Hello, my name is Elura, and I work for San Diego Sailing Tours in the office and as a graphic designer. Today’s blog I wanted to talk about a volunteer excursion I did this past Sunday with the San Diego River Foundation.

Growing up, my mother always had in me involved in volunteer projects in either environmentalism, helping those in need, or with art. I think volunteering is a great way to reach out to your community, make new friends, and leave a positive impact on this Earth. I learned about San Diego River Foundation through two friends who worked there and did a volunteer River Rescue clean up back in the Summer-time. I hadn’t thought about it since, but remembered the great impact that was made with that team in just 4 hours, and desired to do it again.

So I signed up online for a different type of event, a habitat restoration with a San Diego Native Garden recently built in Point Loma in the past year. I met a group of volunteers early that morning. There were kids picking up trash, and a group of us adults were assigned to trimming and clearing up dormant bushes that are expected to bloom beautifully in the upcoming rain season.

The garden looked a little dry, but that’s to be expected just before the rain. Many native San Diegan plants will often look dead and dormant just waiting for the rain to allow them to turn green almost overnight and sprout their flowers. You can usually tell if it’s still alive by snapping a twig and seeing if the inside is still green and secretes glucose. However, some plants, like the photo below, this is their time of bloom, and they are attracting the much-endangered bee species.

The garden was created as an attempt to introduce native plants back to the San Diego area and support the declining bee population. Volunteer organizations such as San Diego River Foundation are often monitoring water quality, at the forefront of cleaning up public lands and parks, and even taking on projects such as creating gardens such as these. To learn more, go to their website, and sign up for a volunteer event. Fair warning, if you are an able-bodied adult you will be working in the dirt and in the sun, and it will be a bit of a workout!

Some of you who have never been to San Diego, or are unfamiliar with our native plants. Trust me when I say when it rains it gets super green. It may at times feel like a dusty desert, but when the rain comes hillsides truly make a magical transformation that plants and animals wait all year round for. Below is a photo collage I took from a hike after the heavy rainfall we experienced last year and almost all of California went through a Super Bloom.

Why did I do this wearing our company T-shirt, and why now? I feel like as a company that uses natural resources, such as the ocean to operate our business on, we should contribute to the local wildlife. Due to the holidays, many beach cleanups were postponed, but this habitat restoration was available to join. The health of San Diego Rivers does impact ocean life since many ecosystems are endangered or destroyed by pesticide runoff and city pollution that enters the waterways. My goal is to use our company’s outreach to gather more volunteers in the future so that we can make an impact. It’s my hope I can go to more of these, and bring many more people along with me in the future.

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