SOCALPAPA Paints the Back Bay and OC Parks

Saturday and Sunday
July 16-17, 2016
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center

Southern California Plein Air Painters Association (SOCALPAPA) return to the Upper Newport Bay with several hundred original paintings from over 40 artists at this year’s art show and sale. Spend the day browsing pieces capturing the beautiful scenery and the natural heritage of Southern California.  

Art Show & Sale

Free painting classes for kids 7-12 years of age will be offered on Saturday and Sunday. This festival of fine art is a collaborative event organized by Newport Bay Conservancy in partnership with SOCALPAPA and Orange County Parks. A portion of the sales proceeds to benefit the Newport Bay Conservancy. For more information, click here.

The Flight of Thousands

Every spring, Upper Newport Bay becomes a destination for weary travelers from the Arctic. These tourists take in the weather, socialize, dine and bask in the comfort and protection of the Bay. Welcome our feathered friends – birds.

After enduring a trip of over 3,000 miles on the Pacific Flyaway, the highway in the sky, some birds rest here and others continue to other destinations farther south. With wetland environments disappearing rapidly, the Bay is important oasis – over 200 species! Exhausting nearly 50% of their body weight during migration, the lush resources of the Bay helps them to re-energize.

February is the time to grab binoculars and get to know some of these visitors. Identify low tide locals and check out marbled godwits and longbilled curlews, probing into the mud or the osprey hunting for fish. Migratory birds to look for include the dowitcher, western sandpiper and the bufflehead as well as many other wetland ducks.

There are plenty of opportunities for all ages this month to view the nearly 30,000 expected birds from land and from the water. Don’t wait too long as many birds will continue on or return to the great north starting in March.


Sunday, October 11, 10-2 pm
Peter and Mary Muth Center and
Back Bay Science Center

The Newport Bay Conservancy in partnership with Orange County Parks, City of Newport Beach and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, will host an open house at two different locations. Because there is so much going on at the Bay – naturalist-led hikes, water tours, jogging, bicycling, birding and photography – we need two different locations to bring it all to you. Visit us to see the range of family-friendly activities, behind-the-scene tours with volunteers and staff and touch tanks all day.

Summer vacation may be officially over, but picture-perfect Upper Newport Bay invites you to Baycation all year round, right in your own backyard. Click here for invitation.

Ecology Career Club & Explorer Post

NBC has formed a high school Ecology Career Club and Explorer Post at UpperNewportBay. Exploring ( is part of the Learning for Life career education program for young men and women who are 14/15 through 20 years old. Exploring’s purpose is to provide experiences to help young people mature and to prepare them to become responsible and caring adults. Explorers are ready to investigate the meaning of interdependence in their personal relationships and communities. 

Exploring is based on a unique and dynamic relationship between youth and the organizations in their communities. Local community organizations initiate an Explorer post by matching their people and program resources to the interests of young people in the community.


Special Event

Free Concert:
OC in Unison
Beyond Land and Ocean
Friday, September 25, 2015
Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center
Outdoor Patio
6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

After touring the county and receiving over 300 artistic submissions about what makes Orange County home and what unites people, Pacific Symphony’s Composer-in-Residence Narong Prangcharoen has written an anthem for the community. Attend a free preview event performed by a Pacific Symphony string quartet, along with an interactive program that explores their relationship between music and home. Click here for a flyer.


Summer Symposium

Invasive Species and their Impacts
in and Around Newport Bay
Saturday, August 1st
Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center
Presentations from 9-noon followed by a light lunch, field trips and work parties
$8 students/members, $15 non-members
Eventbrite - Invasive Species and their Impacts in and Around Newport Bay
Invasive species are those non-native species of plants and animals that are successfully colonizing new areas, often negatively impacting native species. A new one arrives about every 60 days in California, and in the U.S. there are about 50,000 of them, causing environmental damage and losses amounting to over $100 billion per year. In this symposium hear about many of these invasive species, their impacts on local ecosystems, and the efforts being undertaken to remove them.

