Welcometo another edition of Habitat Happenings, a newsletter provided by San Diego Habitat Conservancy (SDHC). Our staff have been busy these past few months! On top of our regular dutieswe have been working hard to bring some exciting changes to our 6th Annual Gala! (Read more about this year's event later in the newsletter and purchase your tickets today!)
In June, Board and staff members took a break from World Cup soccer in order to attend a special meeting to update SDHC's Strategic Plan, including reworking our mission and vision statements. We look forward to sharing our goals and vision with you in the coming months.
In July, Executive Director, Don Scoles, and Board member, Christina Schaefer, attended the California Council of Land Trust's Mitigation Summit in Los Angeles. The only mitigation-focused gathering of its kind in California, the Mitigation Summit provides a unique opportunity for those involved in the mitigation process such as developers, land trusts, and public agencies to come together and discuss new policies and trends in the world of mitigation.
In August, in partnership with JMag Photography, SDHC opened our doors for Friday Night Liberty at Liberty Station. This was a great opportunity for us to spread the word about SDHC while showcasing the work of a very talented photographer, Jennifer Magallon of JMag Photography. Fascinated by the landscapes of the Southwestern United States, Jennifer's work is motivated by her "overwhelming need to share" what she sees while out exploring this unique region of the world and to inspire others "to help us preserve this amazing planet."
September was a busy month! SDHC joined forces again with JMag Photography at her premier photography show, In My Footsteps.... A Photographic Journey Through the Natural World , at 3rdspace in University Heights. The event was a great success and SDHC truly appreciates the opportunity to team up with JMag Photography and highlight the conservation of open space throughout the San Diego region. If you missed the chance to attend the event, you can still check out and purchase Jennifer's work on her website or schedule a private showing.
Later in the month, Sarah headed east to Providence, Rhode Island to attend the Land Trust Alliance's Rally 2014: The National Land Conservation Conference. She was greatly inspired by all of the intriguing ways people and organizations are working to strengthen their bond with the community and protect our nation's irreplaceable resources. Of particular interest to Sarah were discussions on how organizations are working to address conservation in a warming world and using science to assess land protection priorities for ground water and surface water quality.
Jennifer Magallon of JMag Photography beside her work.
Providence, RI - LTA Rally
On the way to Providence.
Our vision is a healthy natural
environment that engages the commitment
of people and communities, creates a legacy,
and improves the quality of life
for all living things.
Let's Celebrate at !!!
Wang's North Park
Spend an evening out in North Park & help raise funds for outdoor education!
Join us Saturday, October 25, 2014 at the "treehouse" in Wang's North Park to celebrate all of SDHC's accomplishments over the past year. We have been working hard to bring some exciting changes to this year's Gala!
Gone are the long speeches! This year we're bringing you a more entertaining and interactive experience with music by DJ YO Rider, photography by JMAG Photography, and a number of displays showcasing our past and upcoming work.
Plus, we will have over 30 items available through our silent auction, including a 2-night stay at Welk Resorts San Diego, entry to San Diego's 2015 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, Park Hopper Tickets to Disneyland Resort, Eagle Optics binoculars, Patagonia gear, a photograph of Kelly Slater signed by Steve Sherman, tickets to a number of local restaurants and museums, and much more!
We are also excited for the debut of a video created by Adam Hersko-RonaTas and Darian Spencer of Vrütty Productions which will highlight our work and showcase the beauty found within the preserves we manage.
Signed photograph of Kelly Slater to be auctioned off.
San Diego's very own DJ YO Rider will be playing all night at the Gala.
Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Hors d'oeuvres and buffet dinner included.
Event starts at 6PM. Happy hour prices from 6PM - 7PM.
Wang's North Park features an imaginative menu using only fresh ingredients sourced locally.
Thank you to the following companies that have generously donated items to the silent auction!
Get to Know SDHC's Board of Directors
Last month, JMag Photography highlighted SDHC's staff on their blog by asking Don, Jim, and Sarah a series of questions. We thought this was such a great idea that we decided to borrow (steal?) it and posed those same questions to our Board of Directors. This month, we start with our newest Board member, Christina Schaefer, who is very active on both the Education and Land Management Committees.
Where are you from originally? I am from Germany, but lived in the Middle Eastern deserts for my graduate and post-graduate work. I came to the U.S. on a scholarship and completed more graduate work in the Sonoran Desert. After traversing from cold/mesic to hot/dry climate zones, I finally picked the mild/Mediterranean climate of San Diego to raise my family.
What initially drew you to become involved in the preservation effort?
I started being interested in nature conservation at a very young age thanks to a nature loving family. My father was a conservation enthusiast, naturalist and mountaineer, and my mother a hobby field botanist. The family went hiking every weekend equipped with the local flora identification books, and we usually returned home with armloads of plant materials to be studied, and ultimately displayed in my mom’s Ikebana creations. I also clearly remember the awe and excitement I felt upon discovering an endangered ‘Edelweiss’ in the Austrian Alps at the edge of a glacier on a mountaineering trip with my dad. And then there was my uncle, who - as a paramedic in World War II – collected and pressed rare plants from the battle fields. Hence, when the time came to decide what I wanted to do after high school, I naturally drifted toward nature conservation and studied landscape stewardship at the University of Munich/Freising.
When did you join the SDHC team and why did you decide to become a part of this organization?
As a conservation biologist I wanted to be involved in large scale landscape conservation outside my daily professional duties. I was familiar with SDHC from the beginning, but was consumed by raising kids and volunteering at their schools. Now, with the kids older, I am able to devote more time to giving back to the community. SDHC provides a great opportunity to work with some incredibly dedicated people and contribute directly to the conservation of our local biodiversity.
