This is the time of year when we enjoy the long, sunny days and opportunities to spend time outdoors, while at the same time realize that they'll soon come to an end. Even when you're no longer in school, September always seems to bring a quicker pace, doesn't it? 

So in August, we'd like to encourage you to take advantage of the chance to ease up a little. Time seems to slow down when we're in nature. A relaxing walk around Lake Hodges or hike along Raptor Ridge gives us a chance to linger, explore, wonder, and reflect. The River Park offers ample opportunities to do just that, whether you join us for a hike at Pamo Valley, yoga at the Birdwing, sign up to learn about rattlesnake safety (some very useful info!) or birding basics, or go for a hike with a friend on the trails.

Of course, we've got plenty of programs and plans in the works. River Valley Fest planning is ramping up and we're expecting another successful event in October. The River Path Del Mar expansion should be completed by the end of the year. And as our conservation, education, and recreation programs continue to expand, we're looking forward to seeing you and many new faces in the River Park!

photos by James Coffee

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, August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market - Rain or Shine!
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:

Sundays, August 2 and 16
10:00 am
Meadow Restoration
Hosted by San Diego County Park Rangers

Saturday, August 8
9:00 am - 10:30 am
Ranger-Led Walk at San Dieguito Lagoon
2 miles, easy
Hosted by SDRP Rangers

Sunday, August 9
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
Hosted by SDRP Ranger Felipe Franco-Ortiz

Sunday, August 9
8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Hidden Hike at Pamo Valley
5 miles, easy
Hosted by SDRVC
Suggested donation: $20/members and $35/nonmembers (includes 1-year Conservancy membership)

Sunday, August 9
10:00 am
Crafts Under the Oaks - 
Bird Feeders
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bobbi

Thursday, August 13
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Kumeyaay on the Coast: Overlooked Aspects of Native Fishing and Maritime
Meet at Barona Cultural Center and Museum:
Hosted by Barona Cultural Center & Museum
Join San Dieguito River Park Rangers attending this lecture by Richard Carrico

Saturday, August 15
8:30 am - 10:30 am
San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk
1 mile, easy
Co-hosted by SDRP Rangers and Buena Vista Audubon Member John Haddock

Saturday, August 15
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Inspired by Nature - Conservation Art on Volcan Mountain
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation
RSVP to Nicole McMillan at or 
(760) 765-2300 by Friday, 8/14

Sunday, August 16
9:00 am
Del Dios Hike
Hosted by The Escondido Creek Conservancy Board Member Leonard Wittwer

Sunday, August 16
10:00 am
Yoga at the San Dieguito Lagoon
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Yoga Instructor Susan McCrea

Friday, August 21 - 
Saturday, August 22
4th Annual Julian Film Festival
Various locations in Julian and Wynola
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation
Cost: from $10 

Sunday, August 23
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sky Island Trail Guided Hike
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
3 miles, easy
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation
RSVP to Nicole McMillan at or 
(760) 765-2300 by Friday, 8/21

Wednesday, August 26
8:00 am
Plein-Air Painting Safari on Volcan Mountain
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation
RSVP to Nicole McMillan at or 
(760) 765-2300

Saturday, August 29
9:00 am
Rattlesnake Safety Class
Co-hosted by SDRVC and North American Field Herping Association
Register by Thursday, 8/27 (required)

Saturday, August 29
10:00 am
Volunteer Trail Service Projects
Hosted by San Diego County Parks

Saturday, August 29
4:30 pm
Dinner in the Meadow
Hosted by Volcan Mountain Foundation
Cost: $125/person
Limited to 50 guests
RSVP to Nicole McMillian at or
(760) 765-2300

Sunday, August 30
9:30 am - 11:30 am
Bike Ride to the Creek
3 miles, easy

Sunday, August 30
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Wildcrafting with Janice Bina-Smith
Meet at VMF Volcan Mountain Nature Center:
Hosted by San Diego County Park Ranger Bobbi


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
Tickets on Sale for 6th Annual River Valley Fest!
Save the date -- the Conservancy's biggest event of the year is happening at Morgan Run Club & Resort on Sunday, October 11th! 

Last year's River Valley Fest was our most successful yet, and with your help, we plan to top that this year!

