Our Conservation Projects

Native Plant Nursery

To better preserve the local flora, Nature Collective created this Native Plant Nursery. 

Our fully functioning plant-saving workspace helps the lagoon’s unique species propagate – and thrive. Though the nursery isn’t open to the public on a regular basis, we schedule field trips, special tours, and community volunteer events. You can always walk by on a San Elijo hike – just take the Santa Inez Trail.

Volunteers make our nursery possible, from propagating seeds to watering plants. You can volunteer to get up-close + personal with these amazing, local plants too!


“We feel it’s important for people to be directly involved in making our natural places even better. The result is increased environmental awareness and the preservation of San Elijo Lagoon for future generations.”

–John Leonard, The John and Elizabeth Leonard Family Foundation
kids touching the plants at the nursery

What We Do

  • Recruit volunteers to collect seeds within the San Elijo Ecological Reserve and local areas.
  • Facilitate the whole plant cycle, from starting seeds to out-planting them when they’re mature enough to survive.
  • Grow 3,000 plants to maturity – and transplant them – annually.

Why We Do It

  • Because we maintain the genetics of locally collected seed, we avoid artificially causing a local species population to genetically drift.
  • Because local species are available for repopulating the lagoon . . . which are ones you can’t easily find commercially.
  • To educate volunteers and students on every phase of a plant’s life.
  • To connect people with nature – and nurture their connection to our land.
  • Because growing our own plants helps us reduce restoration costs . . . which leads to more habitat restoration!

Key Initiatives

  • Santa Carina Restoration. A large number of the nursery plants restore the Santa Carina mesa, a grassland that was once farmed and, with help, is returning to coastal sage scrub habitat.
  • Education programs are an ideal way for students to get hands-on experience with growing native plants.
  • Connect with Nature. Community volunteers participate in all the steps: collecting seeds, starting the seeds, growing the plants, and finally planting them at a restoration site.
  • Restoration of rare plants so they can survive. At these restoration sites, the plants flourish, thus creating habitats for animals – including threatened + endangered species.

Team-Building at the Nursery

Give your business or organization a valuable, hands-on experience! Our nursery teaches everyone about local plants . . . and helps you build camaraderie while helping local nature.

Ask us about corporate partnership and team-building opportunities:

2021: New “Strawberry Fields West”

Nature Collective will acquire 16 acres of agricultural fields from the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans). Right now, we’re planning native plants + community agriculture for these new lands.

Give Our Native Plants a Hand

Join up with fellow nature-loving individuals . . . and help restore the natural balance of our unique lands.

Our Nursery’s Supporters

Would you like to support the Nature Collective?

If you’re a business, you can become a corporate sponsor + display your logo here!