Dear ,

Happy New Year from all of us at the Conservancy and River Park!
We're just a few days in, but 2019 is already shaping up to be an exciting one for the San Dieguito River Valley! The Conservancy's popular Valentine's on Volcan and Wax & Wine events are coming up in February and March -- reservations for both are open! -- but what we're probably most excited for is the grand opening of the Pamo Valley section of the Coast to Crest Trail!

More on that below -- we hope to see you there!  

Thank you for your continued support of the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and the San Dieguito River Park! Don't forget to renew your Conservancy membership and invite your friends, too!
Photo by Aaron Chang
News & Updates
Pamo Valley Section of the Coast to Crest Trail Grand Opening

This month, an additional 3 miles of Coast to Crest Trail will be open to the public in Pamo Valley near Ramona. This segment connects two existing trails in the Cleveland National Forest, the Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail (from Boden Canyon to Pamo Road) and the Upper Santa Ysabel Truck Trail (Pamo Road to near Lake Sutherland), to form 12 contiguous miles of Coast to Crest Trail. You can take a virtual tour of the new trail  here.

This trail would not be possible without over $153,000 contributed by the Conservancy, including a $43,000 grant to SDRVC from REI, and $114,000 from 2019 Heart of the Conservancy Award winner, Joan Griffin and her late husband, Monty. Additional funding provided for this project includes a $285,000 grant to the River Park JPA from the California Natural Resources Agency.

The River Park JPA rangers and volunteers worked long and hard on constructing this beautiful trail, doing an amazing job and substantially reducing the labor cost of this project.

Education Program Highlight: Critters on Camera
Fifth grade students from High Tech Elementary North County are using Citizen Science to discover more about the River Park! Through in the field activities with the Conservancy's Ana Lutz and Jonathan Appelbaum and the River Park's Leana Bulay, students learned about animal tracking, fire ecology, and invasive plants. 

Now back in the classroom, HTeNC science teacher Shelley Glenn Lee is leading her classes to process wildlife camera photos.

Captured on Camera
Here are some of the photos HTeNC fifth graders are reviewing...

2019 Introductory Birding Course
Phil Pryde, a Conservancy Advisory Board Member, is offering an introductory birding course designed for beginners who would like to gain the basic skills and information needed to enjoy the increasingly popular pastime of bird identification. Six c lasses will be held on Saturday mornings in February and March at a cost of $110. 

Please click here for more details.

Bird of the Month: Snowy Egret
The snowy egret is a middle-sized white heron with a thin black bill, black legs, and yellow feet. The upper part of their bill, in front of the eyes, is yellow but turns red during the breeding season. Extremely lovely plumes are present on the back during the breeding season as well.

The snowy egret eats mostly aquatic animals, including fish, frogs, worms, crustaceans, and insects. It often uses its bright yellow feet to paddle in the water or probe in the mud, rounding up prey before striking with its bill. Snowy egrets feed while standing, walking, running, or hopping, and they may vibrate their bills, sway their heads, or flick their wings as part of prey gathering.

I believe one of Its more peculiar hunting techniques is to make bubbles in the water with its bill to attract fish. The snowy egret will wade into shallow waters, put its bill in the water and start to agitate the water by opening and closing it rapidly. This creates a series of ripples that will attract small fish. Once one comes close enough the egret will grab it, take it to shore and eat it.

These birds are found throughout the San Dieguito River Park corridor, around Lake Hodges area and at the lagoon by Del Mar.

Congrats Coast to Crest Trail Challengers!
Rita Mae Kelly completed the Challenge with her trusty photographer, Leanne!
6 people and 1 dog completed the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge in December!

Congratulations to:

Neil  Cadwallader
Don Crittenden
Roy Osborne
Rita Mae Kelly & Leanne Kelly
April Robinson
Marie Hislop

Learn more about the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge here.
Coming Up in January
1/12 - Brigantine Basin Planting Event

In Fall 2018, SDRVC and dozens of determined volunteers removed invasive ice plant from the Brigantine Basin in the San Dieguito Lagoon. The Conservancy now invites volunteers to help us plant native salt marsh plant species to replace the ice plant and restore this sensitive habitat within the lagoon.

For more information, please contact Conservancy Conservation Manager Jonathan Appelbaum at

WhenSaturday, January 12th from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
WhereBrigantine Basin; 3193 Camino Del Mar

1/12 - Grey Matter with A SHIP IN THE WOODS

A SHIP IN THE WOODS presents GREY MATTER, which discusses the impetus of stress, challenges and disconnection. Alternatively it unveils ideas on how we can overcome and champion a peaceful state of mind. The show additionally illuminates the neuroscience that also examines how mindfulness and other techniques positively affect the grey matter in our brain which can change our focus, attention and overall health. The audience is invited to explore interactive installations, experience nature, the winding paths, sounds of the flowing creek, while being an observer of their present state of mind. The event will feature the band WSPRGRL and other entertainment.

