The May Gray and June Gloom are starting to burn off and the Fair is in full swing in Del Mar -- summer is definitely here! We hope you're able to take advantage of the longer days and warmer evenings to escape into nature and watch the osprey chicks learn to fly at the Lagoon or challenge yourself with a hike in the to-be-expanded Santa Ysabel Preserve.

Lazy summer days? What are those? As you'll see in this Riverscape, both the Conservancy and River Park staff are going non-stop! We're gratefully receiving grants, getting involved in various community outreach events, reviewing Citizen Science results, and more. Luckily, we can always count on catching a breath at least once a month during Yoga at the Birdwing!

Finally -- we need your help! You have an opportunity to help us make even more of a difference in our community. GreatNonprofits -- a review site like TripAdvisor -- is honoring highly reviewed nonprofits with their 2015 Top-Rated Awards. Won't you help raise visibility for the Conservancy's work by posting a review of your experience with us? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It's easy and only takes 3 minutes!

Please leave a review at GreatNonprofits here!

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, July 5, 12, 19, 26
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market - Rain or Shine!
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:

Saturday, July 4
7:00 pm
Fireworks from the Volcan Summit Hike
5 miles, strenuous
Hosted by San Diego County Park Attendant Bill Augustus

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday, July 6, 8, & 10
Summer Programs for Kids Session 1 - Native Plants of Volcan Mountain
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation Education Coordinator Kathleen Beck
Cost: $20/3-day session
RSVP to Nicole McMillan: admin@volcanmt.org or 
(760) 765-2300

Saturday, July 11
9:30 am - 11:00 am
Water Quality of the San Dieguito Watershed
Hosted by SDRP Ranger Bryan Ward

Sunday, July 12
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
Hosted by SDRP Park Ranger Felipe Franco-Ortiz

Sunday, July 12
10:00 am
Crafts Under the Oaks - Bird Feeders
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bobbi

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday
July 13, 15, & 17
Summer Programs for Kids Session 2 - Animals & Their Habitats
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation Education Coordinator Kathleen Beck
Cost: $20/3-day session
RSVP to Nicole McMillan: admin@volcanmt.org or 
(760) 765-2300

Saturday, July 18
8:30 am - 10:30 am
Crest Canyon Bird Walk
1 mile, easy
Hosted by Buena Vista Audubon Member John Haddock

Sunday, July 19
10:00 am
Yoga at the San Dieguito Lagoon
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Yoga Instructor Susan McCrea

Monday, Wednesday, & Friday
July 20, 22, 24
Summer Programs for Kids Session 3 - Forest & Watershed
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation Education Coordinator Kathleen Beck
Cost: $20/3-day session
RSVP to Nicole McMillan: admin@volcanmt.org or 
(760) 765-2300

Saturday, July 25
8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Exec Trek at Volcan Mountain
5 miles, strenuous
Hosted by SDRVC Executive Director Trish Boaz

Saturday, July 25
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sky Island Trail Hike & Hops
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Co-hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation, Anza-Borrego Foundation, and Nickel Beer Company
Cost: $15/person ($10/person for ABF members)

Saturday, July 25
10:00 am
Volunteer Trail Service Projects
Hosted by San Diego County Parks

Sunday, July 26
8:30 am
Bike Ride to the Creek
3 miles, easy
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bobbi

Friday, July 31
6:45 pm
Sunset/Blue Moon Hike
5 miles, strenuous
Hosted by San Diego County Park Attendant Bill Augustus


For hikes, all mileages are approximate.


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


Join our 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
Sport Your Conservancy Gear on the Trails (and Everywhere Else)!
We're pleased to announce the opening of our online store for Conservancy clothing, accessories, and gear! 

We have items for every member of the family (including four-legged ones!), gift items, and essentials for River Park explorers. Your purchases help support our conservation, education, and recreation programs.

Visit the SDRVC store today and support the Conservancy!

