The Nature Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo is a growing habitat reserve located in South Orange County. Over time The Nature Reserve will grow to include over 20,000 acres of Rancho Mission Viejo lands, inclusive of The Richard & Donna O’Neill Conservancy. This protected open space is managed by the Rancho Mission Viejo Land Trust, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to "preserve and enhance Reserve lands for ecological, educational, charitable, conservation, open space, scientific, and recreational uses."

Species Spotlight

The Arroyo Toad

The arroyo toad is a federally endangered species that can be found on The Nature Reserve. The arroyo toad is small, bumpy, and stocky. This buff-colored amphibian lives in sandy streams that have fast-moving currents with shallow pools, nearby sandbars, and adjacent stream terraces. Arroyo toads are active at night when they hunt for insects to eat. In the daytime, toads bury themselves in the soft sand of stream banks.

Scientific monitoring of Arroyo toads on The Nature Reserve takes special equipment. Each monitored toad is fitted with a small "backpack" that transmits the toad's GPS coordinates. The backpack also has a long antenna to allow the toad to be tracked even when it is burrowed in the sand. These tools help scientists working on The Nature Reserve observe and protect these endangered amphibians. 

Upcoming Events
FOR PUBLIC

Verdugo Canyon EARLY Morning Hike

Free | 8 & up | Easy-moderate
7:00AM - 8:30AM

NAN
99

residents
Jul|9|2022-07-09
FOR PUBLIC

Verdugo Canyon LATE Morning Hike

Free | 8 & up | Easy-moderate
9:30AM - 11:00AM

NAN
99

residents
Jul|9|2022-07-09
FOR PUBLIC

Feathers and Fur! at Ladera Ranch Library

Free | 4 and up | Easy
10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

NAN
99

public
Jul|11|2022-07-11
FOR PUBLIC

Tuesday Evening Open Access on Chiquita Ridge

Free | All Ages | Strenuous
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM

NAN
99

residents
Jul|12|2022-07-12
FOR PUBLIC

Reading with Rosy the Snake

Free | All Ages (recommended 4-6)
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

NAN
99

residents
Jul|14|2022-07-14
FOR PUBLIC

Open Access on The Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy-Gato/Middle Ridge Trails

Free | All | Easy to moderate
8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

NAN
99

residents
Jul|16|2022-07-16
FOR PUBLIC

Knee-High Naturalists: Solar Power!

Free | 2-5 years | Easy - Moderate
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

NAN
99

residents
Jul|16|2022-07-16
FOR PUBLIC

Volunteer Orientation and Training

Free | 18 and Up
9:00 AM - 11:30 AM

NAN
99

public
Jul|16|2022-07-16
Follow Us