Archives for September 2010

Q&A: Clay Phillips, Tijuana Estuary


The San Diego Union-Tribune

February 9, 2008

Clay Phillips

La Mesa resident Clay Phillips, 53, is a superintendent for California State Parks and manager of the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, a federally protected wetland.

Phillips says he hopes to promote public awareness about the Tijuana Estuary and encourage visitors to observe diverse wildlife in their natural salt-marsh environment.

QUESTION: What misconceptions do people have about the Tijuana Estuary?

ANSWER: If they know it exists at all, many San Diegans still think of this place as it was 30 years ago. They think of it as a pollution-infested, crime-filled swamp that is overrun by illegal immigrants and only valuable as a buffer between Mexico and the United States. While we still have significant management challenges, the fact is that the Tijuana Estuary is a jewel of the San Diego region. Public awareness and a sense of ownership is essential for long-range protection of this important place.

What can be done to turn the estuary into an eco-tourist destination?

It already is an eco-tourism destination, known well to birders internationally. The city of Imperial Beach is working to enhance that attribute through signage and brochures. Adding quality overnight accommodations nearby will also help.

Tell us about the bird-watching that goes on there. Any rare sightings?

At the Tijuana Estuary, over 370 bird species have been sighted and five endangered birds call it home. We routinely receive visits by birders from around the world, hoping to check marks to the “life list.” In fact, the Tijuana Estuary is better known by birders in England than the general public here in San Diego. The signature bird of the Tijuana Estuary is the endangered light-footed clapper rail, a shy big-bodied bird who does more walking than flying. Other endangered birds include the western snowy plover, the California least tern, least Bell’s vireo and Belding’s savannah sparrow. Last year, we were visited by an exotic yellow-crowned night heron.

How does the sewage and trash from Mexico impact things at the estuary?

Sewage flow is a huge problem to ocean water quality and beach use here in South County. It will take further research to fully assess all the impacts to the estuary. Trash flowing from Mexico affects many parts of the estuary, mostly in the form of plastic bottles and tires. In 2005, we pulled over 4,000 tires out of the estuary. The removal of trash has become an expensive annual task of the land managers here.

– B.P. INMAN

Middle & High School Curriculum

Education at the Tijuana River NERR

Tijuana Estuary High School Teacher’s Guide – Grades 6-12

Next Training: May 2018, exact dates TBD
Reserve Your Spot Today – Register Here.
Please call 619-575-3613 ext.304, 305, or 306 to inquire about and be notified of upcoming trainings. The annual training generally takes place in May, here is a draft agenda for the training.

The Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide is an interdisciplinary high school curriculum designed to educate students about the valuable Tijuana River Estuary natural and cultural resources. It was developed to align to State Content Standards and it is the only field-based estuary science high school program in the County. To learn how to reserve a field trip, please open the section below titled Field Trip Activities.

The target audience of the Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide are the biology, ecology, marine science, English, and art students and teachers in San Diego County, especially South Bay.

To complement the Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide, we recommend using our national program’s Estuaries 101 Curriculum. Estuaries 101, the new on-line science curriculum from NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System, provides powerful ways for students to learn fundamental concepts in science and develop scientific thinking skills, as well as explore the nation’s biologically rich and economically important estuaries. From flying over an estuary with “Google Maps” to tracking the path and impact of a hurricane, Estuaries 101 modules feature hands-on learning, experiments, field-based activities and data explorations.

PHHS_BFSP_beach_web

The Curriculum

The following pdf files make up the Tijuana Estuary High School Teachers’ Guide, they include both the chapters and lesson plans to be done in the classroom and also the field trip guide for programs done here at the Reserve which are based upon the knowledge gained in the classroom portions of the teacher’s guide. Please be sure to read the introduction first to get a better understanding of how to use this curriculum:

 

Introduction & Chapters

Ecology Lessons

  1. Graphing San Diego Tides
  2. Measuring Water Quality
  3. Biotic vs. Abiotic
  4. Primary Producers
  5. Food Webs
  6. Construct a Virtual Habitat
  7. Plotting Water Quality Data

Geology Lessons

  1. Constructing a Set of Soil Sieves
  2. Determine Soil Particle Size
  3. Determining the Percolation Rate of Soil
  4. Settling Rates of Different Size Particles
  5. Understanding Topographic Maps
  6. Mapping the Sea Floor

 

 

History Lessons

  1. Timeline of Tijuana Estuary Populations
  2. Camping Near the Estuary – May 13, 1769
  3. Historical Figures Report
  4. Border Field Simulation (3.74MB)
  5. Go Fish!

