Escondido, CA – Textures, colors, patterns, and microscopic organisms come alive as The Escondido Creek Conservancy was awarded $1,500 for a new microscope by the San Marcos Community Foundation. As a result of the grant, visitors to the Interpretive Center at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve will now have a clearer view on the microscopic world.
The Elfin Forest Interpretive Center provides visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the local habitats, plants, and animals of the reserve. One of the most popular stations within the Center is a stereo microscope attached to a television screen that visitors can use to take a close-up look at some of the creek’s tiniest inhabitants—aquatic macroinvertebrates. The microscope allows visitors to see a part of the local ecosystem that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see. The microscope is also used on field trips, so thousands of students and adults each year will now have an enhanced experience at the Center.
Escondido Creek Conservancy’s Outdoor Classroom Connects Students With Nature
Imagine a world where every student, in every grade, receives a field trip in nature. In Escondido, we are well on the way to making this dream a reality. Outdoor education has astounding benefits for children, including improving health, mental wellbeing, and academic performance. Last school year, The Escondido Creek Conservancy (Conservancy) brought all 3rd grade students in the Escondido Union School District out to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve to learn about habitats. Our partners at San Diego Zoo Global and Nature Collective brought all 4th and 5th grade students and half of 6th grade students in the district out into nature as well. This year, the collaboration has expanded to include Friends of Daley Ranch as a partner and serve all 7th grade students in Escondido.
The Conservancy’s Habitats program involves a series of classroom lessons followed by a field trip to the Elfin Forest. Immersed in nature, students engage in STEM science while learning about local wildlife that live in and around the creek. After the trip, the children write letters to corporations and local government representatives to address the problem of litter in their community and propose solutions.
“Many of the students that come out to Elfin Forest have never been outside the urban center of Escondido,” says the Conservancy’s Education Manager, Jennifer Imm. “These field trips are an opportunity for students to experience the natural world for the first time and learn what they can do to help protect it.” Research has shown that the best way to get students to care about the environment is to let them experience nature—not just once, but multiple times. Through the larger collaboration, students in Escondido will receive at least five different outdoor education experiences and gain the training they need to become stewards of our environment.
You can help instill a passion for nature in Escondido students by volunteering to help with the Conservancy’s field trips, which take place on weekdays from 9:00am to noon. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Education Director, Simon Breen at email@example.com. You can also help our education programs by donating to the Eichen Education Fund. Visit escondidocreek.org/eichenedfund for more information.
Start the new year off with a commitment to give back to mother nature and spend more time outdoors. The Olivenhain Municipal Water District and The Escondido Creek Conservancy (Conservancy) are recruiting volunteers for their next Trail Patrol Training on January 19th. Trail Patrol volunteers sign up for monthly hikes at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (EFRR) and the Conservancy’s neighboring preserves to help maintain trails and protect the natural open spaces we love.
“One of my favorite parts of serving on the Trail Patrol is a bit selfish. I sometimes need the motivation to make time for a good hike, so I look forward to my 3-hours-a-month on the Elfin Forest Trail,” says Cindy Pahl, one of our newest volunteers. “At the same time, I love my role as an ‘ambassador’ for Elfin Forest, which feels less selfish and more giving,” Pahl continued. Volunteers get to explore the beautiful, serene trails while assisting visitors and submitting reports to our rangers and land managers.
“When a trail issue is reported by a trail patrol volunteer, rangers quickly respond with action. This results in greater trail sustainability and a safer recreation experience for our visitors,” says EFRR Park Supervisor, Jeff Anderson. EFRR provides an outdoor recreation area for 150,000 visitors a year. EFRR park rangers and Conservancy land managers heavily rely on trail patrol volunteers to be the eyes and ears for the Reserve and report their observations while on patrol. “Our volunteers help us track where invasive plant infestations need to be addressed, whether preserves are receiving inappropriate human use like fishing, pointing out trails that need repair, and making note of rare or amazing wildlife phenomena!,” says Conservation Land Manager, Hannah Walchak, who helps manage about 2,500 acres of land in the Escondido Creek watershed.
Whether you’re patrolling on foot, mountain bike, or horseback, there is a place on the team for you. Plus, there are many trail options for various mobility levels. And you don’t need to be a wildlife expert to join! We’ll tell you everything you need to know and provide you with your own uniform you can wear as you’re out exploring the trails. Our next training is Saturday, January 19th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm so don’t wait to sign up! You can register online at https://trailpatrol.eventbrite.com
The Escondido Creek Conservancy presents a new exhibit, Coexisting with Coyotes, which will be on display in the Interpretive Center at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve on September 5th through December 31st.
Coyotes are adaptable and found almost everywhere in San Diego County—including wild lands, suburban neighborhoods, and even in our cities. As coyotes continue to lose their traditional habitat and are driven onto human-occupied areas, the conflict between humans and coyotes has increased. Between 1998 and 2015 there were 90 reported coyote attacks on humans in California. In contrast, there were 2,446 documented cases of foodborne illness in California during this same period—so in effect, people are 27 times more at risk from their food than from coyotes. Nevertheless, coyotes do pose a risk to people and their pets, and public concern continues to mount. But coyotes are an important part of our ecosystem, and coexistence with them is possible, which is the aim of this exhibit.
