Dear ,

As always -- there seems to be too much going on in the San Dieguito River Valley to fit everything into one newsletter.
We hope you've been making time to get outside and enjoy the San Dieguito River Valley trails! The Coast to Crest Trail Challenge is still going strong (in fact, in January, we had the second-highest number of finishers so far!) and there are all kinds of events going on throughout the Park.  

Thank you for your continued support of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Valley! Don't forget to renew your Conservancy membership and invite your friends, too!
News & Updates
Valentine's on Volcan
Gather your loved ones and take a moderate to strenuous hike to the summit of Volcan Mountain on Saturday, February 10th! You will be rewarded with scenic views of the Anza-Borrego Desert to the east, downtown San Diego to the south, and the San Dieguito River Park to the west.

Celebrate with a delicious picnic and wine tasting, among other delectable treats.

This hike is for Conservancy members only (you can join or renew your membership at the event registration link). We are limiting the number of people on this hike to 26. Click here to register.

Monthly Volunteer Opportunities with San Diego Canyonlands
San Diego Canyonlands is hosting monthly stewardship events at two locations in the River Park this year.

In February, join them on Thursday, 2/15 at Crest Canyon and on Saturday, 2/17 at Gonzales Canyon. During these monthly events, volunteers will remove trash and invasive non-native plants, plant/water native plants in restoration sites, maintain trails, and other canyon enhancements. Plus, you'll get to learn about San Diego's native plants and the importance of urban canyons to our ecosystem-while getting your hands good and dirty to serve your local open space and community!

For more information about these and other San Diego Canyonlands events, visit their Events Calendar.
Parking for Coast to Crest Trail at the San Dieguito Lagoon

Please do not use the Horsepark lot when parking to use the trails at the Lagoon. Parking is available at the San Dieguito Lagoon Staging Area, which can be accessed from San Andres Dr., as shown above.
Past Board Member Elected as First CLA President
The Conservancy is pleased to share that Past Board Member (2004-2007) Heather L. Rosing has recently been elected to serve as the first President of the California Lawyers Association (CLA). 

As the nation's second-largest professional association for attorneys, CLA is the new home of the Sections of the State Bar of California, as well as the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA). The organization's mission to promote professional advancement of attorneys practicing in California. 

Ms. Rosing is Chief Financial Officer and Shareholder of Klinedinst PC, a business law firm with five offices across the West Coast. She currently serves as the President of the California Bar Foundation, California's largest scholarship resource for diverse law students, and is highly active in the legal community. Having served as Vice President of the State Bar of California, she provides a unique perspective in the makeup of the state's legal community.

Click here for additional information. Congratulations, Heather!
Citizen Science 2017 Recap
The final results from our 2017 Citizen Science surveys from the Conservancy's Rutherford C property near Volcan Mountain in Julian are in! 

In total, 24 volunteers recorded 157 plants and 70 wildlife species on site (10 mammal and 60 bird species). Visit the Conservancy's website to see complete lists of species and photos from our surveys.
This year we are conducting surveys along the San Dieguito River between the communities of Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe. If you'd like to join us and become a Citizen Scientist, we have several upcoming volunteer opportunities, including regular bird surveys with Palomar Audubon and a botanical survey this spring. For more information, email Conservation Manager Jack Hughes at .

The Orchard at Sikes Adobe
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is not only a State of California Point of Historical Interest-it's also a fully functioning interpretive garden and orchard, consisting of twelve peach trees. There are two varieties of peaches, yellow and white.
Spanish soldiers attached to the Presidio in San Diego were known to have planted fruit trees near Old Town. During the Gold Rush, there was a spike in peach planting (caused by high prices in the goldfields) and then a bust in peach production (associated with overplanting).
The Sikes Farmstead was nestled in the community of Bernardo, and after the cultivation of wheat in the valleys, it was discovered that the hillsides and mesas were perfect for fruit tree production. The Escondido Times reported in 1893 that some of the finest peaches and apricots in this section are raised in the vicinity of Bernardo, and that many of the heavily loaded peach trees have to be propped.

There is plenty of historical evidence to maintain the interpretive orchard at Sikes Adobe. Recently, SDRP volunteers and staff have started pruning the peach trees in the orchard, something that must be done after the growing season in order to have an optimal harvest in the summer. Pruning is both a science and an art and is dependent on many variables. It promotes the structural strength of the tree and improves health, flowers, and fruit.

Facts About Peaches


  • Peaches and other stone fruit are in the prunus family along with cherries, apricots, plums, and almonds.
  • Peaches are native to Northwest China and were first domesticated and cultivated there, possibly 8,000 years ago.
  • Peaches were first introduced to California by the Spanish in the late 18th century.


Please visit the Sikes Adobe stand at the North San Diego Certified Farmers Market in the spring and summer to purchase the peaches grown in the Sikes interpretive orchard!
River Park Volunteer Training Coming Next Spring
The River Park will be holding a volunteer training on March 31st, 2018.

The training will consist of a morning Powerpoint session at the San Diego Archaeological Center from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., followed by an afternoon session at Sikes Adobe Historic
Farmstead from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The afternoon session will be split into three groups, with specific training for:
  • Trail patrollers
  • Educational docents
  • Habitat and trail restoration
Space is limited so reservations are required. Reserve your spot here to receive a detailed agenda of the training. Lunch will be provided.

For questions or more information contact Leana Bulay, Manager of Interpretation and Outreach, at or (760) 716-1214.
San Dieguito River Park Scholarships Available
The River Park is awarding scholarships for students pursuing further education in the fields of biology, environmental studies or resource management.

To be eligible, students must be residents of San Diego County, have successfully completed three years of studies at an accredited high school, be in the their fourth year of high school with a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or better and expect to receive, or have received, a "notice of intent," to enroll in undergraduate college courses.