Citizen Science Receives Grant from Palomar Audubon Society

We would like to thank Palomar Audubon for their generous donation to the San Dieguito Citizen Science Monitoring Program. Audubon's Conservation Chair, Richard Fowler, presented the check for $2,000 to the Conservancy on June 24th. 



Palomar Audubon has generously supported the Citizen Science program through their donations, expertise and guidance in development of survey protocols, and commitment to conduct quarterly bird surveys in the River Park. To date, Palomar Audubon has conducted four bird surveys and detected over 50 bird species at the River Park Headquarters, with more surveys planned in the River Park as we move forward with the monitoring program.

Students Create Art to Benefit Conservancy

In February, we featured a story about our new citizen partnership with Ms. Shelly Glenn Lee's 5th grade class from High Tech Elementary in San Marcos. As you may recall, these students joined us for a hands-on field day, conducted plant transects, and reviewed wildlife camera photos to collect species occurrence data in the River Park. Each student also conducted research and created a piece of art based on a locally sensitive animal of their choosing. 




But the story doesn't end there -- these students came up with a plan to use their artwork to help raise funds for the Conservancy and the Citizen Science Program. They created t-shirts and bags with their Andy Warhol-inspired masterpieces and sold them at the school. They donated the proceeds, totaling $145, to the Conservancy on June 19th. A heartfelt thank you goes out to these amazing students and Ms. Lee. We look forward to continuing this partnership in the years to come!   


Citizen Science Results Are In!

The first year of our San Dieguito Citizen Science Monitoring Program was a success with over 80 citizen scientists participating! 


With the help of our many partners, we completed an Argentine ant survey, a wildlife tracking outreach program, herp surveys, bird surveys, and a botanical survey at the River Park Headquarters. These surveys detected a total of 172 plants and 76 animals including 8 invertebrates, 9 mammals, 48 birds, 10 reptiles, and 1 amphibian. 


Argentine ant surveys


Visit our Results page to see complete lists of observed species and photos from our permanent wildlife cameras in the River Park. This fall we'll be starting the next round of surveys at Bernardo Mountain. 


Camera traps provide real-time data on wildlife in the park


Go to our Volunteer page to see how you can get involved and keep an eye out for future events posted on our website, Facebook page, and Meetup group -- San Dieguito River Valley Explorers!


Herp hike with NAFHA


Santa Ysabel Preserve Expansion

We're thrilled by the San Diego County supervisors' decision to purchase 175 acres of land that will link the east and west portions of the Santa Ysabel preserve! 



Read all the details here!

An Osprey Family at the Lagoon - Part 4

by Ginni Kitchen, SDRP volunteer


The Lagoon Trail osprey chicks are still doing well! Both are flying now, but we haven't seen either chick catch a fish yet. Ospreys learn to fly by "helicoptering." First, they just flap their wings. As the wings get stronger, the chicks seem to realize something else should be going on, so they bend their legs and hop. Eventually, their wings hold them up in the air for a second, then two, then longer. When they can helicopter straight up and down over the nest for 10 minutes or more, they are ready for real flight. 

Helicoptering: older chick, June 9, 2015 (left), and younger chick, June 13, 2015 (right), with Mom on the pole (photos courtesy of Ginni Kitchen)


The chicks' first few flights are very dangerous. The older chick missed her landing onto the crosspiece, straddling it instead, and was lucky she didn't break a leg. The younger chick ended up on the ground her first time off the nest. She picked herself up and took off again, but she was lucky the fair was closed and the parking lot empty! 


Younger chick's first flight (photos courtesy of John Scales)


With a couple days of practice, the chicks were flying like pros. Now they just have to learn how to fish for themselves. Both parents are providing meals now, but they wait until the chicks have hunted first, or at least flown over the river and swooped down to the water several times. 