Featuring puzzles, audio, art, taxidermy, and more, this interactive exhibit provides facts about these clever animals and dispels common myths. It also outlines specific things people can do to keep their family and pets safe while still keeping these beneficial creatures wild and free.
The exhibit was conceived by Dr. Adena Boxer-Capitano, a former veterinarian. She’s also an educator and a docent at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. She started the Coyote Coexistence Project and is dedicated to helping communities develop plans to coexist with the wildlife that share our neighborhoods.
The Interpretive Center at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is open seven days a week, 8:00-3:00, depending on volunteer docent availability. An updated weekly schedule of Interpretive Center hours can be found at https://elfinforest.olivenhain.com/.
DECEMBER 3, 2017 | ELFIN FOREST RECREATIONAL RESERVE
Come join the community of Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove for a 5k/ 10k trail run/hike to raise funds to help “keep it rural.” Elfin Forest and Harmony Grove are a hidden gem in San Diego North County, home of diverse wildlife, scenic trails and biological diversity. This event raises money to help fund the cause of keeping this area scenic, rural and pristine.
This will be a chip-timed race for both the 5k and the 10k. The 5k can include hikers and runners while the 10k will be limited to runners. A 2 hour time limit will be imposed on the course.
DATE: Sunday, December 3, 2017
6:45: registration begins (runners pick up packets or register)
7:00: Festival ready for business
7:45: 10K Race Begins
8:00: 5K Race Begins
9:45: Both courses close
10:00: 1K fun run for kids
10:15: raffle winners announced
10:30: award festival for 5K, 10K and 1K fun run.
A timed, relatively accurately measured 5K and 10K trail run. All registered runners/hikers receive a T-Shirt and a raffle ticket for a special racer raffle. For both races: top 3 places, both men and women get killer prizes which will be announced as they become confirmed.
PAST YEARS’ PRIZES included:
— Spy Optic performance sunglasses (~$90 to $150) (1st, 2nd, 3rd: M & F, 5K/10K)
— Rudy Project gift certificates (~$90 to $150) (1st, 2nd, 3rd: M & F, 5K/10K)
— Gift Certificates from Movin’ Shoes ($30, $20 and $10) (1st, 2nd, 3rd: M & F, 5K/10K)
— Milestones Running: $50 gift certificates for 1st place (1st M & F, 5K/10K)
— Patagonia apparel: ~$90 to $140 (1st, 2nd, 3rd: M & F, 5K/10K)
— Moving Shoes (top 3 M & F, 5K/10K)
— Prana gear
— And the satisfaction of racing hard for a great cause.
— This year’s prizes are still TBD and will be announced as they become available.
FUN STUFF FORALL: If you’re not hiking or running, there will still be plenty
to do at the Keepin’ it Rural festival.
• Local Craft Beer garden (courtesy of Alesmith and Stumblefoot Brewery).
• Coffee and snacks for sale courtesy of Cafe Stoked;
• Gourmet Food Trucks;
• Massages courtesy of Ernie Villanueva;
• Expo featuring vendors offering free or discounted goods or services
KIDS:Kids are welcome to sign up for the 5K or they can participate in the 1K fun run, free with adult admission. Other kid-friendly activities will be available.
• 1K kids fun run with prizes for fastest kids kicking off around 10am. (flat-ish course)
• Cool bug presentation by EFRR docent (pending availability)
• All kinds of fun carnival-style games, prizes and giveaways.
• Kid-friendly snacks and drinks for purchase.
ADDRESS: Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, Olivenhain Dam Staging Area at 19090 Via Ambiente, Elfin Forest, CA (Click here for map). IMPORTANT: this area can only be accessed from Elfin Forest / Harmony Grove area. It cannot be reached from Del Dios Highway, Cielo or Rancho Santa Fe (online maps are often incorrect about this).
This not at the main trailhead and parking area for Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. It is on the backside off of Via Ambiente at Harmony Grove Road right after the bend on Elfin Forest Road (if going East) or after the Reserve (if going West). See directions below.
DIRECTIONS FROM 5 FREEWAY:
Take the 5N:
Leucadia Avenue Exit.
Follow it straight. It runs into Rancho Santa Fe Road.
Take a RIGHT on San Elijo Road,
RIGHT on Elfin Forest Road which ends and then curves sharply LEFT and turns into Harmony Grove Road.
Take a RIGHT on Via Ambiente. Follow signs up to the Dam and staging area.
DIRECTIONS FROM THE 15:
Take 9th Avenue W exit,
Follow it until it turns LEFT onto Hale Avenue.
Take a RIGHT on Harmony Grove Road,
Then take a LEFT to stay on Harmony Grove Road.
Follow it to Via Ambiente. LEFT onto Via Ambiente. Follow signs up to the Dam and staging area.
ORGANIZER:The Elfin Forest Harmony Grove Town Council, a 501c(3) non-profit, volunteer-run organization dedicated to the preservation of the community character, open space and natural habitat of the Elfin Forest Harmony Grove area. For more information: http://www.efhgtc.org
PLEASE NOTE:The Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve is being opened for us only on this date. If you wish to pre-view the course, you must park at the main entrance on 8833 Harmony Grove Road and take the Way Up Trail to get there. Please do not try to access from Via Ambiante as it is considered trespassing and it will make it a lot harder for us to get the race approved in the future if people try to access the course this way. Thanks for helping us to keep it rural.