The days are getting shorter and (a little) cooler, the leaves are changing (at least in some parts of the River Park), and the Conservancy's furry mascot, Dieguito the Squirrel, has been hoarding nuts all over over the's officially fall!

Our seasonal shifts are mild in San Diego, but they do happen, and the more time you spend in nature--whether on the Lagoon Trail, at Bernardo Bay, on Raptor Ridge, or the summit of Volcan Mountain--the more you'll be able to notice, appreciate, and savor the subtle changes each month brings.  

Fall colors in Clevenger Canyon, December 2012. Photo by James Coffee

Of course, November means we'll be celebrating Thanksgiving, and we're feeling extra grateful for our members and supporters this year! Thanks to your dedication and donations, we're able to continue work on the Coast to Crest Trail and expand our conservation, education, and recreation programs. If you're grateful for the River Park and Conservancy, we'd love for you to share our work with a friend ( Conservancy memberships make wonderful holiday gifts for the nature-lovers in your life)!

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!




Sundays, November
6, 13, 20, 27
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market - Rain or Shine!
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:

Sunday, November 6
7:30 am - 12:00 pm
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count
Hosted by San Dieguito Bird Count Leader Jayne Lesley

Sunday, November 6
8:30 am - 11:30 am
Nature Touch Table
Hosted by San Diego County Park staff

Sunday, November 6
9:00 am
Canyoneers Hike at Santa Ysabel Preserve East
3 or 6 mile options, easy
Hosted by San Diego Natural History Museum Volunteers

Sunday, November 6
11:00 am - 3:30 pm
Harvest Festival
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:
Hosted by San Dieguito River Park Rangers and Docents

Saturday, November 12
8:30 am
Bernardo Bay Bird Walk
Hosted by Palomar Audubon Society Member Jeff Ebright

Saturday, November 12
9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Santa Ysabel Creek Hike
6 miles, easy
Hosted by San Diego County Parks Attendant Doug Andrews

Saturday, November 12
9:00 am - 10:30 am
Ranger-Led Walk at the San Dieguito Lagoon
1.7 miles, easy
Hosted by SDRP Ranger JJ Paetow

Sunday, November 13
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
Meet at TBD
Hosted by SDRP Senior Ranger Dave Hekel

Saturday, November 19
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Habitat Restoration
Meet at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:
12655 Sunset Dr., Escondido 
Hosted by SDRP Rangers

Saturday, November 19
8:30 am - 10:30 am
San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk
Hosted by Buena Vista Audubon Society member John Haddock

Saturday, November 19
9:00 am
Furry Friends Hike at Piedras Pintadas
Directions provided upon registration
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Helen Woodward Animal Center 
Free; please bring pet food/treat donation for Helen Woodward Animal Center

Saturday, November 19
9:00 am - 12:30 am
Hike All the Way Across!
8 miles, strenuous
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bill

Sunday, November 20
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Back Country Autumn Hike
7 miles, strenuous
Hosted by San Diego County Park Rangers

Sunday, November 20
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Yoga at the Birdwing
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Yoga Instructor Susan McCrea
Free for members; $10 donation for non-members

Sunday, November 27
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Wildcrafting: Fall Gourds
Meet at VMF's Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Julian Gourd Artists Don Weeke
Cost: $20/person; registration capped at 12 participants

All events are free unless otherwise noted.


For hikes, all mileages are approximate.


Please visit our website for more details and full events calendar.  


Join the Conservancy's Meetup group to learn more about upcoming hikes and events in the River Park. 










Your membership helps us to fulfill our mission to protect  the San Dieguito Watershed for generations to come.








For more information, please visit these websites:

Latest News & Updates
Another Successful River Valley Fest!
Thank you to the over 300 supporters who attended this year's River Valley Fest at Fairbanks Ranch Country Club! We were treated to a delicious dinner and treats from Claire's on Cedros and serenaded by local musicians Bill Fleming, Mark Kapov, and Kevin McCully. Jack Tempchin's special performance had everyone singing along to some of his classic hits. 

Check out a photo slideshow from the event here (all photos by James Coffee).

Welcome Jack Hughes to Team SDRVC
The Conservancy is thrilled to announce we've hired Jack Hughes as our new Volunteer/Docent Coordinator for the Watershed Explorers Program. Jack will be building a team of volunteers to help expand the education program that gives youth an opportunity to get outdoors and learn about the environment. 

Jack brings valuable experience working with academically-gifted youth in high-risk situations and the Montana Conservation Corps. He holds a master's degree in public policy with a focus on environmental policy from Oregon State University and a Bachelor of Arts from DePaul University.

We're excited to see how the Watershed Explorers Program grows under Jack's leadership! Please join us in welcoming him to Team SDRVC!
Now Recruiting Hike Leaders/Assistants
The Conservancy is currently seeking volunteer Hike Assistants and Leaders to help with our public hikes in the River Park.