Chick in flight (photo courtesy of Ginni Kitchen)


The ospreys should remain in the area for another month or so. When you visit the Lagoon Trail, look for them oneither nesting platform or on the temporary light poles. Mom takes her dinner to the top of the extremely tall light pole in the fairground, and Dad hangs out on the telephone wire there. And, of course, look for the ospreys in the air. With binoculars, it's easy to tell the adults from the chicks. The adults have yellow eyes and solid brown wing feathers. The chicks have orange eyes and white edging on each wing feather. And the chicks are the ones squawking their heads off to be fed!

Mom (center) and chicks (photo courtesy of Ginni Kitchen)
Introducing Hunter Erkenbeck!
The Conservancy has a new intern! Hunter Erkenbeck will be helping us in the office and with some of our upcoming programs and events.

Born and raised in San Diego, Hunter graduated from Canyon Crest Academy and attended Mira Costa College. He has always been interested in wildlife, marine biology, nature, and organic gardening. He spends most of his free time outdoors -- surfing, fishing, soccer, and mountain biking.

He's looking forward to helping the Conservany and River Park, and we're excited to work with him! Welcome, Hunter!
Coming Up in July & Beyond
Wildlife Survey Volunteer Training
July 11th
Learn tracking skills and assist in wildlife surveys! The San Diego Tracking Team (SDTT) is offering a FREE Wildlife Survey Volunteer Training on Saturday, July 11th. The class prepares you to participate on surveys that monitor the wildlife in major open space preserves and other critical areas.

via SDTT

You will learn about basic track and scat identification, animal gaits, habitat fragmentation, survey transects, data collection protocols, and conservation. At the end of the class, you can sign up to join experienced trackers on some of SDTT's wildlife surveys throughout the San Diego area; please remember to bring your calendar to class. 

Dress prepared to spend time outdoors and bring a sack lunch. Please pre-register by emailing info@sdtt.org or calling (760) 715-4102. For more information, visit the SD Tracking Team's website. 

When: Saturday, July 11th from 8:00 am -- 3:00 pm
Where: Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve Adobe Ranch House (map)

Yoga at the Birdwing 
Open Air Classroom 
at the San Dieguito Lagoon
July 19th
Join yoga instructor Susan McCrea for a relaxing, coastal yoga session at the Birdwing -- every third Sunday of the month! Bring your mat, all levels welcome.

When: Sunday, July 19th at 10:00 am
Where: Birdwing Open Air Classroom (map)
DirectionsFrom I-5, take Via de la Valle exit and go east. Turn right on San Andres Drive and turn left into driveway to parking area. There is a short, easy hike to the Birdwing from the parking area.
Exec Trek - Volcan Mountain
July 25th
Join Executive Director Trish Boaz for a hike to the summit of Volcan Mountain in Julian, the headwaters of the San Dieguito River. This hike is rated "strenuous."

If you have any questions, email Trish at trish@sdrvc.org.

More information about the trail can be found here.

When: Saturday, July 25th at 8:30am - 12:00 pm
Where: Coast to Crest Trail at Volcan Mountain (directions)


4th Annual Julian Film Festival
August 21st - 22nd


The 2015 Julian Film Festival, benefitting and sponsored by the Volcan Mountain Foundation will be held on Friday evening, August 21st, and all day Saturday, August 22nd.

The nature-focused, environmental film festival will support VMF's theme of A Watershed Year.  It will focus on water, conservation, connectivity, adventure and the beauty of nature. Two exceptional, award-winning, feature-length films also provide a local connection.


An Emmy-nominated documentary, Breaking Point by award-winning documentary producer Bill Wisneski, spotlights a critical water issue and a potential crisis in Southern California with the Salton Sea and the Colorado River Basin.  California's largest lake is disappearing and time is running out to make changes before an ecological breaking point is reached. Bill will be with us to lead a discussion and answer questions.


Another highlight of the festival will be the film OR7-The Journey, by filmmaker Clemens Schenk, that depicts the importance of wildlife corridors in Northern California/Oregon and the plight of grey wolves, and clarifies myths and misconceptions that surround these magnificent animals. The film documents the journey of OR-7, the first wild grey wolf in California since 1926. 