The Conservancy is partnering with A SHIP IN THE WOODS for the evening portion of the event!

WhenSaturday, January 12th from 7:00 - 10:00 pm
Where272 E Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido

1/20 - Gonzales Canyon Tree Planting

Join the Conservancy as we plant native trees in Gonzales Canyon! 

Gloves, tools, and water will be provided.

WhenSunday, January 20th from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Where13510 Sword Way, Del Mar

1/26 - Science of Flight

Learn what it takes to live in the air! Meet one of the Living Coast Discovery Center's raptor ambassadors up close and discover how feathers, hollow bones, and specially shaped wings adapt birds for flight. This table is sure to inspire the naturalist in all students!

IMPORTANT NOTE: Parking is limited. This experience is limited to 35 participants, please make sure to register.

Questions? Contact Education Manager Ana Lutz at or (858) 755-6956.

WhenSaturday, January 12th from 7:00 - 10:00 pm
Where272 E Via Rancho Parkway, Escondido

2/9 - Valentine's on Volcan

Gather your loved ones and take a moderate hike at Volcan Mountain with the SDRVC and the Volcan Mountain Foundation. You will be rewarded with scenic views, a delicious picnic, refreshments and other delectable treats.

We will hike up from Volcan Mountain Foundation's Nature Center and pass Ironside Springs. It is about 4 miles round-trip and a ~1,000' elevation gain.

We love our furry friends, but no dogs are allowed on this hike. Make your reservations early, we are limiting the number of people at this event to 26.

WhenSaturday, February 9th, 8:30 - 11:30 am
WhereVolcan Mountain Foundation Nature Center (22850 Volcan Rd., Julian)

3/24 - Wax & Wine

The Conservancy presents "Wax & Wine 2019" at the Knorr Candle Shoppe in Del Mar.  Knorr is the largest manufacturer of 100% beeswax products -- right here in our backyard!

Guests will savor gourmet bites from Urban Kitchen Catering (featuring cuisine from award-winning Kitchen Urban Group restaurants, including Cucina Enoteca, Cucina Urbana and Cucina Sorella).  

Wines and craft beers have been chosen by the experts to pair with these dishes for guests to enjoy. 

Topaz will serenade you with live violin and classic guitar as you stroll among the lush gardens of Knorr. Artisan David will show guests how to make their own beeswax candle to take home. 

Knorr is offering guests 15% OFF any Knorr Beeswax purchase at the Knorr Candle Shoppe!

WhenSunday, March 24 from 2:00 - 5:00 pm
WhereKnorr Candle Shoppe (14906 Via De La Valle, Del Mar)

January Events

Sundays, 1/6, 1/13, 1/20, 1/27:
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market & Farmhouse Tours
Sunday, 1/6:
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count

Saturday, 1/12:

Sunday, 1/13:
Volunteer Trail Maintenance

Sunday Morning Hike
Saturday, 1/19:
Volunteer Habitat Restoration

San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk

Sunday, 1/20:
Gonzales Canyon Tree Planting

Yoga at the Lagoon
Saturday, 1/26:
Grand Opening Celebration Pamo Valley Segment of the Coast to Crest Trail

Science of Flight
Sunday, 1/27:
Wildcrafting: Willow Dreamcatchers

What Happened in December
Festive Farmhouse

On December 2nd, the Friends of Sikes Adobe hosted Festive Farmhouse at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead with over 50 visitors in attendance! Docents decorated the farmhouse with Christmas decorations that were typical to the late 19th Century when the Sikes family lived in the home. Decorations such as garlands made of pine and gum tree and ornaments made out of old postcards were placed in and around the house. A small live tree was placed in Eliza's sitting parlor.

The visiting public was invited into the house where they made Christmas ornaments, frosted cookies, decorated oranges with cloves, and enjoyed docent-led tours of the house.

Be on the lookout for future events in the River Park and at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead!

Brigantine Basin Habitat Stewardship

Last month, 11 hearty volunteers helped the Conservancy clear the remaining ice plant and invasive sea lavender from the southern half of the Brigantine Basin, in preparation for planting in January.

The Brigantine Basin and much of the San Dieguito Lagoon faces imminent threat from future sea level rise. The Conservancy, with support from the 22nd Agricultural District and City of Del Mar, is enhancing the existing habitat within the basin as a proactive strategy to mitigate sea level rise impacts on the native plant and wildlife community within the lagoon.

Please join us on January 12th as we plant hundreds of native salt marsh and coastal sage scrub species where the ice plant was removed to create a healthier lagoon for us all.

New Year's Resolution Habitat Restoration Work Party

We had an excellent planting event at the River Path Del Mar to close out 2018! 16 volunteers planted over 200 new native plants, including a strip of coastal sage scrub habitat. We also created a new seasonal wetland/bioswale on the west end of the site. It was beautiful planting weather and it rained the next day!

Many thanks to all who joined us, and to the City of Del Mar Public Works Department for their assistance.