Dear ,

We hope you're able to take advantage of the (slightly) cooler weather and not letting the shorter days deter you from getting outside.
This month, we're sharing some details about the Conservancy's new Five-Year Strategic Education Plan -- learn all about how we're "filling in the gaps" for nature education throughout North County and beyond. In future Riverscapes, we'll highlight some of the new and ongoing programs with partners like High Tech High, High Tech Middle, and High Tech Elementary Schools, Climate Science Alliance, Reality Changers, and more.

Also coming up towards the end of the month...#OptOutside returns for the fourth year in a row. REI is once again closing all their stores and giving employees the day off to #OptOutside with friends and family -- and encouraging everyone else to do the same! The Conservancy is proud to join in again with a guided hike at Piedras Pintadas. (And rumor has it...those who complete the entire #C2CChallenge on Friday the 23rd may get some special recognition...stay tuned!)

In the meantime, we'd love to hear (and see!) how you #OptOutside every day. Share your photos on Facebook or Instagram and tag us! 

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!
Photo by Aaron Chang
News & Updates
Another Successful River Valley Fest!
Thank you again to everyone who joined us at L'Auberge Del Mar for this year's River Valley Fest! Luckily the rain from the day before cleared out and we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon and evening overlooking the ocean while we celebrated our accomplishments and success -- all made possible by you, our incredible donors, supporters, and partners!

You contributed over $100,000 to the Conservancy's conservation, education, and recreation programs! WOW!

We were also pleased to present the "Heart of the Conservancy" award to Joan Griffin and her late husband, Monty, for their contributions to the Coast to Crest Trail. We also awarded the "Corporate Partner of the Year" award to REI in recognition of their commitment to our mission.
Conservancy Creates Five-Year Education Strategic Plan
Led by Education Manager, Ana Lutz, the Conservancy has created a five-year education strategic plan, modeled after The Escondido Creek Conservancy's plan. It started in July 2018 and includes a number of programs designed to bring nature education to students both within and outside the San Dieguito River Watershed.

Specifically, the goals of the Education Plan are:

1.  Provide equal access to the San Dieguito Watershed to all residents and visitors.
2.  Foster educational experiences and stewardship opportunities to students living in - or visiting - the San Dieguito Watershed
3.  Leverage SDRVC's relationships and resources to achieve the largest impact possible
4.  Develop and maintain relevant educational programs and experiences for the public
5.  Maintain continual funding to support environmental education programs
6.  Create and enhance partnerships with local and neighboring watershed communities.
7.  Provide enrichment opportunities for staff and volunteers to ensure adequate training
8.  Develop environmental stewards that will protect and preserve the natural and cultural resources of the San Dieguito Watershed

Stay tuned for more news about the plan in action! For more information on the Conservancy's education programs, click here.

Get Involved at Sikes Adobe
The grounds around the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead provide ample  opportunities for those throughout North San Diego County to volunte er  and give back to their community. 

For some, like students or scouts, the volunteer opportunities serve as a way to complete requirements for a class or advancement to the next level.

For others, Sikes Adobe provides an opportunity for healthy activity in the outdoors. Come help in the gardens or join us on Sundays for the weekly Farmers Market. 

For more information on volunteering contact Leana Bulay, Manager of Interpretation and Outreach, at

Bird of the Month: White-crowned Sparrow
In winter, the White-crowned Sparrow is one of San Diego County ' s most
abundant birds. Some grass, weeds, or open ground for foraging, and nea rby
shrubbery or trees for refuge from predators, are all it nee ds for habitat at
this season. This makes the San Dieguito River Park and Lake Hodg es the
perfect place for spotting these seasonal visitors.

The white-crowned sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) is a medium-siz ed  member of the American sparrow family; this species has a grey  face and a  very noticeable black and white streaking on the upper head.

These birds mostly forage on the ground or in low vegetation, but s ometimes  make short flights to catch flying insects. Their diet consists mainly  of seeds,  other plant parts and insects. In winter, they often forage in fl ocks.

The white-crowned sparrow is known for its natural alertnes s mechanism,  which allows it to stay awake for up to two weeks during migration. This  effect has been studied for possible human applications, such as  shift-work  drowsiness or truck driving.

Congrats Coast to Crest Trail Challengers!
Gabriel and Willow
8 people completed the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge in October!

