December 2023


Dear Friends and Supporters,

Thank you for an incredible year! As we close the chapter on 2023, I want to take a moment (just a moment!) to reflect on this incredible year of growth, and share some of our accomplishments. Together, our team has:

  • Provided hands-on environmental education programming to more than 1,800 students from underserved communities;

  • Provided “education through recreation” opportunities for more than 850 community members from San Diego’s east county to participate in sea kayaking, guided nature hikes, camping, whale watching, indoor rock climbing, and more;

  • Led community volunteers to contribute over 1,400 hours toward habitat restoration and conservation projects;

  • Installed more than 1,100 native plants to create and restore native habitats on conserved lands;

  • Completed the second year of a long-term project aimed at creating 15 acres of cactus scrub habitat in Lakeside to support Coastal Cactus Wren and other native species;

  • Created self-guided “storybook hikes” at Crestridge Ecological Reserve, translated into Spanish, Arabic, and English, to support literacy and nature engagement;

  • Provided two, $1,000 college scholarship awards for students from San Diego county to pursue careers in conservation;

  • And more!

Summarizing and cataloging the sum of our efforts at the end of the year is always so rewarding and inspiring. But of our accomplishments, I am perhaps proudest of the culture we have created at EDI- one that fosters mutual support and growth. One where I have been told by both board members and staff that EDI “feels like a family.” Where we show up for one another and support one another to always get the job done because we all care so very much about our work, but also each other. Assembling and supporting this incredible team of passionate, competent, skilled, productive, kind, conscientious, and eminently trustworthy individuals, to accomplish so much more than we ever could as individuals, is truly my privilege.

We really cannot do this work without the support of our community! Support biodiversity conservation and programs that connect underserved communities with nature, with your year-end contribution to Earth Discovery Institute. A contribution of any size truly is meaningful to our work.

THANK YOU to the entire EDI family: donors, board members, staff, volunteers, YOU- for making this all possible.

Happy New Year!

Sarah Maisonneuve

Executive Director


Thank you to the many helping hands who joined us at McGinty Mountain within the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge earlier this month for a weeding party! Together we helped clear invasive species to prepare the site for planting native plants in early 2024 to restore habitat. We enjoyed the wonderful sunshine together with some great volunteers and couldn’t have asked for a better final volunteer event for 2023. We are SO grateful for all the work these volunteer heroes have collectively put in throughout this entire year. We are so fortunate to know you all!


Another huge thank you to the volunteers from SDG&E who joined us for a restoration event at El Monte Ecological Reserve! With the wonderful SDG&E Green Team, together we make a restoration DREAM team - making great progress at our cactus scrub restoration site. We can’t wait to team up with them again!


Everyone had a gripping time at our indoor rock climbing event at Grotto Climbing in Miramar earlier this month! With about 40 community members joining us for this fun-filled family event, they ‘spidered’ around to their hearts' content after learning about the basics of climbing and safety. It was an incredible time and we can’t wait for the next one! Stay tuned for updates on our first rock climbing event of the new year.

This program is funded by the Outdoor Equity Grants Program, created through AB 209 and administered by California State Parks, Office of Grants and Local Services.


We had our last Tuesday volunteer event of 2023! Words don't accurately describe how grateful we are for our Tuesday volunteer heroes who show up and make magic happen. Not only are they wonderful company, they inspire us each Tuesday with their hard work and dedication to our wild spaces. We wrapped up 2023 by expanding our Milkweed Farm in Lakeside, planting a new plot equipped with three rows of our farm-grown Milkweed!

We are so excited to begin our Monarch Butterfly Garden 'Tips of the Week' in January 2024. As part of our Monarch Butterfly Garden project in partnership with Monarch Joint Venture, we will be providing weekly tips and facts about growing native milkweed in San Diego, and ways you can create your own butterfly/pollinator gardens! If you aren’t already, consider following along on Facebook and Instagram, or checking our Monarch Butterfly Gardens page weekly for new tips and facts.

Thank you for being part of the EDI community.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and incredible New Year!