By JENNIFER MORRISSEY
January is the time for new beginnings and New Year’s resolutions. Do you have on your to-do list to make a difference in the community? If so, share some of your time and volunteer at Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP). There are many ways you can volunteer at Mission Trails, and community members are involved in many aspects of the park’s operations. Our annual Trail Guide training is full, but below are other service opportunities.
Also, don’t miss our Feb. 13 presentation on mountain lions by Don Endicott, author, naturalist, and MTRP Trail Guide. This event will fill quickly, so get your tickets soon! Visit mtrp.org for details.
Visitor and Interpretive Center: Working at the Visitor and Interpretive Center’s front desk, these volunteers welcome guests to the park, answer questions about the trails, activities, programs, start presentations in our 94-seat theater, and help in the gift shop. During the week, they assist park rangers and MTRP Foundation staff in welcoming school groups to the park. These volunteers work half-day shifts, from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., or from 1 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. If interested in this opportunity, please go to the MTRP website and download and complete the Visitor Center Volunteer Application and either drop it off or send it to the Visitor Center, or scan and email to email@example.com. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 619-582-4502.
Trail Patrol: If you like taking long hikes at MTRP, then consider becoming a member of the park’s Trail Patrol. These volunteers interact with park users and educate the public about park rules on foot or on mountain bike, assess and monitor trails, and submit reports to the park rangers about their observations from their patrol. With thousands of acres and more than 60 miles of trails, MTRP is a lot of territory to monitor and we appreciate the help from community members. For information on how to join the MTRP Trail Patrol, please contact Ranger Aide Mansour Habis at 619-668-2744 or send email to MHabis@sandiego.gov.
Volunteer Work Crews: By participating on one of the park’s regular work crews, you can get your exercise for the day and help the park at the same time. There are weekend crews, a regular weekday crew, and you can organize a group volunteering opportunity as well. If you would like to schedule a group volunteer opportunity, please contact David Lee at DNLee@sandiego.gov
West Sycamore Volunteer Crew: On the first Sundays of the month, join Ranger Dan Kimpel to assist with various projects at our West Sycamore property in Scripps Ranch. Meet near the trailer at the east end of Stonebridge Parkway. For more information and to RSVP, please send email to DKimpel@sandiego.gov.
Habitat Restoration Crew: On the second Saturdays of the month, assist Ranger Heidi Gutknecht with non-native plant eradication, habitat protection and revegetation projects. For more information and to RSVP, please send email to HGutknecht@sandiego.gov or call 619-668-3279.
Trail Improvement Crew: On the third Sundays of the month and on some Wednesdays, work with Ranger Andrew Miller with trail maintenance, construction and erosion control projects. For more information and to RSVP, please send email to AJMiller@sandiego.gov or call 619-668-2745.
Park Beautification Crew: On the fourth Saturdays of the month, help beautify the park with Ranger Julie Aeilts. For more information and to RSVP, please send email to JAeilts@sandiego.gov or call 619-668-3201.
All work crews meet at 8 a.m. and work until noon at the latest. Rain cancels the events, and no crews take place in July or August due to extreme heat. The West Sycamore Crew takes off July–September. Volunteers should bring work gloves, a water bottle to refill, and a snack. Be sure to wear long pants, sun protection and sturdy, closed toe shoes.
Mission Trails’ apex predator
Join the Mission Trails Regional Park community for a multi-media presentation about mountain lions by author Don Endicott, a National Association of Interpretation Certified Interpretive Guide and MTRP Trail Guide as well as public educator for the San Diego Natural History Museum and San Diego Humane Society’s Project Wildlife.
At the presentation, Endicott will provide an introduction to the natural history of Southern California’s seldom seen apex predator. He will share the incredible attributes and signature behaviors of our big cats, show how relationships between mountain lions and people have changed over time, outline their key contributions to a healthy wilderness environment, and address the challenges and threats facing them.
Don’s presentation features still photos, audio tracks, and video footage of seldom seen behaviors, including nursing kittens and bonus footage of two trail encounters filmed by a hiker and a bicyclist. He will describe and demonstrate how to respond if you should meet a mountain lion on the trails.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for a book signing of Don Endicott’s book “50 Best Short Hikes: San Diego,” with the presentation beginning at 7 p.m. Books will be available for purchase at the event.
An avid hiker and climber, Don Endicott has enjoyed over 50 years exploring and photographing wildlife and wilderness settings throughout California and the western States. Throughout that time, Puma concolor has been a nearly invisible but tantalizing presence, leaving behind tracks and other signs and has gifted Don Endicott with a couple of rare sightings.
Mystery Cat: Southern California’s Elusive Mountain Lion
Thursday, February 13, 7PM
Presented by Don Endicott at the MTRP Visitor Center
Tickets $10; visit mtrp.org to register
— Jennifer Morrissey is executive director of the Mission Trails regional Park Foundation.