By JENNIFER MORRISSEY
Though we won’t have as many daylight hours, November is full of activity at Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP). Please note that until Daylight Saving Time returns, all of the park’s gates will close at 5 p.m. The MTRP Visitor Center will be closed on Thanksgiving but the parking lots will be open from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. in case you’d like to get some fresh air and exercise on the holiday.
There are many ways to enjoy Mission Trails in November, and we hope that you’ll mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3 and plan to make a donation to support Mission Trails, wilderness in our own backyard. You can make a gift at online at mtrp.org, call the MTRP Foundation with your gift, or come by the Visitor Center between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make a gift in person.
Know the birds of MTRP
A special public program being offered on Thursday, Nov. 14 is “Birds Along the Trail at Mission Trails Regional Park” with Wendy Esterly, longtime volunteer at Mission Trails and avid photographer whose stunning images of birds and other wildlife have been used in publications and exhibits. She has served on exhibit committees at MTRP including for the new nest box project exhibit, just completed at the MTRP Visitor Center; she is also the author of the recently published “Coloring Southern California Birds” by Sunbelt Publications.
At her talk, Esterly will share photos of 20 birds commonly seen at Mission Trails, and attendees will learn where to find the birds, the time of year they can be seen, hear their call or song, and find out interesting facts. This presentation will sell out, so reserve your place soon through our website at mtrp.org.
Holiday Marketplace to benefit Mission Trails
On Sunday, Nov. 17, the MTRP Visitor Center from will be transformed into a seasonal marketplace featuring unique gifts. At the free event, enjoy live demonstrations, music, and author signings, and you can also shop the recently transformed Visitor Center Gift Shop, curated by Sonya Kemp of Gold Leaf in South Park. You can shop knowing that at least half of your purchase is benefiting Mission Trails.
Items at the Holiday Marketplace include Kumeyaay pottery, baskets, and jewelry; hand-carved bowls made from locally sourced wood by members of the San Diego Woodturners; a range of titles from Sunbelt Publications and book signings all day; leather goods, one-of-a-kind jewelry, home goods, cards, and more! This free, drop-in event allows you to give twice: to your gift recipient and MTRP.
Thanksgiving Week Day Camp
Oh, to be a kid again! During Thanksgiving week, from Monday, Nov. 25 through Wednesday, Nov. 27, the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation will offer a Day Camp program for children in second through sixth grades. The camp will allow children to learn about hiking, animal habitats, food chains, ecosystems, biodiversity, and Kumeyaay connections through daily hikes; make crafts and play games, including making gourd rattles and learning games that Kumeyaay children played long ago; and engage with guest speakers including Bob Gordon and Huxley the Harris’s Hawk and Native storyteller Cathleen Chilcote Wallace.
Keil’s encourages support for Mission Trails
Many thanks to Keil’s Grocery for encouraging their shoppers to “round up” for Mission Trails. During the month of November, cashiers will ask patrons whether they’d like to round up to the next dollar (or more) to help support the park, which is in mere blocks away from Keil’s, a cornerstone of the community. Cashiers will also have copies of a new brochure about the park so that shoppers can learn more about the incredible resource in our midst, which boasts more than 7,200 acres, 65 miles of trails, and is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Kudos to Keil’s for showing their support of this regional treasure, and for encouraging their shoppers to support MTRP, too.
— Jennifer Morrissey is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.