November 2023

Our holiday season has started off full of hard work, fun, and gratitude. Equipped with plant hikes, stargazing serenades, habitat restoration, and more - this November was incredible and it is all thanks to you - the EDI community!


We started November with a Saturday morning volunteering on the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge replacing old erosion control wattle. This is crucial for protecting ecosystems, maintaining clean water, and helping mitigate the effects of climate change. Volunteers make working hard WAY more fun. We love our volunteer heroes!


This month we wrapped up our first ever Science & Nature Club program at the El Cajon Library! Students from El Cajon participated in fun, educational activities where they practiced the fundamentals of being a scientist, conducted hands-on science experiments, and learned about ways to help our local habitats, watersheds, and the world. We can't wait to return to the library next summer to learn together with more young scientists!

EDI is thrilled to offer Family Day events like this one as part of our Education Through Recreation program. 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.


Thanks to incredible volunteers from Apple, we had a successful habitat restoration event at El Monte Ecological Preserve on November 11th! With over 100 cactus pads planted, we were able to continue expansion of our cactus scrub restoration. This restoration project supports local species, including the Coastal Cactus Wren, a California Species of Special Concern. A huge thank you to these passionate volunteers!


Our dedicated Tuesday volunteer crew has been very busy, too! On November 21st, they planted over 60 native pollinator species generously donated by The Xerces Society. This effort aims to establish pollinator habitat adjacent to our native milkweed farm, creating a thriving ecosystem for these essential species!


Thanks to Bethany Grace, and Dennis and Sunny of the San Diego Astronomy Association, we had an incredible evening at our Stargazing Serenade event for EDI members on November 13th! Between Bethany’s incredible talent with the violin, and Dennis and Sunny’s inspiring knowledge about the night sky and top-of-the-line equipment, we had a truly unforgettable night, and will cherish these moments we get to experience in nature with you!


Our community "Family Day" fishing trip on Saturday, November 18th, was o-fish-ially a success! We provided fishing lessons, birding, outdoor playtime, and arts & crafts to 80 El Cajon residents at Santee Lakes. We couldn't have done it without help from the San Diego Rod and Reel Club, who provided fishing poles, tutorials, and free prizes for the attendees. We had a wonderful time learning together in nature!

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.


Also on Saturday, November 18th, we had a native plant hike led by Lyla, our Conservation Technician! We were fortunate to see some plants in bloom, and learned about the different strategies these native plants use to spread their seeds during fall. We were grateful for the clear skies and great company!


On November 20th, we hosted a captivating bat monitoring event at El Monte Ecological Preserve, which is both our cactus scrub restoration site and the location of our future bat hotel! We learned about anabats, which is a handheld device used to monitor bat populations, and how we can use this bat detector to find bats (though they remained elusive for this event). Nevertheless, we had a wonderful time! Our UV lights led us to spot a scorpion, a favorite snack for the Pallid Bat. It made for a memorable evening immersed in nature!


We finished up November with another habitat restoration event at El Monte Ecological Preserve, expanding our cactus scrub habitat even further by adding cholla cactus to diversity the landscape! Thank you to the wonderful volunteer heroes who joined us and made a particularly prickly event a fun one! We hope to see you at our next event on Saturday, December 2nd (details at the end of this email).

Happy two year work-iversary to Ashley Mota!


Celebrating two years with Ashley Mota (left), our Office Administrator, who is both the connective tissue and the heart of EDI. She's often the first person people encounter when they reach out to us, and there couldn't be a more welcoming presence. And she's always quick to support the team with great alacrity. We couldn't do the work we do without her.