of Salinas Park Projects. Natividad Creek Park, the Upper Carr Lake Restoration Basin, Cesar Chavez Community Park, and the Gabilan Creek Bikeway are all RON project areas. Every year thousands of Salinas school children and youth are introduced to nature and community service through RON's restoration field trips to one of these creekside sites. In addition, RON schedules twice monthly service events in the Creeks of Salinas. Rainy season projects include native planting efforts and all year we work to clear the creek sides from trash and litter that could flow to the nearby Monterey Bay. City of Salinas staff are long term partners with RON and together we write grant proposals to fund more community involvement.
Greenthumbs The Greenthumbs are special volunteers at the Watershed Institute greenhouse. Every week they transplant hundreds of tiny natives for all RON restoration projects. Greenthumbs have been coming to CSUMB since 1997. They come from Gateway and Monterey County Office of Education.
California State Parks Return of the Natives partners with CA State Parks in restoration projects at the Carmel River Lagoon and on the new Ft. Ord Dunes State Park. These restoration projects are in beautiful coastal areas where native plants have been crowded out by invasive weed species. Restoring the natives on these sites allows other threatened or endangered species such as the Smith's Blue Butterfly (dunes) or the Carmel River Steelhead Trout (lagoon) to find suitable habitats.
Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District Return of the Natives partners with the Park District in restoration and community outreach projects in the Marina and Seaside Communities. Community members join RON staff and CSUMB students in restoring Park District Lands on the Marina Dunes and in Locke Paddon Park. Each April RON and the Park District coordinated an Earth Day Celebration for the City of Marina.
MERITO of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary: RON partners with Sanctuary staff in bringing hands-on restoration and service projects to school, afterschool and adult education programs. These programs increase awareness and knowledge about our connections to the oceans.
1000 Friends of Carr Lake The 1000 Friends are a loosely based group of supporters of the dream of bringing a 480 acre wetland park--Carr Lake Regional Park to the City of Salinas. Return of the Natives, the Watershed Institute, the City of Salinas, and the Big Sur Land Trust are other organizations supporting this dream.
Farm to School Return of the Natives was the parent organization of the Monterey County Farm to School Partnership which was dedicated to bringing educational programs based on school gardens, healthy eating, and sound nutrition to area schools. This program has been taken up by CAFF, the Community Alliance for Family Farms which still maintains an office in the Watershed Institute building on the CSUMB campus.
Save the Whales Save the Whales partners with Return of the Natives in our "Flows to the Bay" program for Salinas Schools. Save the Whales educators bring an interactive watershed model, marine mammal artifacts and other hands-on activities to classrooms preparing students for their RON restoration field trips to the Creeks of Salinas restoration sites.
Save Our Shores Return of the Natives partners with Save Our Shores in projects based on keeping trash and plastics from entering the ocean. RON's monthly clean-up efforts in the Creeks of Salinas feed data to Save Our Shores' databank. RON supports Save Our Shores' efforts to change local ordinances that will prevent the sale or distribution of plastics, such as plastic bags, which can flow to the bay and cause the death of marine animals.