About the Friends

About the Friends of Wagner Ranch Nature Area

The Friends of the Wagner Ranch Nature Area (Friends) started in 2004 as a grass roots organization under the fiscal umbrella of the East Bay Community Foundation. The Friends is dedicated to supporting the environmental education programs in the Nature Area and conserving the natural and historical resources of the eighteen-acre preserve owned by the Orinda Union School District.

In September 26, 2008, we became a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and undertook significant restoration and facilities improvement projects for the Nature Area. Working under the guidance and inspiration of District Naturalist Toris Jaeger, The Friends carried out the following projects with funding and support from many community groups and volunteers:

  • Upgrades to the all-weather, to-code, picnic shelter with tables
  • Creation of the cooking area for preparing food for student groups
  • 1000 feet of wheel chair accessible trails
  • Protection and maintenance of the pond area for red-legged frogs
  • Installation of raised garden beds for Wagner Ranch classrooms
  • Mowing of grass and removal of vegetation around cooking areas and trails

Toris Jaeger retired as the District Naturalist in July 2009. She continues to help in the Nature Area to coordinate and teach programs for students. This past year, the Friends provided more than $16,000 in stipends for aides and for Toris to teach First Thanksgiving, Rancho Days, Native American Studies, Pioneer Days, and Animals of Orinda.

Our website provides an overview of the educational programs and volunteer opportunities that need your support. While the Orinda Union School District is the owner of the Nature Area, we will continue to need private donations to help maintain the Nature Area and support environmental education programs.