Newport Bay
Naturalists & Friends

Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner

OC Community Resources
OC Parks, Upper Newport Bay

ACTION: What does the honoree do?

The Newport Bay Naturalists & Friends (NBNF) serves the community and OC Parks in several important ways such as conducting interpretive programs, offering public educational presentations, hosting special events (California Coastal Cleanup Day and Earth Day), hosting/conducting educational workshops and trainings, fundraising for Upper Newport Bay – Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center, conducting wildlife surveys, coordinating habitat restoration projects and providing administrative support.

NEED: What community or agency need does the honoree address?

NBNF is the recognized regional (and at times international) authority regarding the unique habitats and wildlife encompassing Newport Bay. The group spearheaded the 1970s conservation efforts in this area and continues to be renowned as the primary resource of information regarding the bay’s endangered, migratory and threatened species. NBNF serves OC Parks, OC Public Works, OC Animal Care and the entire community of Orange County by providing essential data on wildlife movements/nesting sites that must be conserved while allowing passive recreation within the bay’s boundaries. Additionally, NBNF offers professional-level trainings, workshops and presentations to the public, featuring local scholars. NBNF members provide crucial assistance to OC Parks staff by fielding public inquiries, concerns or questions via e-mail or phone contacts.

IMPACT: What is different as a result of the honoree's service?

Without NBNF, Newport Bay as a whole would suffer tremendously, lacking consistent fundraising, conservation and survey efforts. OC Parks relies on the expertise of NBNF members – some of whom hold doctorate degrees or higher in various biological aspects. Special events, educational workshops/presentations and many interpretive programs would cease to exist without NBNF support. In addition, the simple act of answering phones and fielding questions from the public is a huge asset and service to the community.

INSPIRATION: What makes the honoree unique/special?

Begun as a loose coalition of concerned citizens in the 1970s, NBNF has since grown into a well organized asset to the natural community. The organization’s founding members are still active within the group and inspire other members by emphasizing that “One voice can and will be heard.” Their passion, dedication and loyalty to the bay’s unique ecosystems, including the smallest of endangered creatures or plants, demonstrate the exceptional stewardship of a community that pulled together and fought urbanization in its backyard. NBNF’s success is particularly evident for every child who experiences the estuary environment for the first time. The group has preserved this oasis and established its natural beauty for generations to come.


NBNF was established in 1990 with approximately 100 members. Since its inception, the organization has grown to more than 180 active members who, over the years, have contributed 109,000 volunteer hours.

Thank you and congratulations to Newport Bay Naturalists & Friends, 2010 Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner!

Click here to find out how you can volunteer with the OC Parks, Adopt-A-Park.