San Dieguito River Valley ConservancySan Dieguito
River Valley Conservancy
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Education About River Valley in San Diego, CA

We want to inspire stewardship for the environment, citizen action, and support for ongoing conservation and protection of the San Dieguito River Valley. One of the best ways to do that is to create engaging, interactive programs that provide education about River Valley in San Diego, CA.

Our classes highlight the many native species of the River Park, the archaeological history of the region, the effects of climate change, and how important it is to conserve and protect San Dieguito River Valley for future generations.

We are proud to be able to offer such a variety of programs to the public, thanks in part to partnerships with local organizations. We plan to continue to build these relationships and develop new ones to make our education programs even more popular and varied with your continued support.

Exploring Our Sense of Place

Our popular Exploring Our Sense of Place program allows participants to experience the San Dieguito River Valley in all seasons, to follow its path from mountain to sea, to encounter plant, animal and human inhabitants, and to connect to the River Valley with their heart and minds.

The ESP program is an 8-session seminar series that includes a reception, seven excursions with lectures by experts, and special “reflection time.”

Over 225 Explorers have graduated from the program, all of whom are now able to participate in ESP Alumni hikes and educational experiences.

For more information, and to register, click here. If you would like to be placed on the interest list for a future year, click here.

The Birdwing Open Air Classroom at the San Dieguito Lagoon

Completed in 2014, the Birdwing Open-Air Classroom provides a shelter for people of all ages and abilities to learn about the river and the coastal area, including the San Dieguito Lagoon, the “gateway” to San Dieguito River Park. The lagoon has regional ecological significance, providing food and shelter for endangered wildlife and migratory birds. Once the largest lagoon in the northern half of San Diego County, the lagoon wetlands were recently restored by Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric as mitigation for impacts created by the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.

It was designed by award-winning Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects and the Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects, and is the first educational gathering place at the Lagoon where people can learn about the river and the world around it. It seats approximately 80 people. Located south of Via de la Valle on the north side of the San Dieguito Lagoon, the project includes off-street parking, ADA access and connections to the Coast to Crest Trail and other Lagoon trails.

The total cost for the project was approximately $700,000. An initial $340,000 grant from the County of San Diego, courtesy of former Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, was received to start construction of the Birdwing. County Supervisor Dave Roberts secured another grant of $150,000.

The Conservancy raised most of the remaining funds with major gifts from the D’Augustine Family Foundation, the Del Mar Foundation, the Hans & Margaret Doe Family Charitable Trust, Jimbo’s Natural Foods, Joan Griffin, Kimberly Godwin and Tom Wilcox, Tom & Donna Golich, Stephen & Susan Hedrick, the Price Family Charitable Fund, REI, Dee Dee & Ned Reynolds, the William Schwartz, Jr. Memorial Fund, In Memory of Fred Belinsky, Seth Sprague Educational and Charitable Foundation, Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society, Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, Southern California Edison, the William Hall Tippett & Ruth Rathell Tippett Foundation, David & Ann Welborn, Whole Foods-Del Mar, and donations from many individual supporters.

The San Dieguito River Park JPA is responsible for managing the Birdwing Open Air Classroom. For more information about holding an event at the Birdwing Open Air Classroom, visit the River Park JPA’s website here.