Dear ,

What can we say except thank you so much?
To everyone who made our 10th Annual River Valley Fest such an excellent event, one thousand thanks.

We welcomed more than 200 guests who supported us with more than $100,000 in donations. That generosity will translate directly into conservation, education and recreation programs. What a tremendous gesture for habitat preservation, for advancing our understanding of that habitat and for creating meaningful opportunities to make contact with it.

During that October afternoon, the passion of our shared mission permeated every table on the ocean view deck at L'Auberge Del Mar. 

Framed by Torrey pine branches and a brilliant sunset, guitarist Gregory Page massaged our eardrums with his strumming. 

Our keynote speaker, Ronald Swaisgood of San Diego Zoo Global, drove home our theme -- "Our Earth, Our Bond" -- with conservation success stories from the bamboo forests of the giant panda in China to the mesas favored by burrowing owls in San Diego.

Thank you to Viewpoint Brewing Company for the beer and wine and thank you to L'Augerge for the gourmet dinner.

And thank you to the Del Mar Times for publishing this lovely photo gallery.
Yes on safeguarding our countryside
Our Board of Directors on Oct. 16 voted to endorse Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside (SOS), a ballot initiative to give residents an important voice in how and where housing is built. 

SOS requires voter approval for any County of San Diego General Plan amendment that would bring significant housing increases to rural and semi-rural areas. 

The measure has qualified for the March 3, 2020, ballot.
Addressing conservation leaders
One of our biggest challenges is fighting the scourge of invasive plants. 

Our conservation manager, Jonathan Applebaum, discussed that challenge with other conservation leaders this month at the 2019 California Invasive Plant Council Symposium in Riverside.
Grooming "citizen scientists"
San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and San Dieguito River Park staffers brought lessons about native habitats and wildlife -- and how they interact with fire -- to High Tech Elementary North County. 

Later, the school's "citizen scientists" will join us in the field before completing a wildlife camera photo review project. 

It's great to get kids excited about nature and becoming stewards of the San Dieguito watershed.
Hot days, big job
The kickoff of our 2019-20 invasive plant removal and fuel reduction program coincided with some of the hottest October days on record at Lusardi Creek Preserve. 

On orders from the fire service, we used hand tools only during the red flag alert. Notwithstanding, after three days of man-versus-reed, we removed a towering stand of Arundo donax from the County-owned parcel. 

Big thanks go to the Urban Corps of San Diego, California Native Plant Society "super volunteer" Bob Byrnes and the County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation.
Teens make connections at Lake Hodges
A hike at Lake Hodges was right on point for a High Tech High School investigation of nature deficit disorder. The 10th graders took to the trail to confirm that connecting with nature can boost your creativity and health.

They also connected their fieldwork to a Día de los Muertos project exploring how nature's lifecycles are reflected in the Día de los Muertos celebrations of ancient Zapotec and Aztec cultures.

Could the students' comments make a stronger case for getting outdoors?

'It's been a long time since I last went hiking and it was nice just being outside and learning more about nature.' - Angel M.

'I've never really done anything like this before...because we don't usually go it's kind of refreshing to have ourselves go outside of our boundaries.' 
- Denise C.

'The most significant part of this was being able to see a different way of learning.' 
- Ally C.

'The most important part of the trip for me was the discussion I had about invasive species with the guides.' - Corbin B.

'The part I like the best was going over the bridge and seeing all the bushes swaying in the wind beneath looked like a massive calm green ocean.' - Nathaniel L.
Face time with snakes
Nothing beats a herp hike, especially if it's with an expert like Jeff Nordland.⠀

Jeff and Board Member Jim Smith led the hike and brought participants face to face with snakes and lizards.

Watch for another herp hike to be scheduled this spring.
For farming badge, girls visit Sikes Adobe
A visit to Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead helped members of Girl Scout Troop 1934 earn their farming badge. 

To better understand the farmstead and daily life for local pioneer farming families in the late 1800s, the girls churned butter and bundled medicinal plants. 

To schedule group tours, contact Leana Bulay: or 858-674-2275 x18.
Foundation seeks artists, researchers
Attention artists or researchers: If your work involves habitat conservation, check out this opportunity for a short residency and a $2,000 stipend offered by the Volcan Mountain Foundation. 

Dec. 2 is the deadline to apply.

An app for nature lovers
Do you love nature? There's an app for that. 

Join live streams and watch and upload content at Mammalz.

Coast to Crest Challenger

Rudyard Kipling, the English storyteller and poet, says: "He travels the fastest who travels alone."

Carlos Leyva, a Coast to Crest Challenger, says: "I recently moved to Escondido and it was awesome because some of the hikes of this challenge are close to my house."

