News from the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation – Nov. 17, 2017

By Leslie Perkins

Field trip season

The fall season is underway as Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) hosts weekly field trips from local schools. Hundreds of students get to experience hiking in the park, learning from exhibits at the Visitor Center and connecting with nature.

Through the education program, students learn about the habitats and ecosystem of MTRP, clean water quality, the Kumeyaay culture, and the historic Old Mission Dam.

Foundation Education Coordinator Alicia Berg leads field trips on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays through a generous environmental grant from SDG&E. The city of San Diego’s Park and Recreation Department leads field trips on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Educational Park Ranger Chris Axtmann.

Weekly school field trips take students down trails like this one in Mission Trails Regional Park. (Courtesy MTRPF)

Students comment how much they like being at the oak woodland and riparian habitats the most, being under the large oak trees and seeing dragonflies and crawfish.

A twist on Arbor Day

Next month, Mission Trails Regional Park will celebrate its own Arbor Day. While the national event usually takes place in April each spring, MTRP has traditionally been observing it in December. Here in Southern California, winter provides the ideal planting conditions to allow the young trees to establish strong roots before the warm season.

On Saturday, Dec. 2 at 9 a.m., foundation board members, sponsors, and volunteers and will be planting 10 Coast Live Oak trees in Mission Trails Regional Park, meeting at the East Fortuna Staging Area.

The public is invited to take part in the tree planting and even consider making a donation to help fund the trees. If you are interested in making a lasting impact on our environment, please email me at

Free concerts and art exhibits

Be sure to stop by the Visitor Center to check out the free concert on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 3 p.m. by the El Cajon Music Masters Barber Shop Chorus, and on Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. with Jim Earp performing his fingerstyle and Hawaiian slack-key guitar.

An exquisite art exhibition called “Stitchbacks” featuring the Paradise Textile Artists, is on display and for sale through Dec. 8.

Private events at the park

While you may have been at the Visitor and Interpretive Center before, did you know that you can also rent out space here for an event?

This setting offers a unique experience for guests and an appealing substitute to large ballrooms. Architecturally dramatic and poised above Mission Gorge, the Visitor Center boasts high windows and a 4,000-square-foot adjoining terrace with amazing views of the surrounding peaks.

The foundation rents space for evening nonprofit fundraisers, corporate gatherings, private weddings, anniversaries, retirements, and celebrations of life, with proceeds helping to support the park! Meeting rooms can also be rented during the day for office retreats and staff meetings. Please call 619-668-3280 for more information about having your event or meeting at MTRP.

Come find an activity for everyone at MTRP!

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

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