Don't miss delicious desserts from Claire's on Cedros, live entertainment from guitarist Bill Fleming and keyboardist Kevin McCully, 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


The Conservancy is a Top-Rated Nonprofit!

The Conservancy has earned a spot on Great Nonprofits Top Rated list for 2015! Thanks to all our supporters who left reviews and ratings of the Conservancy!



Haven't left a review yet? You can do so here!

Conservancy Approves Annual 
Report and Work Plan

At its meeting on June 16th, 2015, the Conservancy Board of Directors approved the 2014-2015 Annual Report and 2015-2016 Staff Work Plan. We are proud of our accomplishments made throughout the year and look forward to exciting results in the next year. You can view the online version of the report here.

The Countdown is On...

Mark Friday, August 14th on your calendar. The Conservancy is excited to announce something BIG in partnership with REI...but we can't tell you anything until then!


You have no idea how hard it is to keep quiet about this! In the meantime, make sure you're following the Conservancy on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a major announcement!

Conservancy President Peter Shapiro Named One of 20 "Men Who Impact San Diego" 
Congratulations to Conservancy President Peter Shapiro, who has been nominated as one of 20 "Men Who Impact San Diego" in the August issue of SD Metro!

This is no surprise to us -- thanks to Peter's leadership, guidance, and hands-on participation, the Conservancy has built momentum for its conservation, education, and recreation programs, ensuring future generations will be able to enjoy the San Dieguito River Valley. 

Look for his full profile in the August issue of SD Metro, and please join us in congratulating Peter! 

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 clothing and accessories 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!

Donate and Receive River Park Apparel!
The River Park's online store features shirts, hoodies, jackets, trail accessories, and books. Make your tax-deductible donation and show off your River Park gear! All proceeds support volunteer programs in the River Park.

Canvas field bag

Visit the River Park online store today!

River Path Del Mar Update

The Coastal Commission will review the City of Del Mar's application for a Coastal Development Permit at its meeting on August 12th-14th. Construction will begin in late September -- early October 2015 and be completed by the end of the year. 



The City of Del Mar opened the new "Trailhead Parking" pay lot at the corner of Jimmy Durante Blvd. and San Dieguito Dr. in early July. Get more info on the SDRP Google map -- select "Trailhead Parking Del Mar" from the list on the left.


The total project cost is estimated to be approximately $475,000. This cost includes project design, entitlements and easement acquisition, environmental review and mitigation, and construction. As of May 31st, there is a funding balance of approximately $182,000. If you would like to support this project, we welcome donations at the Conservancy's website at

The Del Mar Foundation Awards the Conservancy $6,000 for the River Path Del Mar

This grant will help fund the construction of the portion of the River Path Del Mar from Jimmy Durante Boulevard east to the Old Grand Avenue Bridge, providing scenic vistas of the lagoon wetlands and interpretive information of the flora and fauna.


According to Ira Sharp, Chair of the Del Mar Foundation's Grant Committee, "One of the most important assessments we make before funding a project is whether it has the strong local support of the entire Del Mar community, and there is no question that River Path Del Mar meets that test. Del Mar residents have demonstrated through their hard work and financial contributions that they want to see this park completed, and we are pleased to help make that vision a reality."


The Conservancy thanks the Foundation for its continued support of the River Park!

Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Grants at Sikes Adobe
by Anne Cooper, Sikes Adobe Museum Manager

There are three projects using funds from the County of San Diego's "Neighborhood Reinvestment Program" underway at Sikes Adobe: 

1) Design and construction of a new entry sign and gate
The design has been completed by architect Michael Martinez, formerly of IS Architecture, the firm responsible for the initial farmhouse restoration and its post-fire reconstruction.

2) Reinstating use of the lower well, plus irrigation lines for the peach orchard and garden
The well's reuse is being principally carried out by McDannald Pump Systems of Escondido. Ernie Klemm and son, of Klemm Ranch, have undertaken the trench digging and preparation for irrigation lines.

3) A bridge that will offer access from the staging area parking to the trail north of the farmhouse
The bridge will be designed and built by the San Dieguito River Park staff rangers.

We are hoping to complete all three projects by the end of October 2015.

