Lending a (Muddy) Hand at San Diego River Days 2012
On Saturday, May 19th, Jack Simes, planner for the Bureau of Reclamation's Southern California Area Office, joined hundreds of local youth and their families in a "Youth Day of Service" along the San Diego River near Santee, California.
Jack was one of the coordinators at the Mast Park Fishing Spot Beautification site, where 75 volunteers removed invasive aquatic plants near a stunning overlook of the San Diego River, and helped create fishing line recycling containers. Sixty youth from the local community, including the Santee Girl Scouts, were part of the effort, while other participants represented Friends of Santee’s River Park, San Diego Fly Fishers, the City of Santee, and the Bureau of Reclamation.
All volunteers enthusiastically plunged into the wet working conditions, and one child remarked, "I could do this all day. Pulling primrose and getting muddy is fun!" Another was overheard saying, "My mom is NOT going to let me in the house like this!" Most of the Scouts ended up covered in mud, but giggled their way as a group into the river to remove most of the grime at the end of the day.
At another site, about 60 additional volunteers from the Scouts and Friends groups, and the Santee Historical Society, San Diego County, and Anderson Seed Co., helped create seedballs out of clay, soil, and native plant seeds. These will be used to help re-establish native plant habitats at disturbed areas along the river.
The participants also "gave each other a hand" by pledging their support for sustaining the outdoors through their remarks written on colorful construction-paper hands. These were saved for display at the San Diego River Park Foundation Office, offering inspiration for other youth and future volunteers.
Courtesy of Shannon Quigley-Raymond,
Program Coordinator, The San Diego River Park Foundation
An extensive Flickr gallery is also available courtesy of Jay Renard.
(Click on thumbnail image to see full-size photo)
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Updated: May 2012