Cabrillo National Monument VIP Newsletter

December 2022 Updates for VIPs

Don't Forget to Log Your Hours!

Celebrate with us: Winter Potluck!


You're invited! Cabrillo National Monument is hosting a Winter Potluck for its staff and volunteers on Friday, December 16th at Upper Maintenance from 12 - 1:30 pm. Join us for this end-of-year festivity as we look back on 2022 and celebrate each one of you for all you bring to this park!


Let us know you are coming! RSVP required by December 14th.


To try to have a variety of dishes at the event, the following is encouraged but not required. If your last name begins with: 

A - F: Bring a salad or side dish 
G - R: Bring a main dish 
S - Z: Bring a dessert 

If you have any questions, please reach out at cabr_volunteers@nps.gov. See you there!

RSVP Here!

NPS | S. Hernandez

Flyer states "Cabrillo National Monument Winter Potluck. Celebrate the end of the year with us. When: 16 Friday, December 2022, 12pm-1:30 pm. Where: Upper Maintenance. Who: Staff and Volunteers. RSVP required by Wednesday, Dec 14th. Let's party! 16th Friday Dec 2022!" Flyer is cheerily decorated with a sandy snowman and ornament.

In this issue:
  • Feature Story: Winter Potluck


  • Last-Call for VSAs!


  • VIP Spotlight: Greg Sharpe


  • How Did We Shine? Kudos


  • Volunteer Navigation Committee Updates


  • Messages from Management: Entrance Station, Extended Hours Pilot Program


  • Safety Messages for VIPs


  • Division Updates


  • Did You Know?


  • News Spotlight


  • Naturally Speaking: Dec 15th, 6-7 pm


  • Virtual Whale Watch Training for VIPs


  • Quiz: Which cephalopod are you?


  • On the VIP Voice: Tidepool Photos, CNMF Hiring Bookkeeper

Last-Call for VSAs!


Many thanks to those who have already renewed, and those who have reached out to stay active!


If you would like to remain an active volunteer but cannot visit Cabrillo National Monument at this time, please reach out at cabr_volunteers@nps.gov.


If you no longer consider yourself active, please let us know at cabr_volunteers@nps.gov. We would also appreciate if you could return any VIP uniform items, since our supply is limited. Thank you for your dedicated service as volunteers!

NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

View of Old Point Loma Lighthouse from below, viewed through the small white flowers of a native plant.

Photo of VIP Greg carefully extracting Mission Manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor) seeds from the hard-shelled fruits called "stones."

VIP Spotlight:

Greg Sharpe


As shared by VIP Greenhouse Supervisor, Patricia Simpson, "Greg has been volunteering at Cabrillo National Monument for years. He has helped with Shorebird and Terrestrial Bird Surveys, Herpetofauna Surveys, The Kitchen Garden, Cabrillo's 24-hr Bioblitz and the Greenhouse.


He is hard working, willing to work early or late and always up for new challenges. His help at the greenhouse has been essential. From maintenance, seed collection or cleaning, transplanting to planting and watering, Greg has done it all.


Along with his skilled work, his stoic demeanor and sharp sense of humor is appreciated by all! The park is lucky to have Greg!"


Greg is such a dedicated, wonderful member of our VIP team here at Cabrillo National Monument. He has really helped keep our park's environment beautiful and healthy, and we can't thank him enough!


Thank you to Vegetation Technician & VIP Greenhouse Supervisor Patricia Simpson for this month's thoughtful nomination. Send in future nominations to cabr_volunteers@nps.gov


Thank you, Greg Sharpe, for your continued dedication to Cabrillo National Monument!


(Above) NPS Photo | P. Simpson

Photo of VIP Greg carefully extracting Mission Manzanita (Xylococcus bicolor) seeds from the hard-shelled fruits called "stones." 


(Below) NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

Photo of VIP Greg watering the plants growing at the Greenhouse with an extended hose.

Photo of VIP Greg watering the plants growing at the Greenhouse with an extended hose.
Picture of table covered in small, gift-wrapped presents and an antique glass jar. Behind is a lace curtain, a berry wreath, and a glass window facing the Pacific Ocean.

How Did We Shine? Kudos


During such a busy winter season, we’d like to give kudos for the amazing people that have helped us stay afloat:


For VIP Patty: "VIP Patty stayed a little extra today to cover me at the VC desk today. I had failed to realize I had scheduled a meeting at a time when I needed to cover the desk. It was much appreciated! Thank you, Patty!"


