Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve

Poppy People, It's Time to Volunteer

Wildflower season is just ahead, and the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve is seeking flower fans who can lend a hand, time, and knowledge.

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

What to Know

  • Feb. 1 and 8 (both sessions are mandatory for new volunteers)
  • 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • 15101 Lancaster Road in Lancaster

Red hearts and red candies and red balloons and red everything may be appearing on our shelves and along the greeting card aisles as January winds down, but there's a particular contingent of Southern Californians who are only seeing orange.

As in, the orange that is synonymous with the California poppy.

Of course, the season for bursting poppydom is still several weeks away, but "several weeks away" is about to become "a few weeks away" and then "happening now" in short order.

For here's a sign of the coming wildflower season, a sign that's as bracing as a spring breeze fluttering thousands of orange petals: The volunteer training sessions for the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve near Lancaster on the near horizon.

As in, the very near horizon: Session one is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 1, while the second one follows on Saturday, Feb. 8.

The stirring call to action? "Learn about the wildflowers, wildlife, history, and volunteer duties at the training, and then meet people from around the world that have come to see our beautiful wildflowers!"

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You might lead a tour, or work in the visitor center, or keep close to the trails, in case any visitors have questions during the heart of the poppy bloom.

Do you need to be a poppyologist to apply? Not at all, though a love of poppies and flowers is a good thing, as is "a positive, friendly attitude."

Whether you can volunteer during the coming poppy season or not, the arrival of February, and all the prep that begins, says that wildflowers are on the wind, and days of sunshine and strolling are not far down the trail.

And speaking of trails? Staying on the trail at the famous reserve, as every poppy fan on the planet now knows and respects, is an absolute must.

You could play a part in helping people understand this simple rule, which in turn helps new poppy growth for years to come.

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