Congratulations to:

Annett Parris
Gabriel Buhr
David Dohren
Robert Lundy
Mel Winestock
Roger Renstrom
Sam Navidi
John Cella

Learn more about the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge here.
Coming Up in November
11/10 - C2C Trail Challenge at Santa Ysabel Preserve East
Through its Next to Nature Program, the Conservancy encourages the creation of sustainable yards, especially those that surround preserves, canyons, parks and other open spaces.
We are partnering with Heaviland Landscape Management to assist homeowners, community associations and businesses in their efforts to develop areas that are friendly for wildlife and optimize water resources, including rainfall and runoff, to preserve the integrity of our surrounding natural spaces.
Learn more about the Next to Nature Program and how to create a sustainable yard at this workshop. It is the first class of a series that will be ongoing throughout the year.

When: Saturday, November 10th from 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Where: Santa Ysabel East Preserve Kanaka Loop Trail
Register -- this event is full, but you may add yourself to the waitlist 

11/17 - Family Volunteer Day at Gonzales Canyon
Family Volunteer Day is a day of service that celebrates the power of families who work together to support their communities and neighborhoods. Powered by generationOn, the youth and family division of Points of Light, and sponsored by The Walt Disney Company, this day of service helps families strengthen their bonds to their communities and each other.

Volunteering is a great way for kids and adults to make new friends, develop compassion for their neighbors, and even pick up a new skill or two! It's an amazing day -- don't miss out on this incredible opportunity!

The Conservancy is spearheading a Family Volunteer Day event and volunteers are needed to help plant 75 plants in a demonstration garden/native habitat area within the Gonzales Canyon Open Space Preserve.

When: Saturday, November 17th from 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Where: 13510 Sword Way

11/23 - #OptOutside Hike at Piedras Pintadas
Looking to walk off some of Thanksgiving dinner? #OptOutside for a hike on the beautiful Piedras Pintadas trail with the Conservancy.

The name Piedras Pintadas, meaning "painted rocks," pays tribute to the remarkable rock art that was created in the Rancho Bernardo area by the Kumeyaay some 500-1000 years ago. The Kumeyaay were semi-nomadic and extremely knowledgeable managers of the natural resources they depended on for food, clothing, medicines and shelter. They were intimately connected to the land and its plants and animals.

Information about the culture and resource management techniques of the Kumeyaay who lived in this area for thousands of years is provided on a series of interpretive panels along the Piedras Pintadas trail.

The Piedras Pintadas Trail is filled with interpretive exhibits that describes the life and culture of the Kumeyaay people. The trail takes you close to the shoreline and provides plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Hiking Difficulty: MODERATE 
Length: 4.4 miles

When: Friday, November 23rd from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Where: Piedras Pintadas Trailhead

12/2 - Festive Farmhouse
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead will be hosting the annual Festive Farmhouse event on Sunday, December 2nd! The farmstead holiday celebration will consist of making homemade ornaments, decorating cookies, holiday music, and guided tours. We hope you will join us!

WhenSunday, December 2nd from 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Where: Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead

November Events

Sundays, 11/4, 11/11, 11/18, 11/25:
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market & Farmhouse Tours
Sunday, 11/4:
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count

Saturday, 11/10:

Sunday, 11/11:
Volunteer Trail Maintenance

Mountain Biking San Diego Beginner Ride at Lake Hodges

Canyoneers Hike at Lake Hodges (Bernardo Mountain Summit)
Saturday, 11/17:
Volunteer Habitat Restoration

San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk

Family Volunteer Day at Gonzales Canyon
Sunday, 11/18:
Wildcrafting: Oak Acorn Holiday Cookies
Friday, 11/23:
#OptOutside Hike at Piedras Pintadas
Saturday, 11/24:
Clean-Up at Crest Canyon

What Happened in October
Next to Nature Workshop  

Last month, approximately 20 guests joined Conservancy Conservation Manager Jonathan Appelbaum at the Del Mar Public Library for the first of the Conservancy's Next To Nature sustainable landscaping workshops, presented in partnership with Heaviland Landscape Management. 

Jonathan led an interactive presentation  and Question & Answer session geared towards helping property owners explore options for DIY or professional landscape renovations on their properties.  

Future Next to Nature programs are being scheduled. Please check the Next To Nature website  for updated scheduling information.

Reality Changers Hike at Del Dios Gorge

The Conservancy has partnered again with Reality Changers, a group dedicated to preparing students for college and life, to provide educational hikes throughout the San Dieguito Watershed. 

So far, students have visited Volcan Mountain and Del Dios Gorge in Escondido. Stay tuned for more hikes and more fun!