Hike Assistant  duties include: 
  • assist with staff-led hikes
  • ensure all members of hike are accounted for
  • point out areas of interest to hikers
  • promote Conservancy membership on all hikes. 

No experience is necessary, just a willingness to learn and share.



Hike Leader duties include: 

  • all Hike Assistant duties listed above
  • help plan hike routes
  • conduct pre-hikes
  • lead interpretive hikes with assistance from one or more volunteers. 

Hike leaders will be required to complete a 10-week Trail Guide Training program at Mission Trails Regional Park and one field-day training session with an experienced Hike Leader in the River Park.



Volunteers must be able to hike trails rated easy to strenuous, and be knowledgeable or willing to learn about the environment, plants and animals. We ask that volunteers commit to helping with at least 2-4 hikes per year. For more information, please contact Conservation Manager Jess Norton at .

photos by James Coffee
Congratulations Volunteer of the Year Bill Augustus!
The Conservancy is proud to honor Bill Augustus at this year's North County Philanthropy Council's Volunteer Awards Luncheon!

Bill, a Park Attendant with County of San Diego Parks and Recreation, is a popular hike leader who guides treks throughout the River Park from Volcan Mountain in Julian to the San Dieguito Lagoon. He shares his knowledge about the history, plants, wildlife, and geology of the area with infectious enthusiasm. We are fortunate to have Bill on our team!

New Mirrors at I-5 Undercrossing on Lagoon Trail
San Dieguito River Park Rangers Felipe Franco and Bryan Ward installed two 36-inch convex mirrors on both ends of the I-5 freeway trail undercrossing at the San Dieguito Lagoon. 

They were put up to ensure trail users enjoy their experience on the trail and feel safer continuing on in either direction around the blind corners, hopefully preventing any collision with other trail users. These newly installed safety features were made possible through a donation by Dwight Worden.

Volunteer Opportunity at Lake Hodges
This fall and winter, the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research (ICR) will be planting 1,000 prickly pear cactus south of Lake Hodges at Bernardo Bay in partnership with the City of San Diego Public Utilities Department, River Park JPA, and the Conservancy. The project will expand potential habitat for the declining Coastal Cactus Wren. Once planting is complete, ICR will begin propagating plants for future restoration efforts by collecting cactus pads from Lake Hodges and the Safari Park's Biodiversity Reserve.

WE NEED YOUR HELP! If you are interested in helping restore critical habitat for Cactus Wren, we're looking for volunteers! Volunteer activities are scheduled for Wednesdays and Saturdays starting this November through March 2017. It's a great opportunity to learn about native plants and help build healthy habitat for our local wildlife. 

For more information, please contact ICR Research Associate Ryan Fitch at

New River Park Brochures are Here
The new and improved San Dieguito River Park brochure has arrived! 

The brochure is a great source of information that offers beautiful pictures and a detailed map of the San Dieguito Watershed. Pick one up at any of our kiosks, our main office or email to have one mailed to you.
Congratulations Trish Boaz!
Conservancy Executive Director Trish Boaz has been named a finalist for this year's Women Who Mean Business Awards from the San Diego Business Journal! 

Congratulations Trish!
Help the Conservancy Grow!
The Conservancy is expanding and we need your help!

As a Conservancy member, you know about the many benefits that come with helping to secure our natural legacy in the River Park. Benefits like:
  • Subscription to our print newsletter, Currents (published three times a year)
  • Subscription to our monthly e-newsletter, Riverscape
  • "Adventure Bucks" discounts at Adventure 16 stores
  • Access to members-only events
  • Priority registration and special rates for Conservancy events
With the support of our members, we have accomplished great things in the River Park over the past 30 years, including:
  • Acquiring open space that would otherwise be developed from the coast to the mountains
  • Removing invasive species and restoring habitat
  • Providing nature and outdoor education opportunities to youth and community throughout the county, including the Citizen Science and Watershed Explorers Programs
  • Offering popular recreation programs like Exploring Our Sense of Place, Full Moon Hikes, Furry Friends Hikes, Yoga at the Birdwing, Trails & Ales, Exec Treks, and more
  • Building the Coast to Crest Trail and other community trails, and connecting the River Park's trail network with other networks in the County
  • Leading volunteer projects and restoration efforts that connect residents to nature and contribute to the vitality of the watershed

We couldn't have done any of this without your help, and we are looking forward to doing even more in the years to come! The Coast to Crest Trail is 25 miles from being completed. Our Citizen Science Monitoring program has reached over 200 citizen scientists and continues to grow. Recreation events ranging from hikes to the River Valley Fest constantly see more and more eager participants. 

