We are thrilled to announce the Conservancy has been selected as a finalist for this year's Eco Ambassadors campaign!

This means we're in the running for a $20,000 grant from SDG&E! The Eco Ambassadors campaign, sponsored by CBS8, SDG&E, and the San Diego River Park Foundation, highlights local nonprofits. This year's finalists were chosen based on their work towards improving the county's watersheds.

We need your help to win that grant! Eco Ambassador voting opens today and runs through September 19th. Please vote for the Conservancy  every day ! You can vote each day through the CBS8 website and Facebook page . Use your laptop/desktop computer and all of your devices--smartphones, tablets, etc. Set a reminder in your phone to vote daily!

Please also share the campaign with your friends! With your help, the $20,000 grant will go towards the Watershed Explorers program to help more youth experience nature and connect with the watershed.

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, September
3, 10, 17, 24
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market - Rain or Shine!
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:

Saturdays, September 2 and 30
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
Volunteer in the Battle Against Invasive Plants
Meet at Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation Conservation Chair Sharyl Massey

Sundays, September 3 and 
October 1
7:30 am - 12:00 pm
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count
Hosted by San Dieguito Bird Count Leader Jayne Lesley

Sunday, September 3
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Nature Touch Table
Hosted by San Diego County Park Rangers

Saturday, September 9
1:00 pm
Optional hike: 2 miles, easy
Hosted by Nancy Conney of Sky Hunters and SDRVC
Limit 50 people

Sunday, September 10
7:30 am - 10:30 am
Introduction to Wildlife and Landscape Photography
3 miles, moderate
Hosted by Krisztina Scheef, KS Nature Photography

Sunday, September 10
10:00 am - 1:30 pm
Hodges Family Adventure: Hike & Kayak
1 mile, easy
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Family Kayak

Saturday, September 16
9:00 am - 12:00 pm
Coastal Cleanup Day
4 locations within the River Park:
Crest Canyon, San Dieguito Lagoon, Gonzales Canyon, Sikes Adobe
Co-hosted by I Love a Clean San Diego, SDRP Ranger, San Diego Canyonlands, Del Dios Habitat Protection League

Saturdays, September 16 and 23
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Experimental Archaeology: Traditional Pottery Making with Kurt McLean
Meet at San Diego Archaeological Center: 
Sign up with Stephanie Sandoval: 
Hosted by San Diego Archaeological Center

Sunday, September 17
10:00 am
Yoga at the Birdwing
Hosted by SDRVC and Yoga Instructor Susan McCrea

Thursday, September 21st
7:30 am - 11:30 am
Citizen Science Bird Survey at Volcan Mountain
Meet at Albertsons: 
1459 Main St., Ramona for carpooling
Hosted by SDRVC

Saturday, September 23
8:30 am - 10:30 am
San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk
Hosted by Buena Vista Audubon Society Bird Walk Leader John Haddock

Saturday, September 23
5:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Volcan Sunset Hike with New Moon Star Party at the Summit
7 miles, strenuous
Co-hosted by San Diego County Parks, VMF, Curiosity Peak Observatory, Julian Dark Sky Network

Sunday, September 24
9:00 am - 12:30 pm
Kanaka Fall Hike
7 miles, moderate
Hosted by San Diego County Parks

Sunday, September 24
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Wildcrafting: Manzanita Berry Cookies and Other "Berry Good Things"
Meet at Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation
Cost: $20/person

Saturday, September 30
First Annual SDAC Student Symposium
Meet at San Diego Archaeological Center:
Hosted by San Diego Archaeological Center

Saturday, September 30
8:00 am
Lake Hodges Bird Walk
Hosted by Palomar Audubon Society Trip Leader Hal Benham

Saturday, September 30
10:00 am - 12:30 pm
Rattlesnake Safety Class
Hosted by SDRVC and Southwestern Field Herping Associates

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
Congrats Coast to Crest Trail Challengers!
Over 20 people completed the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge in August!

Finisher Courtnee was stoked to get her certificate and prize pack!

