Stepping Stones at the Redlands Gateway Ranch.

The Stepping Stones are 1-foot square, engraved with the donor’s desired statements and placed in redwood frames in the garden along the Honor Trail.

Engraved bricks, stones and plaques to sell to donors have become popular ways to generate project funds, which is exactly what Redlands Conservancy has done to help finish the Redlands Gateway Ranch project. On Sept. 29, the conservancy dedicated the first 10 engraved stepping stones that were purchased to support the project.

In the spring, the conservancy offered the Stepping Stone project to donors who want to commemorate and celebrate someone or something special while supporting a worthy effort. More than 20 individuals participated in purchasing the first round of Stepping Stones which were installed in the Gateway Garden along the Honor Trail.   

The stones are 1-square-foot concrete blocks, engraved with the donor's desired statements. Some people opted to commemorate a lost loved one while others dedicated their stones to outstanding accomplishments or cited an appropriate quote.  

Gateway Ranch Caretaker Kermit Lange built redwood frames around each stone, and laid them in the garden, next to the Honor Trail, which is the pathway that traverses the garden. The 10 stones, along with many more, will be on permanent display at the garden.

Redlands Gateway Ranch is a 12-acre property in Live Oak Canyon. It is owned by the city of Redlands and leased by Redlands Conservancy. The ranch house has been restored through private donations. Other projects at the ranch projects are awaiting funding.  

To comply with a $1.2 million grant from the California Wildlife Conservation Board (the money was used for part of the land purchase, the conservancy is developing a native plant restoration nursery on site. The nursery is finished and functioning, and the garden is under development.  

Kathy Havert, a volunteer who is overseeing the Gateway Garden development, has managed the design and planting of the first half-acre section between the house and Live Oak Canyon Road. The plants now growing in the garden have been generated from local native plants. Havert has plans to expand the garden for another two or three acres, and to build irrigation systems so she and other volunteers can give up their volunteer hand-watering tasks.  

Another compliance piece is the establishment of the outdoor education program.  As Outdoor Education Coordinator, Havert has been presenting activities for the Canyon Environments Education Program, using one large shade tent and the shade of the mature oak trees on site. The ultimate plan is to enclose the large barn to use as an indoor workshop, heated in cold weather and cooled in hot weather, to enable the program to be presented all year round.  This will cost several thousand dollars, but is an essential piece of succeeding in making the  Gateway Ranch a hub of outdoor activities for the region.  

“The Stepping Stone project is a terrific way for people to contribute to an outstanding program while celebrating an outstanding individual or idea or group of people or place,: said Sherli Leonard, Redlands Conservancy executive director. “Donors accomplish two wonderful things with one stroke of the pen.:

Leonard said she is looking for a local source to create the Stepping Stones so they can be installed as soon as they are purchased, rather than waiting for several stones to be purchased and manufactured at one time.

The next step

  • To put your name on a stepping stone in support of the Redlands Conservancy: Call Sherli Leonard at (909) 782-6208.  
  • For more information on the Gateway Ranch: Visit