For VIPs Mohamad, Jack, and Gary: "I am grateful for their excellent teamwork and collaboration in digitizing Cabrillo's Ship Guide that lives in the Visitor Center. It is a great resource we have available for the public inside the Visitor Center. Digitizing this will help ease the process of updating it and printing. Thank you all for taking lead on this project helping park operations!"


For VIPs Rebecca, Gary, Mark, John, Luke, and Bobby: "I would like to thank all the Rovers that came out and volunteered their time on Veterans Day. Having extra eyes out in the park really make a difference in deterring unwanted behavior. To those of you who served in the military, thank you for your service."


Thank you, Ranger Sandy and Ranger Bri, for the kudos to some of the VIPs of our Cabrillo family.


Here are some "How Did We Shine?" we have received recentlyvisitors had some kudos to share too!


For VIP Jose: "Extremely friendly, helpful, knowledgeable. I was just talking to my friend, and we were admiring the agave plant outside visitor center. He stopped to inform us all about the plant, blooming time, etc. Very fine young man!"


For VIP Karen: "Professional, friendly, brilliant!"


For VIP Eileen: "So helpful and enthusiastic at the tidepools!"

Let's keep it going! Thinking of a fellow volunteer who deserves to be celebrated? Send us your kudos and spotlights to the link below, so we can share them in the next newsletter, and celebrate each other together!

Send Us Your Kudos Here!

NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

Picture of wooden table inside the Old Point Loma Lighthouse covered in small, gift-wrapped presents and an antique glass jar. Behind is a lace curtain, a berry wreath, and a window facing the Pacific Ocean.

Seven smiling volunteers take a selfie in front of the Assistant Keeper's Quarters.

Volunteer Navigation Committee (VNC) Updates


Our next VNC meeting is scheduled for Saturday, January 7th at 9am in the Cabrillo National Monument Auditorium. Virtual link HERE.


All volunteers are welcome to join in! You can RSVP by signing up on Volgistics for the next meeting. Never attended a VNC meeting but would like to give it a try? Email cabr_volunteers@nps.gov so we ensure you are able to sign up on Volgistics.

Notes from November's Meeting

So, why would you need a committee run by volunteers—isn’t that just one more thing to add to your already full to-do list, and yet another meeting to attend?


The Volunteer Navigation Committee (VNC) is so much more than just another committee and another meeting. The VNC provides volunteers with a voice in the decision-making processes related to the VIP program at CNM. Join us at the next meeting!


NPS Photo | Seven smiling volunteers take a selfie in front of the Assistant Keeper's Quarters.

Messages from Management

Entrance Station & Operational Changes

Entrance Station 

  • While the Entrance Station staff prepare to open for the day, bicyclists who want to ride the tidepool road and come back up will not be stopped. 
  • When the entrance station is ready to open (8:15am or after), staff will open all the gates, and begin collecting fees for anyone entering past that point. 
  • After entering the park, other employees/volunteers should leave gates as they find them (either opened or closed) and let the Entrance Station and law enforcement staff manage the gate opening. 


General Operations – To make things easier for staff and volunteers, management team has decided to allow a more lenient approach to visitors on-site well before opening hours or well after closing. There is no need to approach people and let them know that the park is closed. If they approach you to ask, then please relay the park hours and ask them to pay when they depart (if pre-opening). 

  • For clarification, as the park closes, please continue to let visitors know that the park is closing and encourage them to depart. We certainly are not trying to lock people in! 
  • Buildings (and bathrooms) will continue to be opened, locked, and closed with park hours. 
  • Tidepool closures will remain consistent, for safety purposes and to limit damage to resources (e.g., sandstone etchings). Tidepool road closes at 4:30pm. 


As we are making these adjustments, please promptly keep your supervisor informed of damages and concerns! We are looking at adaptations for reducing stress for employees and improving operations, however, also need to be aware of limiting damages and protecting resources of the park. 

NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

Photo of a Bewick's Wren, a small, brown and fluffy bird, on a tree branch.

Photo of the low-tide rocks, facing the vast Pacific Ocean, during a gentle golden sunset.

NEW PILOT PROGRAM: Jan-Mar Extended Hours Schedule!


First thing next year, Cabrillo National Monument will be piloting a new extended hours schedule. The park will continue to open at 9:00 am, as only closing time will change.