Congratulations to:
David Hekel (first SDRP ranger to finish the Challenge!)
Karen Kissinger
Ava Simons
Brad Zenz
Doug Clark
Chris Griffith
Laura & Peter York
Maria Spears
Miki, Nancy, Erika, & Karl Batchman
Debbie Thompson
Michele Monroe
Courtnee Sinhlapasai
Rina Bautista
Sylvia Pierce
Carla Thiry
David Dohren
Debbie White
Heather Laky
Ed Jones
Keith Harding
Annett Parris

Learn more about the Coast to Crest Trail Challenge here.

Help SDRVC Be a Top-Rated Nonprofit
The Conservancy was honored to be included in GreatNonprofits 2016 Top-Rated List-will you help us stay there this year? It's easy to share a quick story about our work and why you support us. You'll be helping to raise our visibility to new supporters and donors. Leave your rating here

SDRP Volunteer Patrol Gets its Own App
by David Hekel

The San Dieguito River Park has had a volunteer patrol for over 25 years now. It started out  with mainly hiking patrols, and as the trails grew in length and the popularity of mountain biking  took hold, it progressed into what we have today. The park currently has over 40 volunteer patrollers on our trails.

Over the years, the biggest issue we've had was how to track those patrols efficiently. We used to have volunteers submit paper logs that were handed in at the end of the patrol. It worked, but you had to store all those logs somewhere and the patroller had to physically come into the office to submit it. We progressed to Google documents that could be filled out online and submitted through email. No more paper, but the patroller still had to log into a computer, find the link, and submit the email.

As phone technology got better and phone apps became available, we decided to make an app for our patrols. It's been a few years in the making, but now, the SDRP volunteer patrol has its own app (for both Android and iOS) that volunteers can use to log their patrols!

The patrol app lets volunteers log a patrol and add pictures or comments of hazards and other interesting things they see on the trail. It can also track with trails were on during a patrol. This information is sent to River Park staff, providing real-time data on our trails systems. If a tree is down, for example, the patroller can immediately send the info and River Park staff can address the issue within a day. This keeps our trails safe and provides an enjoyable environment for all trail users.

Now, when people ask, "how do you log volunteer patrols?" we can say, "we have an app for that!"

A huge thanks to Jack Bochsler and Jordan Carlson, who volunteered their time and expertise to develop the patrol apps. The iOS app can be found in the Apple Store by searching "SDRP." The Android app can be obtained by contacting Senior Ranger David Hekel .

Trail Patrol App in the Apple Store

Interested in joining the River Park's volunteer patrol team? Click here to learn more

Local Soil Company Gives River Park Restoration a Helping Hand
by Hilary Mills

The San Dieguito River Park JPA would like to give a huge thank you to Agriservice, Inc. for their generous donation of 120 cubic yards of mulch (which is a lot!), which will be used to supplement various coastal sage scrub restoration sites at the San Dieguito Lagoon.  

Mulch donation delivery from Agriservice

The JPA is required to meet several mitigation requirements related to the construction of the Coast to Crest Trail by establishing coastal sage scrub habitat on previously disturbed sites and areas of highly salty fill dirt that was deposited from the Lagoon restoration projects, including areas around the Birdwing.

Back in April, Agriservice's owner Mary Matava, an expert soil agronomist, volunteered her time and resources to visit the Lagoon and take soil samples at three different sites.  After interpreting the sample results, Mary created a site-specific mulch "recipe" that would provide minerals and nutrients that were lacking in the soils on our restoration sites.

Mulch spread on El Camino Real restoration site

Proper mulching also helps maintain soil moisture around the plants, prevents erosion, and controls weed emergence. We are hopeful that this generous donation and our continued partnership with Agriservice will aid in the long term success of coastal sage scrub restoration at the San Dieguito Lagoon.

Conservancy Sells Land to Raise Cash
by Chris Khoury, Land Acquisition Committee

You might be wondering if the headline is an error. Shouldn't it read: "Conservancy Buys Land from Cash Raised"? In fact, the Conservancy is selling 200 acres of land for $190,000 and also guaranteeing that it is preserved as open space!

