A non-profit organization, with a mission of conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends, just received a huge windfall, thanks to a generous donation from a South Pasadena couple.
Frank and Joan Randall have graciously contributed $50 million to The Nature Conservancy (TNC).
The major philanthropic gift supports TNC’s largest California preserve, a 72,000 acre wildlife corridor at the Tehachapi Mountains designed to, according to its website, protect endangered and sensitive species, including the California mountain lion.
The preserve, five times the size of Manhattan, is a little over 100 miles north of Los Angeles and “will serve to protect a crucial corridor and biodiversity hotspot,” continues a message on the site. “As accelerating climate change continues to increase habitat loss and fragmentation, the Frank and Joan Randall Preserve ensures a critical linkage between Northern and Southern California that will allow rare, threatened, and endangered species to move and adapt to the changing environment.”
Its unique topography is at the convergence of four diverse eco-regions – the Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert, the Central Valley and South Coast.
“The Randall Preserve covers a sweeping range of land securing connection from the Sequoia National Forest to conserved lands on the Tejon Ranch, allowing movement from the Southern Sierra Nevada down to Castaic, to the Traverse Ranges that run east to west, down to the Peninsular ranges, providing flow across a broad range of elevations,” reads the website about the vast land. “This area is also one of the most significant in North America because by connecting Northern and Southern California it helps to complete an intact network of open space lands from Canada to Mexico.”
TNC officials say the protection of the widespread area will ensure that 28 sensitive species across California will have the best chance of survival. Among them are condors, legless lizards, golden eagles, mountain lions, primrose sphinx moths and badgers. In addition, several endangered plants and blue oak trees will be protected.
“What is striking about the Randall Preserve and this area of the Tehachapis is not only its rugged beauty, but also its unique topography,” in a statement said Mike Sweeney, the executive director of the Nature Conservancy in California. “It goes from these very high elevations where you can see snow, all the way to the Mojave Desert and the Central Valley, and everything in between. This preserve will ensure a much needed corridor for wildlife, like endangered mountain lions to the south, so they can mix and move, migrate and adapt.”
Preserving open space has long been a passion for Frank and Joan Randall, who reportedly made the donation in October 2020 but it was only recently announced by the TNC. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone,” said Frank on the website. “This area was under threat but, together with the Nature Conservancy, we’re doing everything we can to make sure this beautiful and ecologically diverse part of our state can stand the test of time for generations to come.”
More information about the preserve can be found at nature.org/randallpreserve