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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO : Nature Walk Through Land Conservancy

A nature walk through the restricted Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy is planned for Saturday.

The 1,200 acres of protected canyons, ridges and open space in South County are usually closed to the public. However, several times each month the nonprofit conservancy conducts special tours and events in the wilderness.

The twilight nature hike begins at 4 p.m. and costs $3 per person. Reservations must be made in advance by calling (714) 489-9778. The tours will meet at Ortega Highway near Cristianitos Road, about six miles east of Interstate 5.

On Oct. 7, telescopes will be provided to glimpse the heavens. Those attending are asked to bring warm clothes, a flashlight and binoculars. The viewing will take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

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The conservancy operates its nature programs on land donated by the Santa Margarita Co.

The wilderness is a haven for many species of birds and animals, from gray foxes, mule deer and coyote to California gnatcatchers and black-shouldered kites.

Conservancy organizers also offer a Junior Wildlife Biologist program for children ages 9 to 12 or those enrolled in grades four through seven. The outdoor classroom teaches children about tracking, bird-watching, radio telemetry and trapping.

Sign-ups for groups or individuals are available at $14 per child.

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