One Seed at a Time: Stanbridge Students Celebrate the Earth, Restore Upper Newport Bay

In the past two months, Stanbridge College REACH created a partnership with the North Coastal Operations of Orange County Parks, Orange County, California’s regional parks system. This on-going partnership provides the opportunity for REACH volunteers to help restore the natural habitat of the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve and Ecological Reserve in Newport Beach every month.

In March and April of 2013, over 60 volunteers pulled on work gloves, grabbed a shovel, and got down to work at the Banner Point Restoration site. Volunteers planted over 50 native plants, removed non-native plants, and cleaned up trash to help maintain and restore the natural habitat. Revitalizing the site is helping OC Parks determine which restoration strategies and techniques work best at the bay to increase success with creating a sustainable habitat.

“I had a great time at Upper Newport Bay Habitat Restoration,” stated Sophie Mao, Stanbridge College Nursing student. “I go for long walks and hike around the bay, so for me it was a great personal experience. I’ve never planted anything in my life. I actually learned a lot about plants. The park rangers were so excited to teach us about the park and about each plant. I cannot wait to watch the plants grow when I go on my walks. A few of my classmates attended the event. We are new students and we expressed that we are planting for our future and journey in the nursing program together! I look forward to volunteering again at the bay.”

Debbie Lewis, Hemodialysis Technician student said, “I had a wonderful time giving to my community and gaining a better understanding of the eco system of the wetlands area. We have a great group from our college that is enthusiastic about plants!”

“Restoring the habitat was a great experience and meaningful activity that brought people of all ages together to give nature a little lift me up,” said Marcy Navarro, Occupational Therapy Assistant student.

Physical Therapist Assistant student, Ryan Healy stated, “By teaming up with OC Parks and REACH I connected with friends, met new people, and got my hands dirty to help restore the Upper Newport Bay Habitat.”

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As a steward of significant natural and cultural resources, Orange County Parks manages and operates a system of regional parks, beaches, harbors, trails and historic sites that are places of recreation and enduring value.

To learn more about Orange County Parks, please visit them at