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Fallbrook Land Conservancy celebrates milestone year

FALLBROOK – The Fallbrook Land Conservancy turned 30 this year and to mark the occasion, the nonprofit group has planned a Stagecoach Sunday to remember.

“We’re looking forward to another successful family-fun afternoon,” said Susannah Levicki, a member of the FLC’s board of directors and chair of the event, to be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 7 at the historic Palomares House and Park.

In the spirit of this year’s anniversary celebration, Levicki extended the hours for the event, traditionally held from 1 to 4 p.m., and also launched a first-ever photo contest of the FLC’s nature preserves, with the winners to be announced at Stagecoach Sunday. Deadline for entries is Sept. 30.

There are also special offerings for youngsters who will receive a free cowboy hat (while supplies last) with the purchase of a “Kids Corral” pass, where children can enjoy unlimited carnival games, crafts and face painting. There will also be pumpkin decorating for a small fee.

Visitors can also enjoy an authentic stagecoach ride provided by G & F Carriages, live music from Highland Way, a beer and wine garden, or “saloon,” with beer provided by Prohibition Brewing Company, a Wild Wonders animal exhibit with local wildlife and “a few surprise animals including a monkey,” Levicki said.

In addition, there will be a falcon demonstration sponsored by San Diego County Parks and Recreation, along with snake, bat and other nature booths, a guided tour of nearby Dinwiddie Preserve and a plant sale.

The barbecue lunch will be catered by locally owned Firehouse Que and Brew, also a member of the FLC’s Village Green program. “This is all to support our land conservation work and we couldn’t do it without the help of our sponsors,” added Levicki who thanked in advance the Angel Society of Fallbrook, a major sponsor of the event.

While admission and parking at the event is free, funds are raised through a silent auction and raffle, dinner and drink sales, and ticket package sales that include membership in the FLC at various levels.

Ticket packages purchased online include a free T-shirt or tank and will be available for pickup at the Will Call table. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of the event.

“We expect another great turnout so get your tickets in advance to avoid any lines and receive a free FLC shirt or tank,” Levicki said.

Participants in the silent auction and raffle can bid on such unique experiences as a scenic flight air tour of Fallbrook and a guided tour of Margarita Peak, the FLC’s largest preserve. There are also golf and fitness packages, coupons to amusement parks and other major attractions, unique art and handicrafts, and certificates to local golf resorts, restaurants, businesses and services.

This has been a milestone year for the Fallbrook Land Conservancy. Not only is the group celebrating its 30th anniversary, it has also received the distinct honor of becoming an Accredited Land Trust.

The nonprofit organization was recently awarded the level of “accreditation,” a status given to land trusts that meet national standards for excellence from the Land Trust Alliance, a land conservation organization based in Washington, D.C.

The FLC now joins an elite network of more than 400 accredited land trusts out of 1,363 across the nation that have “demonstrated their commitment to professional excellence and to maintaining the public’s trust in their work,” according to the LTA’s accreditation commission.

Over the past two years, the FLC provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation before achieving the honor.

“The accreditation process confirmed that the FLC is on the right track, and helped us to develop an even stronger set of guiding principles as we move forward into our fourth decade,” said Karla Standridge, executive director. She will travel to Pittsburgh, Penn. in November to attend a special ceremony honoring newly accredited land trusts.

Standridge took over the helm of the FLC in July following the retirement of Mike Peters, the group’s longtime executive director and preserve manager.

The FLC has come a long way since it was first formed in 1988 by a handful of friends with a common goal: to preserve the rural character and natural beauty of the Fallbrook community through the permanent protection of open space.

The group’s first property, Los Jilgueros Preserve, was acquired only two years later through a private donation. In 1993, an addition to the property was purchased through a grant from the California Transportation Commission Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program. The FLC was, in fact, the first land trust in California to receive such a grant.

On Earth Day in 1990, more than 1,000 people visited LJP to see Fallbrook’s first nature preserve. Less than a year later, 700 volunteers planted 400 native California oaks and other trees as part of its restoration.

Also, in 1990 the Palomares House and 1.5 acres of surrounding land was donated to the FLC. Built in 1888, the Palomares House is one of the oldest structures in Fallbrook and currently houses the FLC’s administrative offices as well as a community meeting room. Stagecoach Sunday has been held here every fall since 1991.

Today, the group owns and manages 2,119 acres of open space, including the popular Monserate Mountain, and an additional 956 acres of conservation easements.

Over the years, community support has been vital to the FLC’s success, with hundreds of volunteers the key to its various outreach programs, including Save Our Forest, the Native Plant Restoration Team, Trails Committee and Village Green. Between individual, business and corporate donations, combined with monies raised at Stagecoach Sunday, the FLC generates some $100,000 annually, which helps to cover basic operating expenses, according to Standridge.

To pre-order tickets, enter the photo contest, or for more information, visit or call (760) 728-0889.

Press release submitted by Fallbrook Land Conservancy.


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