From January 10th to March 11th, the park will close at the following times:

  • Upper Monument/Lighthouse: 6pm
  • Bayside Trail: 5:00pm
  • Tidepools/Coastal Trail: 30 minutes before sunset.


We wish to keep visitors, volunteers and staff members safe, so the park's tidepool area will be closed before darkhalf an hour before sunset. These changes that are coming will hopefully help with efficiency, public enjoyment of extended hours, and reducing situations for negative encounters between the public and staff/volunteers.


A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) is currently being created on the new extended hours. We want VIPs stay in the loop about park operations, so we will share more details as soon as they become available. Thank you for your patience while we roll that out.


This change will hopefully be a step forward for Cabrillo National Monumentwe aim to make it better for all. Still, as we make these adjustments, please reach out to your VIP supervisor if you have any questions, observations, or concerns. We are here to help!

NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

Photo of the low-tide rocks, facing the vast Pacific Ocean, during a gentle golden sunset.

Safety Messages for VIPs

Cold and Flu Season


The County of San Diego is sending out updated messages about cold and flu season, on top of COVID, and cases are on the rise. A reminder to follow good hygiene steps to limit the spread (as per the CDC): 

  • If you are sick, limit contact with others. 
  • Cover coughs and sneezes. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. 
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. 
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu. 
  • For flu, CDC recommends that people stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. 
  • Take time to get your flu vaccine


Check out the news article, "Keep The Flu or COVID-19 from Getting a Seat at the Table," from the San Diego County News Center below!

Read More

Stock Image | Graphic art of many people, of different ages and backgrounds, standing side by side. The one in the center holds a broad leafy plant.

Photo of many delicious-looking food platters, water glasses, and wine cups on a party table.

Seasonal and Holiday Food Safety

To ensure a safe winter season, don’t forget food safety!


Food poisoning, under-cooked food, food storage, and remembering to properly dispose of spoiled foods (especially after outdoor gatherings) are just a few things to keep in mind. 


Make food safety part of your party, holiday, or event plans with these CDC tips.

Read More

Rawpixel | Photo of many delicious-looking food platters, water glasses, and wine cups on a party table.

Interpretation, Education, & Volunteers (IEV)

Photo of vast periwinkle sky with moody twilight clouds over the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

Thank you volunteers for all your hard work this winter season!


As an update, moving forward, new VIPs will wear blue safety vests that they can check out at the Visitor Center. Once they pass 40 hours of volunteer service, we will gladly offer them the standard VIP uniform (ex. shirt and name tag)!


We hope this new policy will help reduce uniform replacement costs, so we can then use that money on more fun or useful things for the VIPs' benefit.


If you see a new VIP in their blue safety vest, please say "hi" and welcome them to the park!



Also, a quick shout-out to the Point Loma Garden Club! Our Old Point Loma Lighthouse is now decorated for the holiday season (through early January).

NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

Photo of vast periwinkle sky with moody twilight clouds over the Old Point Loma Lighthouse..

Longhorn bee resting on California sunflower.

NEW Volunteer Project at the Park - We Need You!


Looking to expand your service in the park? Curious about San Diego native bees and the plants they depend on? Want to contribute to climate change research? Enjoy walking the Bayside Trail?


If you said yes to at least one of these, keep reading!


Cabrillo National Monument is seeking dedicated volunteers to contribute to a long-term community science project right here at the park.  


The project is called San Diego Native Bee Watch. With Cabrillo’s rich biodiversity, it’s no surprise many of our 700+ native bee species are seen visiting flowering plants all around the park. You’ve probably noticed a green sweat bee on Eastern Mojave Buckwheat, or a bumble bee on Lemonade Sumac (aka Lemonade Berry)! The goal of this community science project is to understand how native bees interact with native plants in a changing climate, so we may help preserve these important pollinators and the habitat they share with many species here at Cabrillo. 


Project volunteers will set out on the Bayside Trail every week (or so) to document the current life stages of designated native plants (i.e., flowering, new leaf growth) and the presence of native bees. “But it’s not yet spring! There are hardly any flowers” you say. Plants experience different phases of their life cycle throughout the year, changing sometimes by the day, and this affects pollinator lifestyles. As you already know, no two days are ever the same here at Cabrillo! 

 

Come join this fantastic opportunity to learn about the phenology of local species while contributing to their preservation and enjoying beautiful views of San Diego Bay. If you are interested in learning more, or already know you want to participate, please attend our introductory walk and talk along the Bayside Trail in late November/early December.


