San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy summer events introduce all ages to the wonders of wetlands


The summer season at San Elijo Lagoon offers more than fanciful butterflies and long, winding trails. Free, public programs will occur in the serene environment of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. One of San Diego’s largest coastal wetlands, this county and state regional park protects nearly 1,000 acres of habitat that hosts more than 700 species of plants and animals.

From Family Discovery Days to Summer Evening Walks, there’s something for everyone. All programs are free. Reservations are required where noted.

•Native San Elijo Lagoon (Family Discovery Days)

Saturday and Sunday June 30/July 1: 1-4 p.m.

Revisit a time when Native Americans relied upon wetlands for many needs. Learn how local plants were used for medicines, food, tools, and clothing. Kids can try acorn grinding, play Kumeyaay games, make authentic crafts, and unearth “finds” at a mock dig site. Enjoy traditional Native American storytelling at 2 p.m. each day.

•Family Discovery Days (free)

takes place quarterly at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, located at 2710 Manchester Avenue in Cardiff-by-the-Sea. Family Discovery Days is made possible through the partnership of San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy, San Diego County Parks and Recreation, and San Diego County Parks Society. The City of Encinitas and the Mizel Family Foundation Community Grant provide additional funding.

For more information on Family Discovery Days at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center contact the Nature Center at (760) 634-3026 or visit

•New! Summer Evening Walks

June 20, July 18, Aug. 15, Sep. 19: 5:30-7 p.m.

(Third Wednesdays monthly)

As the sun begins to descend over the ocean, some animals that live in San Elijo Lagoon emerge from daytime slumber. Explore the estuary as day becomes dusk with San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy docents. Enjoy the fragrance of sage-scrub on a warm evening. Search for mule deer emerging from naps and scan for night herons fishing for breakfast.

Summer Evening Walks occur on Santa Carina Trail. The trail has moderate inclines in some areas. It is helpful to have water and to dress comfortably. More information is online:

•Docent Open House

Saturday, September 8: 3-5 p.m. at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

For those interested in sharing their passion for nature, this Open House will acquaint participants with the joys of volunteering to lead hikes for school children and the general public. Current and prospective docents will hear an overview of the 2012 Docent-Naturalist program, see photos and tools of interpretation, and have an opportunity to meet others. Light refreshments will be served.

As a naturalist with the Conservancy, docents help support the mission to protect and enhance San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, by fostering stewardship and appreciation of the protected wetland environment. The application deadline is Sept. 21. The eight-week training course is held Tuesday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon (and two Saturday mornings) at San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center, beginning on Oct. 2.

RSVP: (760) 436-3944 x 701 (Open House)

For more information, visit the Conservancy’s website at, or call (760) 436-3944.