That's what we like to hear! Congrats, Carlos!

What a splendid first outing for our 2019-20 Exploring our Sense of Place program. Our explorations took us to Volcan Moutain and the headwaters of the San Dieguito River.
Nov. 2: Clevenger Canyon graffiti removal
Please help us remove graffiti marring Clevenger Canyon from 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 2. We'll provide tools, water and snacks. Allied Climbers of San Diego will take care of the tough-to-reach places. Kids can join with a waiver. 

Nov. 2: Docent and Dust Devil training
The San Dieguito River Park is recruiting docents for the Sikes Adobe and "Dust Devils" to assist park rangers in the field. Training for the volunteer positions is set for 1 to 3 p.m. Nov. 2 at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead, 12655 Sunset Drive, Escondido.
Docents are trained to tell the story of the historic Sikes Adobe and its namesake family of pioneer farmers. Docents describe the challenges of daily life in rural San Diego County of the late 1800s. Docents lead tours on Sundays and participate in a number of annual events.
Dust Devils work side by side with park rangers from 8 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays. Hands-on work includes building and maintaining trails and restoring and managing habitat.
Please contact Leana Bulay with questions:  or 760-716-1214.
Nov. 29: REI #OptOutside hike in Ramona
Gobble, gobble! Looking to shed some of that Thanksgiving dinner?
Join us and REI at 9 a.m. Nov. 29 for an easy-to-moderate hike at Ramona Grasslands Preserve. The 3.5-mile hike with 350 feet of elevation gain coincides with Black Friday, a day that REI closes its stores to encourage members and employees to get outdoors as part of the company's #OptOutside movement.
Dec. 1: Holiday fun at Sikes Adobe
Families can create Victorian ornaments and table centerpieces -- like the ones settlers from old town Bernardo used to make -- during a Festive Farmhouse Holiday Celebration 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead.   We'll decorate cookies, sip hot drinks, play holiday music and tour the farmstead.  Donations of $3 per person are requested. Please contact Leana Bulay with questions: .
Dec. 14: All about owls
Here's something to hoot about. The San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and Living Coast Discovery Center are hosting an interactive presentation on owls from 10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at La Colonia Community Center, 715 Valley Ave., Solana Beach. 

Participants can learn about owls' unique beaks, feathers and wings, which are important adaptations for their survival. They can also dress up a friend during this free, family-friendly event. Registration is required and is limited to 50 people. 

Thanks so much to Living Coast for sending an owl ambassador and to the City of Solana Beach for its generous support.  

Please contact Ana Lutz-Johnson with questions: or 858-755-6956.
Sept. 28: 2019 San Diego Environmental Leadership Summit
More than 100 people representing a host of environmental groups discussed the biggest challenges to our local environment during the 2019 San Diego Environmental Leadership Summit. 

We were pleased to add our voice to that important conversation.

Oct. 5: Tortoise and snake please crowd in Solana Beach
Animal ambassadors Tank the Tortoise and Carmel the Cornsnake greeted attendees during a Living Coast Discovery Center demonstration at La Colonia Community Center. 

Thanks so much to the City of Solana Beach for working with us to bring educational programming to La Colonia.
Oct. 8: The California Next Generation Science Standard Rollout Conference
How to bring information on our local environment into the classroom? We tackled that question during a brainstorming session this month with teachers and administrators.

Oct. 12: Trails and ales
With this hearty bunch we launched our 2019-20 Trails and Ales Program during an interpretive hike at the Highland Valley Trail followed by brews and burgers at Plan 9 Alehouse in Escondido. 

Sundays, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17, 11/24
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead Open for Public Tours
Thursday, 11/28
Paul Poulson Turkey Trot
Friday, 11/29
#OptOutside Volcan Mountain Hike
Saturdays, 11/2, 11/16
Nature Touch Table

Sundays, 11/3,11/17
Bike Warehouse Demo

North San Diego Certified Farmers Market

Saturday, 11/2
Clevenger Canyon Graffiti Removal

Sikes Adobe Docent & Dust Devil Volunteer Training
Sunday, 11/3
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count

Saturday 11/9
Lake Hodges East/Bernardo Bay Bird Walk

A Life in San Diego Archaeology
Sunday, 11/10
Volunteer Trail Maintenance

Monthly "Special Sunday" at the North San Diego Certified Farmers Market

Saturday, 11/16
San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk

Gonzales Canyon Cleanup

Birdwing Reserved
Sunday, 11/17
Family Volunteer Day Native Pollinator Garden Planting

Wildcrafting: Oak Acorn Holiday Cookies

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Thank you!