Send an email to Sam Wynns (samantha_wynns@partner.nps.gov) expressing your interest in the San Diego Native Bee Watch Project, and you’ll be updated on project news and how to join


NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

Longhorn bee resting on California sunflower.

Trees frame the image of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse's lens and lantern in the distance. The historical 38-star flag also waves in the frame

NPS Photo | VIP Kim

Trees frame the image of the Old Point Loma Lighthouse's lens and lantern in the distance. The historical 38-star flag also waves in the frame..

Naturalization Ceremonies

The last Naturalization Ceremony of 2022 will be Tuesday, December 20th. Please sign up if you are available, as we need VIPs!


Never volunteered at these ceremonies but would like to give it a try?


Email cabr_volunteers@nps.gov so we can provide more details and ensure you are able to sign up!


Thank you for your continued commitment and support with the Naturalization Ceremonies! 

Sign Up Now!

Resources Management & Science

Photo of a Snowy Egret wading in the tidepools among the rocks and seagrass, with its wings extended.

Come learn about dark unicorns of the sea (whelks) with Scientists-in-Parks Intern Anthony Truong! He’ll be giving a Naturally Speaking Talk on 12/15 at 6 PM in the auditorium. Register at cnmf.org. More information further below!


"I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to the Weed Warriors and Greenhouse volunteers. The Coastal Trail is looking excellent near the new bilingual Crabrillo sign now that it is cleared of non-native grasses and new plants have been planted. 


Finally, thank you to TPERP volunteers for your dedication during the busy low tide season! We really couldn't do it without you. Your presence there helps keep visitors and the tidepools safe, and helps the little ones walk away with wonder in their eyes after answering their questions."

- Lauren P., Division Supervisor

NPS Photo | C. Aurrecoechea

Photo of a Snowy Egret wading in the tidepools among the rocks and seagrass, with its wings extended.

Greenhouse

Photo of new plants on East side of stairs leading to the tidepool entrance.

Thank you, Greenhouse Crew! On Thursday, we planted 140 babies on either side of the stairs leading to the tide pool entrance. We couldn't have done it without you!


Also, we hope you are all doing great and have enjoyed the rain! That was fantastic for our plants!


More planting and watering ahead near the Coastal Trail! 





NPS Photo | P. Simpson

Photo of new plants on East side of stairs leading to the tidepool entrance.

Did You Know?

Photo of a glass rotating 3rd Order Fresnel lens, viewed from below and inside.

It's the story of the lens removal from lower, active Point Loma Lighthouse, the lens in Assistant Keepers Quarters. It's a rare, no longer made 3rd Order Fresnel lens that represents an era of nautical exploration and engineering. It's a glass titan of over 135 years, weighing over 900 pounds.


It's the process of saving history.


It's explained in "Securing the Point Loma Lighthouse Lens and Assembly," written by VIP Kim Fahlen. If you're curious, read more below!


Thank you, VIP Kim Fahlen, for providing this amazing article.

Read More

Have a "Did You Know?" message you would like to share with other VIPs? Send your submissions to cabr_volunteers@nps.gov!

Unknown | NPS Photo

Photo of a glass rotating 3rd Order Fresnel lens, viewed from below and inside.

News Spotlight

Nighttime photo of a spotted bobcat, crouched low to the ground and staring at the camera-trap. In the background, light is peaking behind the dark mountain.

Column: Gotcha! A new San Diego Natural History Museum photo exhibit explores our backyard wild animal kingdoms

“That’s what the heart of the exhibit is,” said exhibit developer Abigail Karkenny.“It’s really about the ways that people and animals are sharing space. Even when we don’t see them or hear them or think about them, they’re always there.”


On display in the museum’s top-floor photography gallery, “Caught on Camera” — which opens Nov. 18 — is divided into three sections, each devoted to a different type of camera-trap photography.


Check out this brilliant article on a new exhibit, featuring photos taken at Cabrillo National Monument!

Read More

Roy Toft/The San Diego Natural History Museum | Nighttime photo of a spotted bobcat, crouched low to the ground and staring at the camera-trap. In the background, light is peaking behind the dark mountain.