Complete the application found here. The application requirements include a 300-500 word essay, two letters of recommendation and an unofficial copy of your transcript of grades. All application materials are due by April 2nd, 2018. All applicants will be notified by May 11th, 2108.

For any questions, please contact Leana Bulay, Manager of Interpretation and Outreach at or (760) 716-1214.
Barnouw Bridge
On January 17th the new bridge on the Coast to Crest trail near Del Dios Community Park was dedicated to Jeff Barnouw for his generous donation. 

Jeff, a retired Professor of English and Comparative Literature at UCSD, has been an active Park volunteer for almost a decade. He enjoys being Dust Devils for camaraderie and exercise. 

He also is on the Interpretation Committee, the Chair of the Citizen Advisory Committee and a board member on the Joint Powers Authority. 

The River  Park  greatly  appreciates his hard work and  dedication.
Congrats Coast to Crest Trail Challengers!
Linzee & Steve Rhodes on Bernardo Mountain
23 people completed the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge in January!

Congratulations to:

Cassandra Brown
Stephanie Prolong
Linzee and Steve Rhodes
Scott Mocabee
Cynthia, Hunter, Lucy, Darcy, and Locklan Hudson
Leigh Vosseller and John Sheridan
Jeff and Kim Martini (with their dog Andi)
Bob Scott and Kim Forgette (with their dog Cody)
Jeff and Nancy Martin (with their dog Bailey)
Cornelia Ross
Kysha Winters
Maria Auletta
Tiffani Zalinski
Sarah Devlin

Learn more about the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge here.
Coming Up in February
2/3 - Ms. Smarty Plants and the Magic of Water
Become a Ms. Smarty-Plants™ Earth Hero to save our most precious resource, water! 

Take a fun and interactive journey with magic and music through the water cycle, conservation, plant adaptations and much more. Learn, laugh & lend a hand to the planet by taking the Ms. Smarty-Plants™ Earth Hero Pledge, and remember "We can change the world with our own two hands!"

When: Saturday, February 3rd from 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.
Where: Birdwing Open Air Classroom
2/10 & 2/11 - Valentine's Teas at Sikes Adobe
Tea for Two or Tea for You!

A steaming cup of hot tea and a delicious plate of sweets and sandwiches await you. Join us for our 6th annual Valentine's Tea, hosted by the Friends of Sikes Adobe!

Reservations are required and available online here. Seating is limited.

For further information, please contact Ranger David at or (760) 432-8318.

When: Saturday, February 10th and Sunday, February 11th at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Where: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead
Cost: $15/person (includes a tour of the farmhouse)
February Events

Sundays, 2/4, 2/11, 2/18, 2/25:
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market
Thursday, 2/1:
Saturday, 2/3:

Sunday, 2/4:
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count

Gonzales Canyon - Torrey Pines Loop Hike

Saturday, 2/10:
Valentine's on Volcan

Valentine Teas
Sunday, 2/11:
Valentine Teas
Thursday, 2/15: 
Invasive Removal Work Party
Saturday, 2/17:
Volunteer Habitat Restoration

San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk

Trail Clearance Work Party
Sunday, 2/18:
Yoga at the Birdwing
Monday, 2/19:
President's Day Hike to Felicita Creek
Saturday, 2/24:
Foul Weather Hike to the Summit

Sunday, 2/25:
Canyoneers Hike on Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail

What Happened in January
Photo by Brad Bartlett
High Tech High Expedition, A Watershed Explorers Experience

The Conservancy completed a semester-long project with students at High Tech High North County with a three-mile hike from the Del Mar Polo Fields to Del Mar's Dog Beach. 

This project, led by HtH biology teacher Matt Leader, had students digging deep into the San Dieguito Watershed's five vegetative communities, or biomes, studying both the biology and history of human impact on the region. 

After months of research, the students split into two groups. One completed Conservancy-led hikes through each of the five biomes, while the other group continued research in the classroom, incorporating findings and data gathered on the hikes. They also prepared an art-meets-science exhibit that was on display on Dog Beach following the final trek.

Students made mandalas depicting native plants, and one group used the school's laser cutter to carve a topographical map of the watershed. On the beach, students explained their findings and shared what they learned during their research and expeditions.

We really enjoyed getting to work with this talented group of students on such an immersive project!

Thank you to our volunteer hike assistants, High Tech High North County, REI, County of San Diego Parks & Recreation Department, City of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, Outdoor Outreach, Volcan Mountain Foundation and the San Dieguito River Park JPA.
Sikes Adobe Docents Visit Hoover Barn  

In January, volunteers and docents at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead visited the Hoover barn, a Dutch-style barn nestled in the heart of Santa Ysabel and built by David Hoover in the 1890s. The barn was used to store feed, hay, and other goods that were to be sold at a nearby general store. 

The barn had fallen into disrepair and was eventually purchased by SOHO San Diego from the County of San Diego with the help of the San Dieguito River Park. It was recently restored by SOHO using salvaged materials like redwood lumber. SOHO staff gave Sikes volunteers an opportunity to tour the interior of the barn in order to take photographs and learn about its construction and use.

It is the goal of the docents and volunteers of Sikes Adobe to eventually construct a barn that would have existed during the time that the Sikes family lived at the farmstead in Bernardo. The Hoover Barn, which fits into the historic site's interpretive period, would have been a common site in rural communities throughout the late-nineteenth century.
Field Ecology with Cathedral Catholic  

Students from Cathedral Catholic's AP Environmental Science class, taught by Michelle Stallings, took to the field to investigate the intricacies within our watershed through our Coastal Wetlands Field Ecology Project. By testing water quality, surveying local birds, and setting up wildlife cameras, students gathered data for analysis back in the classroom.