To keep up this momentum, we are asking you, our current members, to please share the Conservancy and River Park with your friends. If you have any nature lovers in your life -- any hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, bird watchers, yogis, gardeners, plein air artists, nature photographers, budding botanists or biologists -- please forward this newsletter and tell them how rewarding it is to be a Conservancy member. They can get all the benefits listed above for just  $35 a year by clicking here:

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Coming Up in November
Bernardo Mountain Bird Survey
November 2nd
If you are a birder or an aspiring birder -- we want you! Join the Conservancy and Palomar Audubon for one of the last bird surveys at Bernardo Mountain on November 2nd  as part of our ongoing Citizen Science Monitoring Program. 

This walking survey will start at 8:00 am from the Lake Hodges Boat Launch area and follow the Coast to Crest Trail approximately one mile before returning along the Lake View Trail. Surveys typically finish between 11 - 11:30 AM. All you need is sturdy walking shoes and a pair of binoculars. To register, or for more information, email Conservation Manager Jess Norton at .   

When : Tuesday, November 2nd at 8:00 am
Where: Lake Hodges Boat Launch

Sikes Adobe Harvest Festival
November 6th
The Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead is celebrating fall in the park and the harvest season. There will be opportunities to learn about animals, decorate pumpkins, a scarecrows contest, a scavenger hunt, face painting, tours of the Farmhouse, a piñata, and food! 

The scarecrow contest challenges you to make your own scarecrow, either brought from home or made on the farmhouse grounds. The contest winner will be announced and the piñata brought out at 2:00 p.m.

Farm and ranch costumes are encouraged but not required. 

Cost: $3.00/person
When: Sunday, November 6th from 11:00 am - 3:30 pm 
Where: Sike s Adobe Historic Farmstead (map)

Coast to Cactus Presentation:
An Evening with Diana Lindsay
November 17th
Friends of the Del Mar Library and the Del Mar San Dieguito Lagoon Committee present an evening with Diana Lindsay, Managing Editor of Coast to Cactus: The Canyoneer Trail Guide to San Diego Outdoors


This is one of the few hiking guides in the country produced in conjunction with a Museum of Natural History. Diana will be talking about some of San Diego's best hiking trails and what the region has to offer in terms of biodiversity. 

Diana is currently serving on the board of the San Diego Natural History Museum and has been a Museum Canyoneer, leading public walks and hikes, for almost 30 years. 

When: Thursday, November 17th at 6:30 pm 
Where: Del Mar Library: 1309 Camino Del Mar

Furry Friends Hike
November 19th
Bring your dog(s) and join other animal lovers and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy for an easy and family-friendly Furry Friends Hike at the Piedras Pintadas Trail in Rancho Bernardo (approximately 4 miles). The hike is FREE, and participants are asked to bring a donation of dog and cat food to support the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Space is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP by November 18th . For more info, contact Jess Norton at 
When: Saturday, November 19th at 9:00 am 
Where: directions available upon registration

Volunteer Trail Project with REI
January 14th
Join REI, the San Dieguito River Park, the San Diego Mountain Biking Association, and the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy on January 14th from nine to noon to repair an approximately ½-mile portion of the multi-use, unpaved Bernardo Summit Trail within the San Dieguito River Park.  

Increasing access to outdoor recreation is a major goal of REI, the San Dieguito River Park, The San Diego Mountain Biking  Association, and the Conservancy. The Bernardo Mountain Summit Trail provides a panoramic view of Lake Hodges to the west and San Pasqual Valley and local mountains to the east. The nearby Coast to Crest Trail, which is accessible from the Bernardo Summit Trail, is a 70-mile trail that traverses unique landscapes from the coast in Del Mar to Volcan Mountain in Julian.  
We want to thank REI for the $10,000 grant to make this project a reality and bringing our communities together to ensure our outdoor experiences are safe and enjoyable! 
When: Saturday, January 14th at 9:00 am 
Where: directions available upon registration

What Happened in October
DMF Talks with Bill Toone
The Conservancy co-hosted a DMF Talks event with the Del Mar Foundation on October 10th. Bill Toone, Executive Director and Founder of ECOLIFE Conservation, gave a talk on Batwa Pygmies and how their share the forest with mountain gorillas.

Bill worked for the Zoological Society of San Diego until he became disillusioned with the traditional efforts of conservation. He launched a new division, Applied Conservation, within the Zoological Society, which allowed him to travel extensively and work in over 30 countries, including Papua New Guinea, Borneo, Paraguay, Cameroon, and Madagascar. In his travels and work, he began to notice a link between impoveris hed resources and impoverished people. Bill co-founded ECOLIFE Conservation,  an organization dedicated to a world in which people and nature prosper together, in 2003.

Bill's talk was fascinating and insightful as he shared what he's learned over the years about we can best conserve our natural resources. Thank you to everyone who attended!
Hidden Hike at Lake Sutherland
It was a gorgeous day at Lake Sutherland for our Hidden Hike! Trish and City of San Diego Public Utilities Watershed Manager Jeff Pasek led hikers around the lake and explored the Lake Sutherland Dam. Thanks to everyone who joined us!

Visit the Conservancy's Facebook page for more photos!