What is your favorite preserve and why?
I like them all, and there are some new ones that are truly special. But right now, Eureka Springs is my favorite because it ties the beauty of our natural landscape together with the opportunity for people to learn about and enjoy this beauty. The nature trail and signs evoke a sense of belonging which helps people understand the value of the natural world that surrounds them, and the need for preventing further destruction of our precious biodiversity.
Why is it important to focus efforts on San Diego County specifically?
San Diego County is a biodiversity hotspot with the most endangered species after Hawaii. It is also the eighth largest city in the U.S. Development pressure in San Diego is tremendous, but so are the opportunities for conservation thanks to the Natural Community Conservation programs (NCCP) that have been effective in San Diego for the past 20 years. So why venture far when you can do a lot of good close to home? By helping conserve the contiguous preserve system dedicated by the NCCP, we ultimately improve the quality of life of everyone in this County. And that’s worth a lot.
What has been the reaction of the children at the local elementary schools you've visited?
I haven’t visited any school yet with SDHC, but used to run my sons’ elementary school Garden Committee, which included the restoration of a coastal sage scrub slope behind the school. Working with the kids was extremely rewarding, because they are like little sponges, absorbing as much knowledge in the most fun ways possible. They learned how a monarch would came back over and over for the milkweed they planted and defend its territory with vigor; how little wrens were raised in the nest box above the garden beds; how native plants don’t need any watering; and how nature can be cruel when they had to watch their entire potato harvest disappear in the gopher holes.
If you could share a message with all of San Diego, what would you share?
San Diego is a unique and beautiful place. That’s why so many people continue to flock here, thereby requiring more houses, roads and places of employment. It is crucial to bond together in the conservation of our resources, because without everybody pitching in, San Diego will lose the quality of life that attracted us all in the first place.
Thanks, Christina! We are lucky to have you as part of the team!
Western Wood-Pewee (Contopus sordidulus)
This past June, during a visit to Bridges & Santa Fe Creek Preserve, Jim and Sarah came upon a small bird nesting on the slender branch of a Western sycamore. It was obviously a flycatcher, but what species? An olive-sided flycatcher? Upon further investigation we determined that it was a western wood-pewee, the first of its kind to be observed within the Preserve by SDHC staff...and it was nesting!
In San Diego County, western wood-pewees are most commonly found breeding in open woodlands in the eastern portion of the county as late as through the end of July. As we documented at Bridges & Santa Fe Creek Preserve, western wood-pewee nests are fairly easy to spot as they tend to be placed on horizontal branches of trees, often at a fork. They also look for trees that offer wide open views so that they can more easily spot potential predators.
Western wood-pewee nesting on the branch of a Western sycamore. (Click on the image to learn more and listen to the calls and song of the western wood-pewee.)
Raccoon (Procyon lotor)
Raccoons have 5 long toes on both the hind and front feet. Generally, the toes of the front foot splay wider than the hind while the palm pad of the hind foot is longer. Raccoons have a unique walking pattern with each hind foot landing next to the opposite front foot. Shown above, the track on the left is from the left front foot while the track on the right is from the right hind foot.
Since raccoons are omnivorous, their scat may contain a wide variety of substances such as nuts, seeds, insects, birds, and amphibians. The scat is usually of even thickness with blunt edges.
What's In the Works?
Exploring Art and Nature
SDHC is partnering with Lux Art Institute, Batiquitos Lagoon Foundation, and San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy to provide a series of monthly workshops which will explore the connection between art and our environment. The next workshops will take place:
October 8th @ Batiquitos Lagoon.
November 12th @ SDHC's Bridges & Santa Fe Creek Preserve.
December 10th at San Elijo Lagoon.
Plus, SDHC's very own "Artist in Residence", Executive Director Don Scoles, will be leading the plein air painting class at the Bridges & Santa Fe Creek Preserve! Register online at https://luxart.wufoo. com/forms/art-nature/ Cost: $5 per class for members of any sponsor group, $10 for non-members. A $5 material charge may apply, depending on class.
Ramona Grasslands Conservation Bank
We are excited to announce that San Diego Habitat Conservancy will be the long-term managers for the 210-acre Ramona Grasslands Conservation Bank which is adjacent to the 3500-acre Ramona Grasslands Preserve in unincorporated San Diego County. The Bank will provideprotection of vernal pool and grassland habitats for the federally endangered San Diego fairy shrimp and burrowing owl, along with a host of other wildlife species.Learn more in this press release from USFWS.
Applying for Accreditation with LTA in 2015!!
SDHC is excited to announce that we have been selected to apply for accreditation with the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) in the upcoming 2015 application period. This will be no small feat! On average, land trusts dedicate approximately 550 hours to the entire accreditation application process. Although the process towards accreditation has already begun, it's a long road. If all goes as planned we hope to receive our accreditation sometime in early 2016.
"Being accredited helps your land trust to stand out, to say to landowners, funders and other supporters: Invest in us. We have proven we are a strong, effective organization you can trust to conserve your land forever."
- Land Trust Accreditation Commission -
Accredited land trusts recognized
at Rally 2014.
Become a Member Today!
Our efforts to preserve native habitat and biodiversity in San Diego County and to expand our education program can only be accomplished with the support of donations. As a dedicated member, you are helping to preserve those spaces that are unique to San Diego and you are helping to ensure that future generations may enjoy the same beauty that never ceases to astound and inspire us. Please make your voice heard by becoming a member today! Go to www.sdhabitat.org to join. Make a minimum $35 donation and receive a SDHC tote bag or shirt.