A growing foundation

The Laguna Canyon Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving, protecting and enhancing the 20,000 acres of South Coast Wilderness, has moved to a new location.

Formerly nestled in a storefront on Broadway, the ever-expanding organization moved into a larger office at American Legion Hall, 384 Legion St., in March to accommodate its staff and 190 volunteers. The offices were vacated when city personnel moved into their new quarters at the new Senior/Community Center on Third Street.

Karl Warkomski, executive director of the Foundation since last June, said the group is thrilled with the new digs.

“The foundation continues to grow, so we really need the extra space,” he said. “Now we can have meetings without the oxygen levels dropping dangerously low.


“It’s also wonderful to share a historic building with other nonprofit organizations.”

The foundation will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday to commemorate the office, and to educate and attract new volunteers.

“It’s an opportunity for residents to learn about our free programs so they can take advantage of the wilderness in their own back yards,” Warkomski said. “We have a diverse calendar of tours and activities that satisfy every interest.”

The event will also offer home-baked goodies.


Volunteers perform useful and needed work at the various park sites.

Most recently, volunteers at the Willow nursery, founded in 2003 by Robert Lawson, wrapped up their sixth successful growing season by pulling weeds and potting the last of the 1,000 plants purchased for vegetation and restoration projects around the park, including 430 purple needle grass seedlings that were planted near the Nix Nature Center.

In addition to planting areas, the nursery contains collection barrels that capture rainwater, which is used for a new irrigation system that was made possible by the foundation.

Other current projects include completion of the James and Rosemary Nix Nature Center at Laguna Wilderness Park, development of a multi-park education program, supporting preservation of lands at risk within and adjacent to Laguna Canyon, and offering free estate planning and financial planning workshops to Laguna residents.

Long-term goals are to coordinate an educational system, provide adequate interpretive centers, and an access program that provides opportunities for park visitors but assures habitat protection for all three parks.

“Our role continues to change, but our mission remains the same,” Warkomski said.

For more information about the Laguna Canyon Foundation or to make a donation, call (949) 497-8324 or visit