Summer programs offered at San Elijo Lagoon

Summer is a time of comfortable, warm evenings at San Elijo Lagoon, and a brilliant season in which to explore one of San Diego’s largest estuarine reserves. Listen for the “voice of the chaparral”, the wrentit, which makes a sound sometimes described as a bouncing ball. Late-blooming plants include the tarplant, with its small yellow-orange flowers that attract native insects in search of nectar. Mule deer and their fawns might be seen east in the reserve. The mallards and their chicks are much more conspicuous and are often seen at the nature center.

Free, public programs will occur in the serene environment of San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. This county and state regional park protects nearly 1,000 acres of habitat that hosts more than 700 species of plants and animals, many of them sensitive or endangered. Eight trails wind through diverse vistas including salt marsh, riparian, and coastal sage scrub habitats.

From morning and evening guided walks, to the gala, and restoration events, there’s something for everyone. All walks are free. Registration is required for Lagoon Platoon. The Conservancy’s biennial gala is a ticketed event; all are welcome.

For more information on all the events offered, visit the conservancy’s website at or call  (760) 436-3944.

A list of events is below:

Birds of a Feather

Saturday, August 17: 5-8:30 p.m.

Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club

San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy’s biennial gala, Birds of a Feather, is a garden-style benefit for environmental education in San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve. This year’s theme is Growing Future Stewards. The fun-filled evening features natural and organic cuisine, live entertainment by Randy Fontaine and the Swingers, and auction opportunities, all with the focus on introducing children to the beauty and wonder of wetlands through guided nature walks and public programs. The 2013 gala Honorary Chairs are Carol Childs and Peter House. Gala tickets are $150 per person. Tables for 6 or 8 can also be reserved, with discounted incentives until June 30. Seating is limited. Suggested attire is garden cocktail.

Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club is located at 17025 Avenida de Acacias in Rancho Santa Fe. More information and ticket sales are online:

Summer Evening Walks

June 19, July 17, August 21, and September 18: 5:30-7 p.m. (Sep. is 5-6:30 p.m.)

Santa Carina Trail (3rd Wednesdays)

As the sun begins to descend over the ocean, some animals that live in San Elijo Lagoon emerge from daytime slumber. Explore the reserve in a guided pre-sunset walk along Santa Carina Trail. Enjoy the fragrance of sage scrub on warm evenings and listen for the call of the elusive Clapper Rail nestled in pickleweed. Santa Carina trail has moderate inclines in some areas. More information is online:

Nature Center Loop Trail Guided Walks

Saturdays: 10-11 a.m.

San Elijo Lagoon Nature Center

Glimpse the magic and mystery of life between the tides. Focus your binoculars to birding and marine invertebrate sightings that move to the rhythms of the ocean. The ¼-mile Nature Center Loop Trail is ADA-accessible and winds along the edge of salt marsh and sage scrub habitats with shade along the riparian boardwalk. Walk begins and ends at the nature center, located at 2710 Manchester Avenue in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.



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