News from the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation – Dec. 15, 2017

By Leslie Perkins

Arbor Day 2017

Volunteers, Mission trails Regional Park Foundation (MTRPF) board members, elected officials and city Park and Recreation staff helped celebrate Mission Trails Regional Park’s own Arbor Day on Saturday, Dec. 2.

Volunteers at Mission Trails Park plant trees for Arbor Day. (Courtesy MTRPF)

Each year, a select number of trees are planted to help make a lasting impact on the environment and beautify the park. Our Southern California winter provides the ideal planting conditions for young trees to take root.

Everyone was welcomed by MTRPF board president Joe Morse, and were given an instructional overview by city of San Diego’s Park Grounds Maintenance staff member Carmelo Esquer and Tom Folk, who coordinated the planting of the trees.

Ten young Coast Live Oak trees were planted by volunteer groups in the selected and prepared spots in the East Fortuna Staging Area. It was great to see young people participate in this long-standing tradition and to have members of Girl Scout Troop #3322 help plant as well. A special thank you to those who donated to fund the Arbor Day trees — the Leonard and Laird families, Ruth Gautereaux, Cathy Maches, and Robert and Linda Gordon.

If you would like to participate in volunteering or supporting this annual effort, just mark your calendar for the first Saturday morning of December at Mission Trails Regional Park.

Mission Trails geology

MTRPF has just published and released Dr. Patrick L. Abbott’s newest book: “Geology — Mission Trails Park.” This book explains the four phases of geologic history of Mission Trails Regional Park and points out “look and learn” sites within the park where geologic history can be observed and interpreted.

Looking back over the past 126 million years, the rocks within the park have taken on different trends. An excerpt explains:

“Early on, the landscape stood tall with active magma extrusions by volcanoes…then the lands were worn down by erosion. Later, a long-distance river reached San Diego and buried the landscape beneath a huge pile of gravels and sands for millions of years, but then the river was cut off. Once again, erosion took over and reshaped the landscape in processes that continue today”.

Dr. Pat Abbott is a native San Diegan with master’s and Ph.D. degrees in geology and served as a long-time professor of geology at San Diego State University. His renowned research is focused on reading the history stored in sedimentary rocks and fossils, with several published books and multiple media appearances for his expertise. Dr. Abbott has served on the board of directors for the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation and currently serves as an advisor. His anticipated book is available exclusively at the Visitor Center gift shop with proceeds benefitting the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.

Student art show

Come by the Visitor Center to view a unique art exhibit of local students’ artwork on display until Jan. 5, 2018. The “Natural Views” show features student artworks from the Grossmont Union High School District including El Cajon Valley, El Capitan, Grossmont, IDEA, Monte Vista, Steele Canyon, Valhalla and West Hills high schools.

Students, ages 14 to 18 years old, will have the opportunity to hang their works of art and represent their high school on the gallery walls for the public to enjoy. Coordinated through the art teachers, mediums have included black-and-white drawing, color drawing, painting, photography, experimental photography, digital arts, and printmaking.

A special reception will be held at Mission Trails Regional Park with the student artists and their parents on Saturday, Dec. 16, 1–4 p.m. and the public is invited to attend. Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to see impressive art created by our talented local high school students!

— Leslie Perkins is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation. Reach her at

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