Ospreys and Other Chicks on the Lagoon Trail
by Ginni Kitchen, SDRP Volunteer

The Lagoon Trail osprey family is doing well. I have seen the parents and both chicks regularly throughout July, although I still haven't seen a chick catch her own fish. But there are more chicks than just ospreys on my home trail!

Left: osprey parents, male in front, at the the Grand Avenue Bridge 
(photo courtesy of John Scales)
Right: osprey chicks (photo courtesy of Ginni Kitchen)

Look all along the Lagoon Trail for killdeer and their chicks. Killdeer don't build nests; they just make a scrape in the dirt or gravel and the female lays up to four speckled eggs, about 1.5" long. The parents don't sit on eggs until all of them are laid, so the eggs hatch at the same time. Killdeer chicks are precocial, which means they hatch with open eyes, covered with down, and able to leave the nest and follow the parents to food as soon as the down dries. They will be able to fly three to four weeks after hatching. 

Top left: adult killdeer; Top right: eggs; Bottom: newly hatched chicks
(photos courtesy of Ginni Kitchen)

Look up the east side of the I-5 underpass to see cliff swallows and their chicks. Cliff swallows build very complex nests. Both sexes gather mud on their bills and mold it into place to create a gourd-shaped nest, which they line with dried grass. Cliff swallow chicks are altricial, which means they hatch with closed eyes, little to no down, and completely dependent on the parents for three to four weeks until they can fly.

Clockwise from top left: cliff swallows gathering mud for nests; building a nest and incubating eggs; feeding chicks; chicks after leaving nest 
(photos courtesy of Ginni Kitchen)

See you on the trail!

Coming Up in August & Beyond
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
August 9th
Work with SDRP Ranger Felipe to clear brush and improve trail conditions along the Lagoon! Tools, gloves, and training will be provided. Please bring drinking water and sun protection, and wear sturdy, closed-toed shoes. 

When: Sunday, August 9th, 8:00 am - 11:00 am
Where: San Andres Dr. Intepretive Kiosk (map)
RSVP to Leana: or (858) 674-2275 ext14

Hidden Hike at Pamo Valley
August 9th
Join us for an easy 5-mile hike along Santa Ysabel Creek in Pamo Valley and Boden Canyon on the Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail and learn about the future Pamo Valley segment of the Coast to Crest Trail that will lead to the Upper Santa Ysabel Truck Trail.

There is a suggested donation of $20 for Conservancy members and $35 for non-members (this donation will include a 1-year Conservancy membership).

When: Sunday, August 9th, 8:30 am
Where: Lower Santa Ysabel Truck Trail to Boden Canyon (directions / trail map)

Yoga at the Birdwing 
Open Air Classroom 
at the San Dieguito Lagoon
August 16th
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, August 16th 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.
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 "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 for the complete schedule, tickets, and more information.

When: Friday, August 21st - Saturday, August 22nd
Where: Various locations in Julian and Wynola


Rattlesnake Safety Class
August 29th

Join the San Dieguito River Valley Conservancy and North American Field Herping Association (NAFHA) for a FREE, fun, and family-friendly class. NAFHA experts will teach you about our local species and the areas they prefer in the San Dieguito River Park. Come learn what to do if you see a snake and how you and your pets can stay safe in the outdoors!



Space is limited and registration is required. Please RSVP by August 27th, 2015.


For more info, contact Conservation Manager Jess Norton at


When: Saturday, August 29th, 9:00 am
Where: Birdwing Open Air Classroom (map)


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 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)


What Happened in July
Volcan Mountain Exec Trek 
Most Popular to Date 
On Saturday, July 25th, twenty hikers joined Trish Boaz, Executive Director of the Conservancy, and Colleen Bradley, Executive Director of the Volcan Mountain Foundation, for a fun and strenuous hike up Volcan Mountain.

Trekkers were rewarded with beautiful views of the San Dieguito River watershed, Cuyamaca Forest, and Anza-Borrego Desert. After the hike, many joined members of the Anza-Borrego and Volcan Mountain Foundations for a taste of "Borrego Dark Sky Ale," brewed specially to support the Anza-Borrego Foundation by Nickel Beer Co.

We're ready for another round of Exec Treks! Mark October 24th, 8:30 am on your calendar for the next Exec Trek with Trish at the Santa Ysabel Preserve East.