Village Laguna’s members and friends will gather on Saturday, Oct. 8, to honor Villagers of the Year Elisabeth Brown and Carolyn Wood, whose decades of effort helped preserve Laguna’s natural setting.
The party will be held at the home of Cindy and Mark Evans, 435 Hilledge, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. A donation of $85 per person is suggested. RSVP to 949 499-4809.
Brown, president of Laguna Greenbelt Inc. for more than 25 years, works to preserve open space, but mostly behind the scenes. Along with Carolyn Wood, Belinda Blacketer, Jeff Powers, Ray Unger, and others, she successfully fought development projects planned for Laguna Heights, at the end of Alta Laguna Boulevard, above Canyon Acres, while earning her Ph.D. in biology from UC Irvine.
Along the way, Brown expanded Laguna Greenbelt’s horizons countywide. As a result, she contributed to the development of the Natural Communities Conservation Plan, which set aside 38,000 acres of open space in central Orange County. Since 1994, Brown’s efforts focused on securing wildlife corridors between the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Irvine’s Great Park and the Cleveland National Forest. In 1992, she started a volunteer program that has trained more than 500 docents to date and wrote a pocket field guide about the county’s wildlands.
Wood, the founding president of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy for 20 years, also serves as secretary of the Laguna Canyon Foundation. She also serves on the city’s Parking, Traffic, and Circulation Committee. A Laguna resident since 1968, Wood also worked for 22 years for Leisure World’s closed-circuit television station.
Under Wood’s leadership, the conservancy maintained and continues to host educational forums on environmental topics and other issues. Over two decades, whenever canyon open-space threats or opportunities surfaced, the diminutive Wood stood tall, offering factual information with conviction.