Back to Natives Restoration

Saving Habitat One Person at a Time

Santa Ana, CA   |  www.backtonatives.org

Mission

To encourage and participate in restoration and conservation of Orange County and California wildlands through education and restoration programs featuring native plants and biodiversity as a centralizing theme.

Ruling year info

2007

Executive Director

Mr. Reginald I. Durant

Main address

P.O. Box 10820

Santa Ana, CA 92711 USA

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EIN

61-1523908

NTEE code info

Land Resources Conservation (C34)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Citizen Participation (W24)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

USFS & Back to Natives Restoration Training Program

The United States Forest Service & Back to NativesRESTORATION present a Volunteer Restoration Training Program annually. Ecological restoration is a means of sustaining the diversity of life on Earth and reestablishing healthy ecosystems.  This program is for those interested in the restoration and conservation of Orange County wildlands.  Successful habitat restoration ensures that native species are protected while non-native species are removed efficiently, and with minimal human impact to the site.  This program will acquaint participants with non-chemical, low impact weed removal methods.

Population(s) Served

Back to Natives has established a native plant nursery in Santiago Park Nature Preserve in Santa Ana. A 30’x36’ greenhouse structure, complete with propagation tables, was completed in October 2011. Irrigation was installed for the greenhouse in May 2013. In 2014  we raised funds for two shade structures - one for the grow field as well as one for the plant sales area.  We are still fundraising for irrigation to those areas. The Back to Natives Nursery at Santiago Park project provides BTN with native plants for habitat restoration while supplementing our income with plant sales to our community. The nursery is open for educational programs and volunteer events.Volunteer Nursery Workdays are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9AM-12PM.

Population(s) Served

Back to Natives has established a successful Service Learning Program in the heart of Santa Ana, at Santiago Park Nature Reserve, a 23 acre reserve bisected by over 5000 feet of Santiago Creek. BTN engages volunteers in active environmental stewardship within the Reserve
while enhancing their environmental literacy and understanding of Orange County's need for habitat restoration.Past efforts to restore the Reserve continue, while participants and community members develop responsible stewardship practices.
Volunteers visit Santiago Park Nature Reserve at least once a month to remove non-native plant species and plant native plants. Volunteers may be responsible for hand watering the plants if rain is inadequate.This high frequency of engagement
provides meaningful results for the habitat within the park, for the volunteers who see that their efforts really do make a difference, and to the community who consistently see volunteers in the park.

Population(s) Served

Back to Natives has partnered with the United States Forest Service to restore habitat in the Cleveland National Forest in Orange County with the help of community volunteers. Over 100 volunteers have worked almost 1000 hours removing non-native invasive weeds in the
San Mateo Wilderness, restoring a total of 2.5 acres of land (60% of all
Italian Thistle). Volunteers also worked removing non-native invasive weeds on 4.5 acres
of land near Elsinore Peak in the Cleveland National Forest (100% of the Star
Thistle in our project area).

Population(s) Served

Back to Natives is raising funds to restore the habitat at the Back to Natives Native Plant Reserve (which we call Cuesta Kato). Back to Natives received a donation of land from Kato Properties in late 2015. The 2.5 acres of land along Del Obispo Drive in Dana Point are about a mile from the Pacific Ocean, less than a ½ mile from San Juan Creek, and less than 2 miles from the Dana Point State Marine Conservation Area. It is undeveloped and will remain so to provide habitat for birds and butterflies.The project will focus on creating habitat for the Monarch butterfly, including planting and/or seeding with locally native milkweed species. Numerous locally native nectar plants will also be included with the goal of creating a monarch breeding and migration habitat. The project will be carried out by volunteers participating in a service learning program. Participants are high school and college age volunteers – as well as community members. Education and outreach will be incorporated to increase interest, awareness and engagement in monarch conservation efforts. The main audience for our outreach will be project participants, but the outreach will reach a broader audience during volunteer recruitment at community events, a PR campaign to draw media attention to the project, a social media campaign, and other outreach efforts. Program participants will also conduct monitoring to track the monarch population and habitat establishment at Cuesta Kato. A concurrent project to grow locally native milkweed at the Back to Natives Nursery in Santa Ana will also be conducted as a service learning program with interns documenting the successes and failures of milkweed growth in order to increase understanding of milkweed propagation. The milkweed we grow will be used in habitat restoration projects, including that at Cuesta Kato, and also sold to raise funds for our environmental education, service learning, and habitat restoration projects.