Language Arts Lessons

  1. Reading About Estuaries
  2. Writing About Estuaries
  3. Why Do People Write About the Estuary?

Human Use Lessons

  1. Should We Build On the Estuary?
  2. Marine Oil Spills
  3. What You Can Do For the Estuary?
  4. What the Tijuana Estuary Does For You
  5. Design a Service-Learning Activity

Field Trip & Additional Resources

 

Transportation Grants

Limited transportation reimbursements are currently available for schools who currently cannot attend the Reserve’s free, high quality environmental education programs due to lack of transportation funds.  Teachers must have attended a training at the Reserve.  Please complete the request form and contact Anne Marie Tipton for details if you are interested, annemarie.tipton(at)parks.ca.gov or (619) 575-3613, ext. 304. 

Scout Groups

Troop #5255 works on their Animal Habitats badge.Scout groups interested in discovering the Tijuana Estuary will find that they can fulfill badge requirements, parts of a journey, or a required project. Programs can either be guided by Reserve staff or self-guided by troop leaders or a combination of the two.

Interested groups should call at least 4 weeks in advance to make a reservation and discuss with the education staff which badge they are trying to earn. Programs are generally 1 – 1.5 hours in length. Binoculars are provided for the group to use. Programs are provided FREE of charge, however Tijuana Estuary patches are available for purchase upon completing your program.

BOY SCOUTS

  • Cub Scouts:
    – Wildlife Conservation Belt Loop
    – Naturalist Badge
  • Boy Scouts:
    Please call the Education Department (619.575.3613 ext. 305 or 306) regarding service projects and merit badge requirements.

 

 

GIRL SCOUTS

  • Daisy:DaisyTroop_web
    Promise Center and Learning Petals
    – Rosie the Rose (Rose), Make the World a Better Place
    Journey
    – Between Earth and Sky (It’s Your Planet – Love It!)
  • Brownie:
    – Bugs (Legacy: Naturalist)
    – Senses (It’s Your Planet – Love It!)
    – Hiker (It’s Your Planet – Love It!)
    – Outdoor Adventurer (Outdoor: Girls’ Choice 2015)
    Journey
    – WOW! Wonders of Water (It’s Your Planet – Love It!)
  • Junior: 
    – Flowers (Legacy: Naturalist)
    – Animal Habitats (It’s Your Story – Tell It! aMUSE)
  • Cadette, Senior, Ambassador:
    Take Action projects or ask about requirements for miscellaneous badges.

To schedule a visit:
Visit days: 
Monday – Friday, and 3rd & 4th Saturday afternoons are encouraged.

 

Lorena Warner-Lara, lorena.warner-lara(at)parks.ca.gov
619-575-3613 ext.305
Marya Ahmad, marya.ahmad(at)parks.ca.gov
619-575-3613 ext.306

Jr. Rangers

Jr Rangers Mudflat Inverts Activity

The Tijuana Estuary offers free activities for students 7-12 years of age, every Thursday from 3:30-4:30pm (check schedule for holidays), with different topics presented at each session. Jr. Rangers learn about the ecology of estuaries, the importance of wetlands and will discover an appreciation for this disappearing ecosystem by participating in related hands-on activities. Kids can earn patches, buttons and more as they progress through the program! Programs are held rain or shine and it’s FREE!

Children with special needs or large groups should be coordinated in advance with education staff, (619) 575-3613 ext. 305/306.

One time visitors who wish to become Jr Rangers and cannot attend the regularly scheduled program, can pick up a copy of the California State Parks Junior Ranger Adventure Guide in the visitor center.

Click here to view the 2017 Jr. Ranger Schedule.

Jr. Rangers in the news – Click to read the Union Tribune article.

Explorers

Education at the Tijuana River NERR

Tijuana Estuary Explorers – Grades 3-6

 

Next Teacher Training: March 6, 2018, view flyer.

“Tijuana Estuary Explorers” is an in-class and field trip program, targeted at 3rd – 6th grade, that meets state standards and incorporates reading, writing and science into four comprehensive activities about the Tijuana Estuary and its watershed.

Using a personalized field journal, students will read the field notes written by two characters, Pablo and Silvia Hernandez, as they explore the watershed and estuary that the students too will soon visit. Along with their journal notes, students will find pages to start their own journal, using the questions and activities provided.

Estuary Explorers 10.24.11 018_crop

At the end of the field trip,  teachers and students will be given Take Action magnets and worksheets to assist them in working to conserve wetland habitats.

A mandatory 3-4 hour teacher training is required for all teachers who wish to participate in this program. The training will guide teachers through the student journal and teacher’s guide, which encompasses the in-class and field portion of the program. Trainings are held periodically based on interest or if you can find 4 or more teachers that are interested, we are willing to work with you on a training date. Next Teacher Training: March 6, 2018, view flyer.

Field trips should be booked at least 2 weeks in advance. No fee for this program.

 

For more information, upcoming training  dates, or to schedule a field trip:

Marya Ahmad, mahmad(at)parks.ca.gov
619-575-3613 ext.306
Lorena Warner-Lara, lwarner(at)parks.ca.gov
619-575-3613 ext.305

 

M.A.R.S.H. vs. Estuary Explorers

Are asking yourself “what is the difference is between the M.A.R.S.H. and the Estuary Explorers programs?Click here for a quick, yet detailed explanation.

Transportation Grants

Limited transportation reimbursements are currently available for schools who currently cannot attend the Reserve’s free, high quality environmental education programs due to lack of transportation funds and teachers who have attended an orientation and/or training at the Reserve. Please complete the request form and contact Anne Marie Tipton for details if you are interested, annemarie.tipton(at)parks.ca.gov or (619) 575-3613, ext. 304.

This program was also made possible by the San Diego Zoological Society and Chevron. 

M.A.R.S.H.

Education at the Tijuana River NERR

Marsh Awareness with Resources for Slough Habitats
– Grades 1-6

One of the original education programs of the Tijuana Estuary, M.A.R.S.H. was developed to introduce students to basic wetland & upland ecology and cultural history. The program has basically two components that vary depending on the grade.

In the field, students use hand lenses and binoculars to observe and record upland plants and shore birds with an emphasis on adaptations and/or cultural history.

Inside, students may watch a video, play an adaptation game or explore the center and its interactive exhibits. It is not required that students do any of the supplied pre-visit activities although it is encouraged. All teachers who participate in this program must attend a 1-2 hour orientation and will be provided with optional classroom activities/curriculum as well as required materials for the classroom field trip (please email or call us for an orientation). Curriculum materials are available in both English and some in Spanish.

Reservations: Field trips should be booked at least 2 weeks in advance.
Cost: No fee for this program.


For more information, or to schedule an orientation or a field trip:

Marya Ahmad, mahmad(at)parks.ca.gov
619-575-3613 ext.306
Lorena Warner-Lara, lwarner(at)parks.ca.gov
619-575-3613 ext.305

M.A.R.S.H. vs. Estuary Explorers

Are asking yourself “what is the difference is between the M.A.R.S.H. and the Estuary Explorers programs?Click here for a quick, yet detailed explanation.

Transportation Grants

Limited transportation reimbursements are currently available for schools who currently cannot attend the Reserve’s free, high quality environmental education programs due to lack of transportation funds and teachers who have attended an orientation and/or training at the Reserve. Please complete the request form and contact Anne Marie Tipton for details if you are interested, annemarie.tipton(at)parks.ca.gov or (619) 575-3613, ext. 304.