Visit www.JulianFilmFestival.com for the complete schedule, tickets, and more information.

When: Friday, August 21st - Saturday, August 22nd
Where: Julian, various locations


Fall Birding Class 
with Palomar Audubon Society
September 8th

Have you wondered what that little black and yellow bird is that frequents your back yard, or what bird is chattering in the park tree? Palomar Audubon Society is offering a beginning-intermediate birding course, consisting of four consecutive Tuesday classes starting September 8th at 6:30 pm at the Rancho Bernardo-Glassman Recreational Center. In addition, there will be two Saturday morning field trips, the first after the first two classes and the second at the end of the course. 


Western Scrub Jay, by Sonja Beeve of Palomar Audubon Society

The course will cover the  classification of birds, field markings of local birds, bird behavior, vocalizations, tracking, and the different habitats in San Diego County.


The cost for entire course is $60. Upon completion of course, there will be the opportunity to participate in San Dieguito River Park Conservancy Citizen Science bird counts.


The course will be led by Phoenix Von Hendy, a long time birding leader in north San Diego County and a Certified Tracker Naturalist.


Cactus Wren, by Sonja Beeve of Palomar Audubon Society

For questions about the course, contact Audubon Conservation Chair Richard Fowler at rcfowl@cox.net. To register, complete the registration form found at the Palomar Audubon Society's site and send it with a check to:


Palomar Audubon

P.O. Box 2483

Escondido, CA  92033-2483


All registration forms and payment must be received by September 1st.


When: Tuesdays, September 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th at 6:30 pm and Saturdays, September 19th and October 3rd
Where: Rancho Bernardo-Glassman Recreational Center (map)


6th Annual River Valley Fest
October 11th
Save the date -- the Conservancy's biggest event of the year is happening at Morgan Run Club & Resort on Sunday, October 11th! Don't miss delicious desserts from Claire's on Cedros, live entertainment from guitarist Bill Fleming, and silent and live auctions led by auctioneer extraordinaire Steve Hamann!

More info on tickets and sponsorship options is available on our website.

When: Sunday, October 11th from 2:00 pm - Sunset
Where: Morgan Run Club & Resort
What Happened in June
The San Diego Foundation Environment Initiatives Networking Celebration 
On June 3rd, Conservation Manager Jess Norton and San Dieguito River Park Interpretive Ranger Leana Bulay attended The San Diego Foundation's Environment Initiatives Networking Celebration. They met with other members of local environmental groups, and Leana spoke about our work in the River Park and Watershed.

SDRP Community Outreach

The San Dieguito River Park continued its participation in community events by staffing booths at the annual Enviro Fair at the San Diego County Fair in June and the Scripps Ranch Community Fair in May. 


Interpretive Ranger Leana Bulay, Senior Park Ranger Natalie Borchardt, Park Ranger Bryan Ward, Volunteer Carol Carr at the Enviro Fair


These community outreach events are great for rangers and volunteers to spread awareness of the park and meet hundreds of people. Our prize wheel, animal skulls, and coyote pelt enticed fairgoers to stop and take a map or brochure or ask questions about the park, our trails, volunteer opportunities, and the plants and wildlife that inhabit the River Valley.


At the Enviro Fair, Rangers Leana and Natalie gave a presentation about the River Park on the Flower and Garden Show Stage.


Park Ranger Felipe Franco-Ortiz and Volunteer David Asterino at the SRCA Fair


In the last two months, Park Rangers have also had opportunities to participate in the Community Service Conservation Fair at Granger Junior High School and give presentations at the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club and Bernardo Heights Middle School.


National Charity League Volunteering
On June 19th, the Conservancy hosted the first National Charity League (NCL) volunteer event, with the help of our new intern Hunter. Four young ladies (Heather & Kenna Dugdale and Sydney & Milan Canty) came out and helped us weed the planting site at the lagoon pond. In just under two hours they filled 10 large trash bags full of weeds! 

This was the first in a series of volunteer events that we have planned with NCL over the next year.