Continued Education Opportunities:

Naturally Speaking: Should I Stay or Should I Go - Range Shifts in the Tidepools

Flyer that states "Naturally Speaking: Should I Stay or Should I Go - Range Shifts in the Tidepools. Free Science Talk. Ecologist Anthony Truong. Cabrillo National Monument & Zoom 12/15/22 6:00-7:00 PM Pacific. Register at CNMF.org" Two photos are left of the dark green textbox, one of ecologist Anthony Truong smiling and another of him carrying out a scientific survey in the middle of the tidepools.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

6 - 7 PM (PST)

Zoom & Cabrillo National Monument Auditorium 

Many species are shifting their ranges as a response to climate change. The dark unicorn whelk (Mexicanthina lugubris) is native to the tidepool communities of Baja California, Mexico, but their range has shifted northward over 60 miles into Southern California since the 1980s.


While dark unicorn whelk shells have been found in San Diego County dating back to the 1930s and 1950s, it is unknown whether their abundance is increasing, decreasing, or stable over time.


Join ecologist Anthony Truong as he discusses his research on unicorn whelks at Cabrillo National Monument and how man-made stressors like climate change affect ecological communities as a whole.

RSVP Here

CNMF | Flyer that states "Naturally Speaking: Should I Stay or Should I Go - Range Shifts in the Tidepools. Free Science Talk. Ecologist Anthony Truong. Cabrillo National Monument & Zoom 12/15/22 6:00-7:00 PM Pacific. Register at CNMF.org" Two photos are left of the dark green textbox, one of ecologist Anthony Truong smiling and another of him carrying out a scientific survey in the middle of the tidepools.

Close-up of a whale's back with barnacles.

Whale Watch Training for VIPs

with Ranger Amanda!


Would like to get a one-hour training on how to help visitors spot gray whales? Would you like to learn more about these majestic creatures, their migration, and more?


Ranger Amanda will be giving some information and tips on Saturday December 17, from 3-4pm via Zoom (Link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8794477788).

NOTE: Due to potential rain in the forecast, this training will no longer be hosted in person.


All VIPs are invited. Join us for a whale-y good time!

Don't forget to log these hours as Continued Education on Volgistics, please.


NPS Photo | Close-up of a whale's back with barnacles.

Quiz: Which cephalopod are you? | Monterey Bay Aquarium

Cephalopods are a class of animals that includes octopuses, squids and cuttlefishes. Cephalopods can be big and small, smart and sneaky. Which one will match your personality? Take this personality quiz and find out!

Click Here

Monterey Bay Aquarium | Trio of cephalopod photos. On the left is a red and pink Giant Pacific octopus. In the center is a violet and yellow bigfin reef squid. On the right is a yellow and brown stumpy-spined cuttlefish. Deep blue water is behind all three cephalopods.

On the VIP Voice

 Tide chart labelled "December 2022, Tide Predictions for Scripps Institute of Oceanography Pier."

December 2022 - Tides

Our dedicated volunteers at Cabrillo National Monument take photos of the exciting flora and fauna down in the tidepools! We want to try and capture the wonderful photos that volunteers are taking in the tidepool area. This blog post is published on a monthly basis, but we need your help.


Please contribute and submit your memorable photos and/or short videos to cnmvipvoice@gmail.com. These can be of tidepool critters, fauna, bluff collapses, sunsets or anything you consider special. Make sure you include who took the photo and the location, if possible. Will you help?

Read More

Ed Parnell/UCSD | Tide chart labelled "December 2022, Tide Predictions for Scripps Institute of Oceanography Pier."

Circular logo of Cabrillo National Monument Foundation. The background has art of the lighthouse, San Diego Bay, sailboats, and a coyote. The foreground has a white banner labeled CABRILLO with a Spanish galleon ship outlined in black above. In the background is a photo of San Diego Bay, with a gray ocean and cloudy blue sky, taken from paved trail lined with green and yellow plants.

Do You Have Bookkeeping Experience?

The Cabrillo National Monument Foundation has an opening for a bookkeeper. If you have interest in that position, you can find out more at: https://cnmf.org/work-for-us/bookkeeper/

Read More

(Foreground) Cabrillo National Monument Foundation | Circular logo of Cabrillo National Monument Foundation. The background has art of the lighthouse, San Diego Bay, sailboats, and a coyote. The foreground has a white banner labeled CABRILLO with a Spanish galleon ship outlined in black above.

(Background) NPS Photo | Photo of San Diego Bay, with a gray ocean and cloudy blue sky, taken from paved trail lined with green and yellow plants.