Tag Archives: The Escondido Creek Conservancy

Volunteer to Help Preserve North County Land and Provide Outdoor Education!

Volunteer to Help Preserve North County Land and Provide Outdoor Education!

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve, CA (August 1, 2019)

Who: The Escondido Creek Conservancy (Conservancy) is partnering with Olivenhain Municipal Water District (OMWD) to recruit volunteers to help protect Escondido Creek and the Escondido Creek watershed. The Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust. Since 1991, the Conservancy has helped preserve over 4,000 acres of land for wildlife habitat and provides outdoor education to more than 5,000 children and adults annually. OMWD is a public agency providing water, wastewater services, recycled water, hydroelectricity, and the operation of Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve (EFRR). The two organizations first partnered in 2009 to build the beautiful Elfin Forest Interpretive Center Honoring Susan J. Varty, and have been working together since then on many watershed protection projects and education programs.

What: Join us at our next Volunteer Open House and discover the many ways you can give back and get in touch with local nature. Volunteers can choose to hike and monitor trails, assist with school field trips, staff the interpretive center, perform trail maintenance with park rangers, or work with the Conservancy’s land managers to restore sensitive habitat.

Why: EFRR is almost 800 acres with only three rangers to monitor the land, while the Conservancy manages over 3,000 acres with a small staff of land managers, supplemented by volunteers. Volunteers are crucial in helping protect and restore these fragile open spaces so plants and wildlife can continue to thrive. Our volunteers have also been a vital part of the Conservancy’s education programs which provide outdoor experiences to local elementary and middle-school students.

Our volunteer network is a community of like-minded people who enjoy backyard barbecues, in-service meetings followed by “Conservation Conversations” on a wide variety of topics, and unique tour opportunities throughout the year. Recent tours include an EDCO Recycling Center, a Native American Eco-Village, and the California Wolf Center.

Where: The Volunteer Open House will be held at EFRR’s Interpretive Center, but volunteer opportunities are available throughout various preserves in Escondido. Limited parking will be reserved for those registered, and arriving early is advised.

When: The Volunteer Open House will be held on Saturday, August 10, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Please visit www.natureiscalling.eventbrite.com for more information or to register.

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Giving Back To Nature… and Myself: Elfin Forest Trail Patrol

Next Training on January 19th 9:00am – 12:00pm

Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve

8833 Harmony Grove Rd

Escondido, CA 92029

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

Coexisting with Coyotes: New Exhibit at the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve Interpretive Center

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/.

Cocos Fire: 4 Years Later – The Escondido Creek Conservancy

Almost 2,000 acres burned, 40 structures destroyed, and almost $5.7 million dollars in property damage were caused by the Coco’s Fire. The fire was ignited by a 14-year-old girl in her backyard on May 14th, 2014. Fire season typically starts in October after the summer has dried out the vegetation but California was experiencing one of its worst droughts on record — leaving it particularly vulnerable. The Conservancy decided to turn the tragedy of the fire into an opportunity to document the rebirth of the ecosystem, to monitor the burned areas over time, to see what could be learned by taking photos of the same sites for five years. We are now in year four of that monitoring. Read more via Source: Cocos Fire: 4 Years Later – The Escondido Creek Conservancy

Free Talk: Amphibians and Reptiles of San Diego County, at the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center

Free Talk: Amphibians and Reptiles of San Diego County, Thursday, April 18th from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Elfin Forest Interpretive Center

With its varied topography of coast, mountains, and desert, the San Diego region, considered one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, boasts a rich variety of amphibians and reptiles – from the arboreal salamander to the green sea turtle to the secretive San Diego banded gecko and the red diamond rattlesnake, many of which are endangered species.

Jeff Lemm, an herpetologist from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, will talk on identification, habitats, biology, and the conservation status of all 85 amphibian and reptile species found in the San Diego region as well as snakebite safety and conservation.

Pre-registration required by calling Ann Hough at (760) 471 9354 or sending an email to information@escondidocreek.org. The event is free, donations to The Escondido Creek Conservancy welcome.

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Investors Grant The Escondido Creek Conservancy a One Year Reprieve to Save Skyline east of San Elijo Hills from Development

At the eleventh hour, The Escondido Creek Conservancy (TECC) has secured an agreement with a group of investors who have stepped in to purchase and hold the property known as University Heights from ING bank and provide TECC with a one year option, giving the Conservancy time to secure permanent protection for this land for the benefit and enjoyment of all County residents, now and into the future.

The land, dubbed University Heights on development plans, due to it’s proximity to the California State University of San Marcos, and also known locally as “Sleeping Lady Ridge”, because the silhouette of the land resembles a sleeping woman – consists of 502 acres south of San Marcos and west of Escondido. It takes in the summit, southern slopes and a secluded valley below Mt Whitney, a prominent local high point. This pristine landscape supports the many plants and animals of the chaparral, sage scrub and oak woodland habitats. Located between the trail systems of San Marcos and those of the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and County of San Diego Parks and Recreation lands, Sleeping Lady Ridge represents a tremendous opportunity for connected outdoor recreation for hikers, bikers and equestrians – without the need for long travel distances. At least two development schemes have been proposed for the land, with up to 1000 new homes suggested, the most recent ending in foreclosure – opening the door for TECC to preserve this valuable
resource permanently.

“We are not out of the woods yet,” said Steve Barker, TECC’s Member-at-Large. “This is a great step forward and over the next 12 months, TECC will be working with Federal, State and County agencies to try and secure the funds to preserve the property permanently. I really want to thank everyone who has made a donation to this project. Thanks to their generosity it has been possible to cover the cost of putting the property into escrow. TECC will need to spend a further $100,000.00 in option payments to the investor group during 2013, so we are counting on the continued support of the community to save this beautiful natural space which provides such important refuge for wildlife. While the new owners have given TECC a year to secure the funding for a conservation purchase, if funds cannot be raised, they will sell it on the private market.”

If you would like to make a donation to the University Heights project, become a member of the Conservancy or for more information visit www.escondidocreek.org. Checks can be sent to TECC, P.O.Box 460791, Escondido, CA 92046.

About The Escondido Creek Conservancy
TECC is a local land conservancy which is dedicated to the preservation, enhancement and protection of the natural open space within the Escondido creek watershed. Since 1991 TECC has preserved over 2000 acres of open space through direct purchase or by working in partnership with its members,donors, landowners, government agencies and community groups.