Special Events

Call for Proposals:
Research Mini-grants
As part of our commitment to science-based management of the protected tidelands and uplands associated with Newport Bay, the Newport Bay Conservancy is pleased to announce the availability of mini-grants of up to $1000 to support research that will increase our understanding of any aspect of Newport Bay. Funds are available for actual research costs, typically including equipment, supplies and services. Submit your proposal for a research grant to support a one-year project related to Newport Bay by July 15, 2015.  For more information, visit our page on Sponsored Research.

Plein Air Art Show and Display Sale
C0ming to the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center Saturday, July 18 through Sunday, July 19. Hundreds of original paintings exhibited daily, 10-4 p.m. Plein Air Artists plant their easels throughout nature, capturing beautiful scenes and the natural heritage of Southern California. Working in the open air allows these artists to duplicate the unique colors and light effects that can only be seen when the artist paints under an open sky. A portion of the sales benefit NBC. Ages 7–12 can participate in free art classes each day. For more information, visit our page on Plein Air Art.

Celebrating World Wetlands Day

Wetlands in Southern California
Their importance, status, threats and opportunities
Saturday January 31, 2015
9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Back Bay Science Center, Newport Beach

Program includes presentations from:
Travis Longcore, Associate Professor, University of Southern California Spatial Sciences Institute
Dick Zembal, Natural Resources Director, Orange County Water District
Ian Swift, Supervising Wetlands Biologist, Irvine Ranch Water District
Jeff Crooks, Research Coordinator, Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve
Tara Faud, Education Director, San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy
Shirley Detloff, Past President, Amigos de Bolsa Chica
$15/students & members, $20/public in advance
Online registration closed – $25/door; price includes lunch, poster session and optional field trips
Click here for more information

Bayview Restoration Project

Help Us Plant

The Bayview Restoration Project has started! Come out and learn about the habitat restoration project to restore native vegetation to the Upper and Lower Bayview slopes. The planting of the Bayview started on Wednesday, November 19. Planting will take place during the hours of 9-11 a.m. Planting will be in pre-dug holes so it will not be too difficult. These plantings are  spearheaded by NBC with cooperation and support from all the UNB agencies.

Additional Planting Dates:
Sunday, Dec. 14
Wednesday, Dec. 17
Saturday, Dec. 20
For more information or if you have a larger group that wants to participate in another day not listed, please call 949-923-2269 or email  For full details about the project, click here to be directed to the project page.

Coastal Cleanup Day Success

When the sun set over the Upper Newport Bay last Saturday evening, the birds were chirping just a little louder, the mullet were jumping out of the water just a bit higher — for JOY as over 22,000 lbs of trash and recyclables were picked up by over 750 volunteers. In it’s 25th year, the partnership between Orange County Parks, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the City of Newport Beach, with Newport Bay Conservancy,  hosted their annual Bay cleanup as part of California’s Coastal Cleanup Day this past Saturday, September 20th. Over 30 different groups ranging from scout troops, companies including the Fairmont Newport Beach, Kingston Technologies, high school students from Early College High School, Santa Ana and Century High, and Nordstrom’s Fashion Board volunteers, all embarked in the water on canoes and kayaks and on land armed with trash bags, pickers and gloves. As they picked up trash, it was tallied and given it’s rightful home in numerous dumpsters around the Bay. Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa fed volunteers from out of the Back Bay Science Center as they finished collecting trash while Beach Bus Bistro provided food at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. Inside the Outdoors, Used Oil Recycling, and Rain Barrel Intl.  were also at the Interpretive Center to provide avenues in reducing waste and conserving energy. Every one of the 750 volunteers went home with a commemorative Cleanup Day at the Bay t-shirt courtesy of Volcom and Aquasea Clothing Company. Other sponsors included Schneider Electric (who also brought a team to the cleanup), Alere Property Group, DISC Sports and Spine Center at Newport Beach and Newport Auto Center.