In December of 1998, Roland and Loreen Wilhelmy generously donated the property, which is east of the San Felipe Hills (a low mountain range northeast of Julian) and between the River Park's Focused Planning Area and Anza-Borrego State Park. The Conservancy's plan was to accept the donation and eventually sell the property to the State Park or the Anza-Borrego Foundation. Recently, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which owns land to the north, east, and south of the property, acquired funding to purchase the property. The funding was received through grants that ensure it will be protected as open space. The Pacific Crest Trail Association was an important advocate for the transaction.

When the Pacific Crest Trail was created, the trail was diverted from the Pacific Crest on Volcan Mountain east to the next ridgeline of the San Felipe Hills. Critically important for the PCT, the property allows mid-way access for "Trail Angels" to provide the only water for thirsty hikers along the trail.

Although it has taken almost two decades, we are delighted to be meeting our goals of land preservation and increasing our financial resources for other Conservancy projects.

Support the Conservancy at KAABOO!
Big news this month! You may have seen our announcement on Facebook -- but we're thrilled to partner with KAABOO this year! They will donate 20% of the proceeds from tickets purchased through this link to the Conservancy.
KAABOO is a three-day music festival that takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in September. The events and lineup have been curated to appeal to all senses, with world-class music, hilarious comedy, inspiring contemporary art, gourmet cuisine, craft libations, and personal indulgences. Just about everyone will find an act to get excited about in their 2017 lineup.  Get your passes today  and please share our link with your music-loving friends! 

Reservations Now Open! 

Coming Up in September
Skyhunters at the Birdwing
September 9th
Learn what it takes to live in the air! Meet Nancy Conney of Sky Hunters and some raptor ambassadors up-close. 

After the presentation, SDRVC will lead you on an optional, easy, two-mile round-trip hike around the San Dieguito Lagoon.

When: Saturday, September 9th at 1:00 pm
Where: Directions will be provided upon registration
Cost: This event is FREE. SPACE IS LIMITED TO 50 PEOPLE.

Citizen Science Bird Survey 
at Volcan Mountain
September 21st
If you are a birder or an aspiring birder - we want you! The Conservancy and Palomar Audubon are hosting a citizen science bird survey on August 31st at our Rutherford C property near Volcan Mountain in Julian. This walking survey is approximately 0.85 mile (round-trip) and rated moderate-strenuous due to the elevation and slope. For more information, email Conservation Manager Jack Hughes at

When: Thursday, September 21st at 7:30 am
Where: The group will meet in Ramona and carpool to the site. Exact directions will be provided upon registration

Rattlesnake Safety Class
September 30th
Join the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy & Southwestern Field Herping Associates for a FREE, fun, and educational class for beginning and seasoned outdoorsmen and women. 

Snake researcher Steve Bledsoe will give an in-depth presentation on identifying dangerous snakes in San Diego County and what to do if they are encountered in the wild. 

Come learn what to do if you see a snake and how you and your family, friends, and pets can stay safe in the outdoors! 

Space is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP by September 27th, 2017.
For more information, please contact Ana Lutz, SDRVC Education Manager, at

When: Saturday, September 30th at 10:00 am
Where: Del Mar Branch Library

What Happened in August
Sikes Docents Visit Santa Margarita Ranch House
by David Vidal

Recently, the docents and volunteers from Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead visited the Santa Margarita Ranch House, located on the Marine base Camp Pendleton, as part of their yearly volunteer enrichment and training.

The Santa Margarita Ranch House is one of the oldest structures in California; the chapel that used to be a winery dates back to the Spanish period. The ranch house was built during the  Mexican period by Pio Pico, the last Mexican governor of California.

On the trip, Sikes docents went on a two-hour tour of the grounds, led by a passionate and enthusiastic docent. This provided the opportunity to cross-train and learn a different historical perspective. The tour group was taken through different periods of history of the ranch house, from the Spanish and Mexican periods, through the early American period, and up into the current occupancy by the Marine Corps.

Activities like docent enrichment allow our volunteers to be more informed and well-rounded educators and interpreters.