Santa Ana Canyon
Historical Council Volunteers

Excellence in Volunteerism Award Winner

OC Community Resources
OC Parks, Historic Yorba Cemetery & Ramon Peralta Adobe
 Santa Ana Canyon Historical Council

Pictured from left to right - Ann Nepsa, Irene Hastings, Melanie Goss,
George Scheroetter, Diana Robles & Tom Grijalva.

ACTION: What level of involvement does the award winning volunteer program promote?

The Santa Ana Canyon Historical Council (SACHC) supports the operations of two county historic sites in the Santa Ana Canyon – the Historic Yorba Cemetery and the Ramon Peralta Adobe. Since 2005, SACHC volunteers contribute more than 400 service hours annually, focusing their efforts on the Yorba Cemetery and Peralta Adobe. Many SACHC members are descendants of the canyon’s rancho era families and take pride in preserving the canyon’s rich history and sharing historical aspects of the area with visitors, including local school children.

NEED: What community need does the award winning volunteer program address?

SACHC docents provide free public tours of the Yorba Cemetery and Peralta Adobe on the first Saturday of each month. With advance reservations, docents open the historical facilities on alternate dates to accommodate local school children.

IMPACT: What is different as a result of the award winning volunteer program?

In addition to their docent activities, SACHC volunteers have been instrumental in the ongoing effort to transform the Ramon Peralta Adobe into a museum that shares the story of the Santa Ana Canyon and captures its history. Prior to the modifications, the adobe served as a staff break room for the surrounding commercial space occupied by a real estate office.

In 2005, SACHC members partnered with OC Parks to collect artifacts and photos of 19th and early 20th century canyon life. The items helped create displays for the Ramon Peralta Adobe that capture significant historical information.

Through the efforts of SACHC volunteers, the Ramon Peralta Adobe opened to the public in 2006 as a local history museum. Since that time, SACHC members endeavor to expand their partnership with other non-profit organizations ranging from local historical societies to the Bowers Museum in an effort to improve and enhance collections displayed at the adobe.

INSPIRATION: What makes the award winning volunteer program unique/special?

At the Historic Yorba Cemetery, SACHC volunteer activities include regular cleaning and maintenance of the existing historic headstones. Due to vandalism, approximately 100 headstones from the more than 450 burials remain at the site. Fortunately, many graves have been re-discovered by SACHC volunteers who collect early photographs of the cemetery and compare the images with existing markers. Working in coordination with park staff, SACHC members place small wooden crosses on the identified graves to honor Orange County’s pioneer community builders. To further recognize these founders, SACHC volunteers organize an annual Blessing Ceremony each year at the Historic Yorba Cemetery.


Since 2005, SACHC volunteers have dedicated more than 400 volunteer hours annually at two county historic sites in the Santa Ana Canyon – the Historic Yorba Cemetery and the Ramon Peralta Adobe.

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