Happy New Year! We hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

Now, we're ready to look forward to the coming year. The Conservancy is celebrating 30 years of working to preserve and protect the River Park -- and we hope you join in our celebrations! Look for special events happening all year, starting with Wax & Wine at the Knorr Candle Factory in Del Mar in March. 

Beyond that, we're looking forward to expanding our Citizen Science program and Watershed Explorers program. We're planning the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the River Path Del Mar expansion. We're working with partners to plan more volunteer events and get more community groups involved in the River Park. And we're making progress on the remaining segments of the Coast to Crest Trail!

Here's to a happy, healthy, nature-filled 2016!

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, January 
3, 10, 17, 24, 31
10:30 am - 3:30 pm
North San Diego Certified Farmers Market - Rain or Shine!
Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead:

Saturdays, January
2, 9, 16, 23, 30
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Hawk Watch
Hosted by Wildlife Research Institute

Thursdays, January 7, 21, 28 
and Saturdays, January 23, 30
San Diego Zoo Global Lake Hodges Restoration Project Planting Dates
Hosted by Research Coordinator Emily Howe, San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research

Saturday, January 9
9:00 am - 10:30 am
Ranger-Led Walk at the San Dieguito Lagoon
1.7 miles, easy
Hosted by SDRP Rangers

Sunday, January 10
7:30 am - 12:00 pm
San Dieguito Monthly Bird Count
Hosted by San Dieguito Bird Count Leader Jayne Lesley

Sunday, January 10
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Del Dios Habitat Protection League Volunteer Event
Hosted by Del Dios Habitat Protection League

Sunday, January 10
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Trail Maintenance
Hosted by SDRP Ranger David Hekel

Saturday, January 16
8:00 am - 11:00 am
Volunteer Habitat Restoration
Hosted by SDRP Ranger Jake Gibbs

Saturday, January 16
8:30 am - 10:30 am
San Dieguito Lagoon Bird Walk
1 mile, easy
Co-hosted by SDRP Rangers and Buena Vista Audubon Society Member John Haddock

Sunday, January 17
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Yoga at the San DIeguito Lagoon
Co-hosted by SDVRC and Yoga Instructor Susan McCrea

Saturday, January 23
8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Exec Trek at San Pasqual Valley & Raptor Ridge
5 miles, easy/moderate
Hosted by SDRVC Executive Director Trish Boaz

Saturday, January 23
9:00 am
Citizen Science Botanical Survey
Co-hosted by SDRVC and Botanist/Photographer Keir Morse

Sunday, January 31
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Winter Raptors of the Ramona Grasslands
Co-hosted by San Diego Audubon Society Members Jeff Lincer and Peter Thomas

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 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
Wax & Wine at the Knorr Candle Factory
We cannot believe that the Conservancy will be 30 years old in 2016.  Time goes by fast when you are working hard to secure the natural legacy of the San Dieguito River Park!

As part of our 30th anniversary celebration, we are hosting a Wax & Wine event at the Knorr Candle Factory on March 20th. Knorr is the #1 beeswax candle manufacturer in the world located right in our backyard off Via de la Valle in Del Mar! 

Savor wine made in the San Dieguito River watershed as you stroll through Knorr's lush gardens and patios, or join David, one of Knorr's artisan candle makers, as he shows you how to make our own beeswax candles. The Knorr Candle Shop will be open and offering a 10% discount to Conservancy guests.

Learn more about Knorr products here.

Priority registration will be given to Conservancy members -- click here to become a member.

Make your reservation here.
Solana Beach Community Grant
The Conservancy is pleased to announce that we were awarded a $5,000 community grant from the City of Solana Beach! These funds will go towards our Watershed Explorers Program and help us expand opportunities for more students to participate in this unique education program.

Pets in the Park Photo Contest!
Does your pup (or any kind of pet) love the River Park as much as you do? Show us! Post your best photos of you and your pet in the River Park on the Conservancy's Facebook page or share them on Instagram using the hashtag #SDRVCFurryFriends

We'll share our favorites and announce the winners in an upcoming Riverscape!

Gearing Up for Citizen Science Surveys on Bernardo Mountain
As the first year of our Citizen Science Monitoring Program at the River Park office comes to an end, the Conservancy and our partners have been busy planning our 2016 Citizen Science surveys, which will take place at Bernardo Mountain starting this January. With help from the Southwestern Field Herping Associates, San Diego Tracking Team, and Palomar Audubon, we spent the month of December hiking and scouting locations for our bird, mammal, and herp surveys.

We also created a new iNaturalist Project -- San Dieguito Citizen Science Biodiversity Project -- so you can be a citizen scientist anytime you are in the River Park. It's as easy as creating an account at iNaturalist.org and uploading your plant and wildlife photos. We hope you join in the fun!

New Park Ambassadors
The River Park has acquired three new animal ambassadors for the Park's educational programs. Two Rosy Boas, Sage and Sandy, were donated from members of the North American Field Herping Association, and a Desert Tortoise, Agave, was rescued from the San Diego Turtle and Tortoise Society. 

Sage the Rosy Boa participated in a recent field trip at Sikes Adobe, where 100 students from Conway Elementary School were introduced to her. The students loved the experience, which helped to dispel some misconceptions they had about snakes. The ambassadors also teach the students about the importance of these animals in the environment and why it's critical not to collect wild animals or release captive animals into the wild. 


Trail Highlight: Coast to Crest Trail at
North Shore Lake Hodges
by Ginni Kitchen, SDRP volunteer
Happy New Year! Have you been thinking about getting outdoors more often to enjoy our glorious San Diego weather? The San Dieguito River Park has trails for you! For example, Lake Hodges is closed to boating until February, but the North Shore Trail is still open to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians. Leashed dogs are also welcome.

Sunrise at Lake Hodges and a curious coyote on the trail at 10 am. 
(photos by Ginni Kitchen)
You never know what you'll see on the trail, but the number and variety of birds increases dramatically in the winter, when the migratory birds show up. I've been volunteering with the River Park for almost five years and saw my first peregrine falcon last month.

Clockwise from top left: peregrine falcon, black-crowned night heron, acorn woodpecker, bufflehead, and snowy egret (photos by Ginni Kitchen)

Watch for the unique courtship display of the Clark's and Western grebes. It starts with two grebes swimming side-by-side, then they do alternating head bobs, and finally they rear up in unison and rush across the water with their bodies completely out of the water. It is an amazing thing to see.

Western grebes "rushing" at Lake Hodges (photo by Bob Turner)
And if you are really, really lucky, you'll spot the bald eagle! 

Bald eagle at Lake Hodges (photo by Brian Caldwell)

See you on the trail!

Moving Boardwalk Plaques
In preparation for the removal of about half of the San Dieguito Lagoon Boardwalk, anticipated for next spring as part of the Del Mar Fairgrounds South Overflow Lot wetland restoration project, Rangers Bryan and Felipe relocated the 526 donor plaques. They were moved from the end of the Boardwalk being removed to the end that will remain. 

If you would like to add your name to the San Dieguito Lagoon Boardwalk, go to Donate a Plank on our website for more information. Each plaque is a $100 tax-deductible donation that goes toward extending the Coast to Crest Trail, installing interpretive displays, and restoring wetland habitat. Thank you to everyone who has contributed!

River Park 3D Photos 
Did you know that Conservancy volunteer extraordinaire Miles McLeod has been taking incredible 3D photos of the River Park? (He recently won an award for one of his NASA imagery photos!) 

Check out all of his River Park photos here!

Coming Up in January
Ranger-Led Walk at 
the San Dieguito Lagoon
Jan. 9th
This easy, 1.7-mile walk will be led by a Park Ranger along the San Dieguito Lagoon. Topics will include the lagoon restoration project, plant/wildlife identification, and updates on current Ranger projects. Come discover the beauty of the Lagoon with us!

When: Saturday, January 9th at 9:00 am 
Where: Dust Devil Nature Trail Staging Area (map)

Yoga at the Birdwing
Jan. 17th
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: Saturday, January 17th 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.

Citizen Science Botanical Survey
Jan. 23rd
Please join the Conservancy for our first Citizen Science survey of 2016! On Saturday, January 23rd, Keir Morse, professional field botanist & photographer, will guide us as we explore Bernardo Mountain in search of rare plants. We'll spend the morning compiling an inventory of trees and shrubs on site and mapping any rare species that we find. Don't feel intimidated if you're not a plant expert -- that's what Keir is for! 

This is a great opportunity to learn more about the native plants within the River Park. We'll meet at the Bernardo Bay staging area and take an easy hike to Bernardo Mountain (approximately 1.25 miles) over the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle/Pedestrian Bridge, the longest stress ribbon bridge in the world! 

When: Saturday, January 23rd at 9:00 am 
Where: Bernardo Bay Natural Area (map)
Space is limited and registration is required. Please register here. Directions to the specific meeting location will be provided upon registration.

For more information, please contact Conservation Manager Jess Norton at jess@sdrvc.org.

You can check out Keir's amazing photography at www.keiriosity.com or on his Facebook page.

Exec Trek in San Pasqual Valley
Jan. 23rd
Join SDRVC Executive Director Trish Boaz for an easy/moderate, 5-mile hike (round trip) on the Coast to Crest Trail in San Pasqual Valley, including the beautiful Raptor Ridge.

When: Saturday, January 23rd at 8:30 am
Where: Old Coach Staging Area "North" (map)

What Happened in December
Festive Farmhouse
The 6th Annual Festive Farmhouse was held on December 6th at Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead. Visitors were greeted with homemade cookies and hot cocoa, and the Christmas tree was set up with an array of materials to make ornaments and decorations. Sikes docents engaged everyone by telling visitors that the entry fee was to place at least one ornament or decoration on the tree. All got into the spirit and had a great time. 

YMCA Family Restoration Day at the Lagoon
The River Park recently partnered with the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA Adventure Clubs program, which is one of the largest Family programs that the YMCA offers. Adventure Clubs nurtures relationships between parents and children through camping and other outdoor activities, creating memories that will last a lifetime! 

On December 13th, 125 participants in the Tahoe Nation attended a habitat restoration project along the Coast to Crest Trail at San Dieguito Lagoon. The Tahoe Nation is an Adventure Princess nation and is for dads and daughters (ages 5-11). The Tahoe Nation has 190 dads; with their children, they have roughly 425 participants. 

Along with rangers and four dedicated park volunteers, they installed 183 native plants. The event was a wonderful experience for all and the River Park looks forward to future partnerships. 

Conservancy Featured on
U-T Community Spotlight
Conservancy Executive Director Trish Boaz and Conservation Manager Jess Norton were interviewed by Drew Schlosberg on the U-T Community Spotlight radio show last month. They talked all about the latest news from the Conservancy and River Park and shared some of our plans for 2016! Give it a listen here.

High Tech Elementary Plants & Pollinators Project
On December 17th, three 3rd grade classes from High Tech Elementary in San Marcos joined River Park and Conservancy staff for a fun-filled day of fieldwork.

Students were introduced to native and invasive plants in the River Park, observed some of our local pollinators, and collected seeds for future restoration projects. They also learned how to use GPS units and mapped the locations where they collected seeds. They plan on starting their very own native plant garden back at school and we can't wait to see how it turns out!