Population(s) Served

Back to Natives is restoring habitat for animals, birds and butterflies, in Orange County at the Santiago Creek Nature Reserve in Santa Ana! We will be removing non-native plants along a steep slopes along and in the creek bed. So far we have removes thousands of pounds of fountain grass, arundo, castor bean, acacias and many more.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Connecting the community to habitat restoration through service learning and native plant education.
•Restore open space (private and publicly held land) with
appropriate plant species, while reaching out to the
community through restoration-based education programs and volunteer opportunities.
•Coordinate with land managers to provide
service-learning programs using curriculum aligned with the California state science and social science standards.
•Assist land managers with the recruitment, training and
retaining of volunteers to assist with the task of
restoration and education at their sites.
•Promote native plant gardening to local schools and
public facilities
*Provide Bird and Butterfly Habitat through our Cuesta Kato: Back to Natives Restoration Native Plant Reserve in Dana Point
*Provide an ongoing work-force-development program through our Internship program and through our USFS & Back to Natives Restoration Training Program in Partnership with the Cleveland National Forest

To that end, Back to Natives serves the growing number of land managers in need of restoration services by facilitating dialogue with the community, promoting awareness of and public support for restoration and restorative management; and, of course, bringing about the recovery of damaged ecosystems through ecological restoration!

Back to Natives Restoration has successfully cooperated with City, County, State and Federal Land Managers since 2005, in recruiting, training, and utilizing volunteers in land resource management. With a proven track record of successful restoration projects and governmental agency cooperation, Back to Natives successfully leverages community members in fulfilling short term and long term habitat restoration goals while providing extensive educational and service learning opportunities. Through our work-force development program our Internships are specifically focused on different aspects of the major goals. In this manner, educational and professional Interns have the opportunity to earn real world experience in the field of their major studies or professional interests. Back to Natives has demonstrated its dedication to the fruition of project goals and educating the community on 'why' we perform habitat restoration and propagate native plants for use in landscapes as well as our restoration sites. The Back to Natives Intern work force development program sees 10-20 participants annually leaning real-life professional skills while using their education in the field. We have a long term volunteer base of over 100 volunteers from various professions and fields, and regularly enjoys the assistance of 1-2,000 volunteers per year, either as one-time events, or repeat volunteer event experiences, showing the community is supportive of Back to Natives' goals and mission.

2006-2010 Caspers Wilderness Park Oak Savannah Restoration Project
 2006-2012 Jeronimo Creek Riparian Scrub Mitigation Project California Fish and Game certified complete and successful 6/5/2012
 2007- 2011 Mason Regional Park Habitat Restoration Project
 2008-2009 Santiago and Poomacha Fire Recovery Habitat Assessment and Weed Survey , became #8 to have seen Santiago Peak Phacelia, Phacelia souvelons keckii in the wild! Dozens of rare and endangered plants catalogued with many documented for the first time in OC.
 2010 Heritage Museum of Orange County restoration effort
 2010-present Elsinore Peak Star Thistle Removal Project - 3 miles along South Main Divide
 2010-present Santiago Creek Habitat Restoration Project
 2011-present San Mateo Wilderness Italian Thistle Removal Project
2011-present Back to Natives Nursery @ Santiago Park
2015-Present Back to Natives Restoration Native Plant Reserve at Cuesta Kato
Awards
 2008 BTN receives Land Steward of the Year award from Orange County Wild
 November 2009 BTN receives the Excellence in Volunteerism Award from County of Orange
 April 2011 Reginald and BTN receive Certificate of Recognition and 2011 Community Building Award Friend of the Environment from City of Santa Ana
 April 2011 Reginald and BTN receive Certificate of Recognition and 2011 Community Building Award Friend of the Environment from County of Orange
 April 2011 Reginald and BTN receive Certificate of Recognition and 2011 Community Building Award Friend of the Environment from California Legislature Assembly
 April 2011 Reginald and BTN receive Certificate of Recognition and 2011 Community Building Award Friend of the Environment from State of California Senate
 April 2011 Reginald and BTN receive Certificate of Recognition and 2011 Community Building Award Friend of the Environment from The United States House of Representatives, Congressional Recognition.
 November 2011 BTN receives Certificate of Recognition for achievement at the BTN Nursery @ Santiago Park
 2012 BTN receives Environmental Non Profit of the Year award from Orange County League of Conservation Voters
 2012 BTN recognized by California Legislature Assembly for Environmental Non Profit of the Year Award

Financials

Back to Natives Restoration
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Back to Natives Restoration

Board of directors
as of 1/4/2019
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Tina Sommers-Bernhardt

San Franciso University

Term: 2018 - 2020

Reginald Durant

Back to Natives Restoration

Cassandra Owen

Southwest Conservation Corps

Nicholas Latimer

U.S. Army

Tina Sommers-Bernahrdt

San Francisco University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes